Outdoor lighting at a women’s shelter, color-coded recycling bins, and adaptive culinary classes. Those just a few things the latest round of grant funding from the Chilkat Valley Community Foundation will support. The local foundation distributed about $19,000 this year. Many of the awards were handed out at a ceremony last week.
The Chilkat Valley Community Foundation is like a permanent fund to help support the dozens of nonprofits in Haines.
“We’re always trying to think of how we can help people,” said foundation co-chair Crystal Badgley. “How the quality of life can be better here. How people can live in Haines, stay in Haines, have a great family life.”
The endowment that started about eight years ago has grown to $473,000. Each year, a portion of the interest from the endowment is distributed to nonprofits.
“From children to older people to pets to arts to sports, we fund a little bit of all of that,” Badgley said.
You can see the variety of services the foundation supports in the list of 14 nonprofits that received grant funding this year. The biggest amount went to the Chilkat Valley Preschool, which is in the middle of an ambitious relocation project. The preschool plans to build an addition onto the Haines Senior Center.
“A lot of you know that we’re so excited to be embarking on this journey as a community and the final stages of this project — it seems like it’s finally in our grasp,” said preschool board member Lexie DeWitt.
The community foundation awarded the preschool $1,500 at the ceremony. But earlier in the year, the foundation gave an interim gift of $3,500. Alekka Fullerton, who presented the awards, said the foundation took that unusual step ‘because they really needed it.’
“They were in a real big push and we wanted to be a part of that,” Fullerton said.
Many of the other grants were in the $1,000 range. They support longtime institutions like the Sheldon Museum and new non-profits, like the safe house called Becky’s Place that opened last year.
“We have a safe house here in town for women and children in abusive situations,” said Becky’s Place founder Jackie Mazeikas as she accepted a $1,500 grant. “And the money that you guys have blessed us with is going to go to outdoor lighting and security cameras.”
By coincidence, an $800 grant to the Haines Senior Village will also pay for new lighting.
“As of today, we have seven households of residents who are 80 years old or older living independently in the village,” said Senior Village Director Valery McCandless. “And so you are doing something wonderful to help them see well during these upcoming winters. So thank you.”
Many of the nonprofits that apply for community foundation grants ask for help with basic operating expenses. That’s the case with the Haines Avalanche Information Center, Dolphins Swim Team, and Haines Hot Shots.
Shane Horton from Hot Shots brought one of the team stars, Dawson Holm, to accept a $750 grant.
“He won everything there is to win in his age division [at a regional competition,]” Horton said.
He said the youth target shooting club is following in the footsteps of the community foundation and starting its own endowment.
Foundation supporter JoAnn Ross-Cunningham said it’s important to have a long-term vision for Haines nonprofits.
“In this magnificently-located community, far away from the major world troubles, we have the opportunity to shape and build community, to some extent, to our own liking,” Ross-Cunningham said. “Bit by bit, we can each make a difference.”
The community foundation grants may become even more influential in years to come. That’s because some in the Haines Borough have voiced opposition to the government’s annual distribution of nonprofit grant funding.
That conversation is likely to continue at the next assembly meeting, on Dec. 13. That’s when about $63,000 in borough grant funding to several nonprofits is up for approval.
CVCF 2016 Grants:
Alaska Arts Confluence: $1000
Haines Avalanche Information Center: $1500
Becky’s Place: $1500
Haines Senior Center: $1000
Chilkat Valley Preschool: $1500 plus $3500 interim grant
Friends of Library: $1634
Dolphins Swim Team: $1500
Friends of Recycling: $984
Haines Hot Shots: $750
Haines Senior Village: $800
Lynn Canal Conservation: $500
Sheldon Museum: $1000
Takshanuk Watershed Council: $500