Thursday, May 15, 2008

Foundation awards $569,170 in ‘07 Endowment at $12 million

Foundation awards $569,170 in ‘07 Endowment at $12 million
The Daily Mountain Eagle
Published May 15, 2008 11:44 PM CDT
The Walker Area Community Foundation awarded $569,170 in grants to 49 different groups in 2007, with more than $12 million in its total funds, an official said during the foundation’s annual luncheon Wednesday in Jasper. Board member Eddie Jackson said the foundation took in $432,961 in 2007, which declined from 2006’s record $552,806 but was still the second biggest year for giving. Last year’s contributions came from about 450 individual donors.

“It is a testament to this community that it has increased its giving as times have gotten harder,” Jackson said. “This is something for which we should not only be thankful, but proud.”

The awards for this year will result in more than $2 million in community improvements and new initiatives for the area.

“In 1997, the first seven grants were awarded in the amounts of $289,300. Since then, the foundation has awarded grant money in excess of $3.7 million to more than 90 nonprofits in our area,” board president John T. Oliver Jr. said in the annual report.

The foundation’s endowment has grown from its original $6.4 million to its current total of $12,164,567, Jackson said. That is up by nearly $150,000 over the previous year.

“That’s not bad in what I think everyone perceives as hard economic times,” Jackson said.

Jackson said the foundation was able to give more last year than it took in because the foundation has protected the principal and only used the interest, while it has also been successful in its investments.

Jackson pointed to growth in some areas, based in part on the Samuel Lee Smith Advised Fund, which helps children and youth, which started with a family donation of $200,000 and which has grown from contributions. An advisory council recommends donations to be paid off of interest to encourage athletics, scouting, religion and the arts.

Another area of growth came from the Excellence in Education Donor Advised Fund, which assists the Jasper City Schools.

The fund “is steadily building toward its goal of $50,000 and stands after six months at $15,000, and it is about ready to make some grants,” Jackson said. “These funds will allow the city school system to do things it cannot do within its budget.

“We are establishing a relationship with the foundation where we can raise funds for projects and special initiatives that we want to accomplish in our district,” Jackson quoted Sparkman saying in the annual report. “This is not for pencils and paper and for things the school board can take care of. It is for technology, science labs, fine arts, enrichment — things that will enhance the learning opportunities of our students and further develop our teaching staff.”

Another factor was the Hope Clinic Campaign, which raised $200,971 in 2007, of which the foundation gave $50,000. The clinic helps qualified, uninsured residents get medical care.

Jackson said funds for the Memorial Park Natatorium and the APEX accessible playground equipment nearby were combined in 2007 to create the Jasper Recreation Fund. More than $200,000 has been donated for the site so that those with or without disabilities can play in a safe and attractive area, he said.

He also looked at the social impact of the foundation. In 2007, the foundation looked at the impact of drugs and formed a work group. Celebrate Recovery, which offers faith-based counseling for those with drug problems, and Citizens for a Drug Free Walker County both wanted to participate and received grants to help with their efforts, Jackson said.

Blooming Grove Baptist Church has been instrumental with Celebrate Recovery, and Jackson urged other churches to get involved with Celebrate Recovery “so that the drug dealers go out of business.”

The foundation, through the Samuel Lee Smith Fund, has also supported Equines Assisting Special Individuals (EASI), which gives therapeutic and spiritual support to children through horses. The foundation sponsored lessons and saddle time for 37 students last year.

“The impact of a horse on a disabled child or a child who is autistic or emotionally distraught or confined to a wheelchair is dramatic,” Jackson said. “Picture a child who is autistic or confined to a wheelchair being able to sit on a horse like John Wayne and tell it where to go.”

Jackson also pointed out the foundation’s help in getting a lighted walking trail for the Capstone Rural Health Care Clinic in Parrish.

“Suffice it to say, you are making great things happen in Walker County,” Jackson said.

Paul Kennedy, the executive director of the foundation, said in 2008 the foundation will be working more toward networking between the nonprofits to better resolve problems, save dollars and form stronger ties. As a result, the foundation can get more outside grants and services to the nonprofits that once seemed unreachable for them, he said.

“We’re training, we’re coaching and we are a resource for these nonprofits, last year in grant writing and volunteer management and this year we’ll be working on capacity and self-sustainability,” Kennedy said.

The luncheon, emceed by Jasper native Anna Donaldson of CBS 42, also heard from Jasper native Luke Dollar, who has built a successful career involving academic, exploration, conservation and humanitarian efforts, especially in the Madagascar region. He said he took what he learned growing up in Jasper to apply to his work in Madagascar.


Other organizations listed as receiving grants from the foundation included the following:

General Fund: Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation, Alabama Grief Support, Alabama Power Service Organization-Gorgas Chapter, American Red Cross, the ARC of Walker County, Arthritis Foundation, The Birmingham Architectural Foundation, the Birmingham Regional Emergency Medical Systems Services, the Girl Scouts, ClasTran, Daybreak, the Haleyville Historical Society, Houston Historical Society, Independent Living, Invest for the Future, Jasper Police Explorers, the Montgomery Institute, the Nonprofit Resource Center of Alabama, the Salvation Army, UAB’s Department of Theatre’s Traveling Groups, VSA arts of Alabama, Walker County Christian Chorus, Walker County Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Samuel Lee Smith Advised Fund: Black Warrior Council of the Boy Scouts, Daily Mountain Eagle Shoe and Coat Fund, First United Methodist Church’s Mother’s Day Out, Walker County Arts Alliance and scholarships to attend various recreational programs.

Walker Area Youth (WAY) Council: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Carbon Hill High School Beta Club, Club NAT, Dora High School Beta Club’s School Beautification Project, Jasper Aquanauts Special Olympic Swim Team, Parrish High Peer Helper Program, Sumiton Christian Eagle Ambassadors Club, Walker County Arts Alliance, Walker County Humane Society.

Walker County Arts Alliance received funds from all three funds above, while APEX received grants from the WAY Council and the Smith Fund. The Walker County Humane Society received money from the General Fund and the WAY Council.

On the Net:

No comments: