The Chilkat Valley Community Foundation awarded about $16,000 in grants to 14 local nonprofits this year. It’s the biggest amount of money and largest number of organizations the foundation has supported since its inception in 2008. The foundation held a grant ceremony at the Haines library Wednesday night.
The grants awarded this year will help pay for things as basic as tables and lighting to as lofty as a domestic violence victims’ shelter and a new preschool.
The Chilkat Valley Community Foundation operates under the umbrella of the Alaska Community Foundation. It has something similar to a permanent fund. Individuals, families, businesses, foundations and corporations contribute to that fund.
Each year, the community foundation awards grants to nonprofits. The amount they’re able to give out depends on how much money is in the fund. Right now, the foundation has over $400,000 dollars invested.
This year, 16 nonprofits turned in complete grant applications requesting a total of about $30,000. The foundation was able to give $15,550 to 14 of the nonprofits, in grants ranging from $500 to $3,500.
“So every year it grows, every year we can give a little more, and every year our nonprofits prove that these grants are well-spent,” said Grant-making Committee Chair Heather Shade.
To show how well that money is spent, a member of each nonprofit that received a grant in 2013 gave a short talk.
Sierra Jimenez works for Southeast Alaska Independent Living. She said the grant the foundation gave SAIL last year helped a couple that had been homeless for 16 years find permanent housing.
“They needed help with the deposit. And so the consumer service fund did a $400 deposit. They have been successfully housed, living in town for about a year. They’re doing great. So that’s huge…16 years of homelessness [over] with just a $400 grant.”
SAIL also received a grant this year, for $1,500. It’ll go to an adaptive snow sports clinic planned for January, where people with disabilities will have the chance to learn how to ski.
The foundation granted $2,000 to Becky’s Place, which is a nonprofit that supports victims of domestic violence. Jackie Mazeikas said the money will help with their goal of setting up a shelter in Haines. Right now, the closest shelter for abuse victims is in Juneau.
“It’s doable and we’re excited and we thank you, and know that you’re a part of giving women hope and the courage to come out of the abuse and a new beginning,” Mazeikas said.
A little over $1,000 is going to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Haines. Community Director Burl Sheldon says it will go toward recruiting more male mentors.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters has a particular challenge, and it’s a nationwide challenge, and that’s recruiting men,” Sheldon said. “About three quarters of the new enrollees in big brothers big sisters are women and about a quarter are men.”
The largest grant, $3,500, went to the Chilkat Valley Preschool. The preschool found out early this year that they have to leave their borough-owned building. Now they’re raising money to pay for a new facility. The community foundation grant puts the amount the preschool has raised so far over $60,000.
Haines Dolphin Swim Team President James Alborough thanked the foundation for a $1,000 grant for operating support. He said the money is especially helpful because the Haines Borough contributed less to nonprofits this year.
“These days all of us have experienced a slightly shrinking percentage of assistance from the borough and this really goes a long way to help bridge that gap,” Alborough said.
Community foundation chair Ann Myren says the grant-making committee has a system to prevent bias. The volunteers on the committee do not look at or vote on grant applications from any organizations they’re tied to.
The other grant awardees this year are the Children’s Reading Foundation of Haines, Foundation for the Chilkat Center for the Arts, Haines Animal Rescue Kennel, Haines Hockey, Haines Hot Shots, the Hammer Museum, Lynn Canal Conservation, Southeast Alaska State Fair and Lynn Canal Broadcasting, which operates KHNS.