Community Foundation donates to seven nonprofits

Published 9:49 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

NW0311 ECCCF Grants

Seven Carter County non-profit agencies have been awarded grants totaling $8,400 by the Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation.

The agencies were recognized for their contributions to the community during a reception Tuesday afternoon.

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Grants were awarded to the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys & Girls Club, the Carter County government, Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, the Carter County/Elizabethton Seniors and Law Enforcement Together Council, Friends of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter, the First TN Human Resources Agency Safe Passage Program and Red Legacy Recovery Assistance Program.

More than half of the grant recipients had received funding from the ECCCF before.

The Boys & Girls Club received $1,500 for three computers for youth to use in their after-school program. The Boys & Girls Club previously received a grant in 2013 for Project Learn, a tutoring and mentoring program.

“These computers will enable us to help so many children learn,” Boys & Girls Club Director Ginny Wright said. “So many of our kids are not performing at their grade level, especially in literacy. We have computer programs that can print personalized worksheets for each child. The money will go a long way and will continue to serve child after child.”

The Carter County government received $1,000 for supplies for the Inmate Garden Program at the Carter County Detention Center. The garden program has received a grant from the ECCCF for the past three years.

Through the garden program, staff at the jail are able to use the food grown by the inmates to supplement the meals and cut down on costs, Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford said. The savings are then passed on to the citizens in Carter County when the tax dollars can be used for other needs.

The grant will be used to purchase seeds, equipment and tools for the garden, Carter County Sheriff’s Department Cpt. Tom Smith said.

“One of the biggest benefits of the program is what it teaches the inmates,” Smith said. “They are literally shown they can reap what they sow.”

The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area got $1,200 to purchase historically-correct drum cases for the Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps. The Friends of Sycamore Shoals has also received grants from the ECCCF for the past three years.

The Fife and Drum Corp has been named the state’s official fife and drum corp, member John Large said. Corps, throughout history, acted as a means of communication for troops during battle in colonial times.

“We do exactly what they did in 1776,” Large said. “The fife and drum corp would have been made of young men from age 13-17 who marched into battlefire with no way to protect themselves. We reenact what they would have done and play music that is very precise to the time.”

Several first-time grant recipients were also recognized this year.

The Carter County SALT Council was awarded $1,000 for 911 numbers to be distributed through the community for people who do not have house numbers.

Many houses in the county lack proper numbers, SALT council member Pete Voigt said. The grant will allow reflective numbers to be distributed through the county. The first set of numbers has already been distributed, and the grant will enable SALT to buy 90 more sets, Voigt said.

“Drive around the county and you will see houses with no numbers, or six mailboxes with one number,” he said. “How do the first responders find those homes. They need these numbers to help locate the homes. It could help save a life.”

The Friends of the Animal Shelter received $900 to pay for the spay and neuter surgeries and vaccinations for 15 shelter pets. The grants will be distributed to families in need who cannot afford the surgeries and vaccinations on their own, Friends member John Bland said.

“We enjoy working with the animal shelter and are glad for the opportunity to take these services to another level,” Bland said. “This will dramatically reduce the number of litters and stray animals in the county.”

The Safe Passage Program was awarded $1,000 for outreach services to help connect clients to the domestic violence shelters and services they need.

“This will give our clients the opportunity to access services outside of the domestic violence shelters,” Safe Passages Director Lynn Armstrong said. “These connections are necessary to ensure the clients can get to the shelters they need. Many times the shelters are full and this will help connect the client with the help they need.”

Red Legacy received a grant for $1,800 that will be used for a television, DVD player, audiovisual projector with screen, a wall mount for the TV, shelving and a label maker. The materials will be used for group sessions and classes, Red Legacy Director Angelee Murray. Red Legacy works with women who are battling addiction and with those who have been incarcerated to help rebuild their lives.

“We focus on three things at Red Legacy,” Murray said. “We work on building their self-esteem. We help them improve their self-sufficiency and we help them with employment. The main thing we offer is love and hope.”

The ECCCF has given out over $40,000 through 31 grants to 20 local non-profit agencies in the past six years. These nonprofit organizations have provided assistance in education, the environment, arts and culture, family programs, animal welfare and historic preservation.

The primary fundraising event is an annual Peggy Merryman Memorial Golf Tournament. The 2015 Tournament will take place on June 12 at the Elizabethton Golf Course.

The Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation was created in 2006 through a gift from a local anonymous donor who cares deeply about Elizabethton and Carter County. The foundation gives donors a way to connect their giving with local non-profits, public agencies and compelling charitable causes.  The foundation, established as a permanent endowment, provides an on-going resource to fund endeavors creating opportunities and addressing challenges for all Elizabethton/Carter County Citizens.

The East Tennessee Foundation, established in 1986, is a regional community foundation serving 25 counties in East Tennessee. It administers 13 Affiliate Funds, including the Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation.