"Thirty-two organizations submitted grant requests during our spring grant cycle," said Foundation Grants Committee Co-Chairperson Nancy Newman. "We enjoy reviewing the requests and getting to know the organizations we are unfamiliar with. Our local service organizations provide a vital safety net for the people in our community, and we are always amazed at how much these organizations can do with their limited resources."
She said four of the 11 grant awards provide relief and assistance to members of the community who are struggling with basic needs.
"We awarded grants to Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter, Bartow Collaborative, Bartow Health Access and Bartow Give a Kid a Chance," Newman said. "Each of these grants will help the organization or program fulfill its mission and, ultimately, will benefit local families who are struggling to survive."
The Foundation awarded $2,000 to Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter on Porter Street to upgrade their security and surveillance system. In the last decade, the shelter -- a temporary stop for people in crisis who are rebuilding their lives -- has provided food, shelter and support to more than 3,000 men, women and children.
"We are working with contractors to replace and add new photoelectric smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in our facility," said Good Neighbor's Executive Director Jessica Mitcham. "Our facility is 10 years old and needs maintenance and necessary upgrades. The foundation's grant couldn't have come at a better time."
Mitcham added that the shelter also added a new surveillance system to monitor each area of the shelter.
"Appropriate monitoring is an essential component to ensure the safety of our guests and our staff," she said.
The foundation also awarded $2,140 to Bartow Health Access, an organization that served 2,500 uninsured individuals in Bartow County last year alone.
"We will use the grant money to provide medical assistance to our clients," said Joanne Thurston, executive director of the organization. "Our clients typically live at levels 200 percent below the federal poverty level and, understandably, don't have health insurance. We help them acquire drugs such as insulin, blood pressure medications and smoking cessation drugs."
Since the organization's inception, Bartow Health Access has provided more than $1 million in prescription medications to local people in need.
Two backpack programs also received grant monies. The foundation gave $2,500 to Bartow Collaborative to spearhead the Least of These Blessings Backpack Program, a program that provides easy-to-prepare food for the weekend to 60 children in the free and reduced lunch program at Cartersville City and Bartow County elementary schools.
"The program is designed to ensure that children from homes without adequate food supplies have access to food during the weekends," said Director of Bartow Collaborative Linda Walker. "It is a collaboration between the school systems, local churches and other community volunteers.
"Our volunteers stuff the backpacks with kid-friendly food and deliver the backpacks to the local elementary schools. On Fridays, the staff at the schools gives the backpacks to the children in our program so that they can carry it home for the weekend. The kids return the backpacks to the schools on Mondays."
Bartow Give a Kid a Chance, another backpack program designed to help 2,000 of the less fortunate children in our community, received $1,000. The grant will purchase 200 backpacks at a cost of $5 each. These backpacks are filled with school supplies, a new pair of jeans, a T-shirt, and coupons for dental, hearing and vision services. The backpacks are given to disadvantaged children in Bartow County so that they can begin their school year on equal footing with their more fortunate classmates.
Local organizations are invited to apply for fall grants by visiting the Foundation's website at www.communityfoundationnwga.org. The fall deadline is Oct. 1.
"Awarding these grants is just a small part of what we do for our local community and the northwest Georgia region," said Chairman of the Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation Marty Sonenshine. "Our foundation helps families and individuals amplify their charitable giving and pay fewer taxes by offering a variety of tools -- donor advised funds, charitable trusts, field of interest funds, etc."
Sonenshine explained that the Foundation manages a variety of funds, some restricted by purpose, and others dedicated to furthering the charitable efforts of local families and institutions. Grants from these funds support a wide variety projects locally and throughout the world.
The Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia. To learn more about the foundation's grants or philanthropic services, contact David Aft at 706-275-9117.