Tuesday, October 27, 2009

EXTREME MAKEOVER: Home Edition - Walker County - Nominate Today

This just in from the Mayor's Office (thank you Laura)


Do you know someone whose home deserves an Extreme Makeover? If so, the producers of ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition want to hear from you! Ty Pennington and his crew have been all across the map and they are ready to drive that famous bus into your neighborhood.

What does it take to be picked for an Extreme Makeover?
We are in search of deserving families and deserving people -people who have amazing strength of character and who put their own needs aside to help others. Whether it’s a mom, a soldier, a teacher, or a fireman, we think a deserving family, are families who inspire those around them. In addition, the producers are looking for families whose houses need major alterations or repair-homes that present serious problems for the family and affect the family's quality of life.

To be eligible: A family must own their own single family home and be able to show producers how a makeover will make a huge difference in their lives.
Interested families or those who wish to nominate another family should:
e-mail a short description of their family story to –

Nominations/submissions must include:
1 The names and ages of each member of the household
2 A description of the major challenges within the home.
3 Explanation of why this family is deserving, or a positive role model in
their community.
4 Photos of the family and a photo of the home
5 Don’t forget to include a contact phone number.

Please send story submissions as soon as possible!
For more information on how to apply please visit our website at:

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Announcing- JASPER'S HERITAGE FESTIVAL (Walker County, Alabama)
Saturday - October 17, 2009 9:OO a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Organized and sponsored by the Jasper Merchants Association, the Central Alabama Rodders Society (CARS), Walker County Arts Alliance, and the City of Jasper will be the site of hundreds of antique cars, an aviation exhibit, all-day live music at three different venues and activities for children and seniors, as well as art, food, fun, and fraternity.

The CARS club is expecting nearly 200 of the finest antique cares in the region, along with Elvis and live music to suit the taste of the most discerning listeners will be just part of the fun. The historic First United Methodist Church will also be open for tours and special music including a pipe organ recital by Dr. John Stallsmith. The Carl Elliott Museum will be opened for the day also. A special Children’s Area will have a full slate of activities all day long.

Prizes and special deals will be available throughout the day. A live radio broadcast will be transmitted by 101.5 fm throughout the day.

Additionally nearly two dozen artists will be showing and selling and nearly 30 nonprofits and civic organizations will have display and interactive programming. The City of Jasper is further cooperating by closing downtown streets around the court house square, allowing foot traffic only... and, a 5K Run has been added!

This will be Jasper’s first street party in nearly a decade so do not miss the fun!

Admission is free

Set-up begins at 7:00a.m.
Registration for the run starts at 8:00 a.m.
Activities start at 9:00 a.m.

For More information, please contact:
Debbie Sanders
Young's Jewlers, Inc.
401 19th Street West
Jasper, AL 35501
POB 732
Jasper, AL 35502-0732
Bus: (205) 221-6194
Bus Fax: (205) 221-9669
E-mail: dys71u@aol.com

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Dove Shoot to benefit Children’s Hospital at Wade Burton Farms in Parrish

Dove Shoot to benefit Children’s Hospital at Wade Burton Farms in Parrish opening day 9/5 and second Saturday 9/12 in cooperation with Log-A-Load-For Kids.
Please share this with anyone you think might be interested. Lunch is provided.
Last year nearly 4,000 patient visits from Walker County were registered at Children’s Hospital. This is our second Annual event. I believe last year with registrations, donations, gun raffle revenue, and the proceeds from the “guess the weight of the log truck contest”, we raised over $10,000 for Children’s.

Registration information at

or call Emily (205) 275-2800 or Wade (205) 522-7248 Burton

Friday, August 21, 2009

Huge turnout for Home Repair and Energy "Connect" Event

The final numbers are not in but several hundred citizens showed up to find out what programs might help, then signed up for assistance. An early count showed 67 applications for the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama's weatherization program, 37 ramp-build projects with the Habitat for Humanity's "Brush of Kindness", several paint jobs, two home ownership applications and so much more. The event coordinated by Independent Living Resources - Walker Office was supported by this Foundation, Walker County Community Action, Community Action Partnership of North Alabama, M4A (Area Aging), Kid One Transport, and the American Red Cross - Walker Office. Hundreds were registered in and more news will be forthcoming. It was our first attempt at "one-stop" assistance. Trecia Benefield and the Red Cross Volunteers have made a huge difference in many folks lives. Well Done!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congressman Adeholt visit Bankhead House & Heritage Center

Congressman Robert Aderholt visited the Bankhead House & Heritage Center last week to check on the progress. Pictured (l-r) Cong. Robert Aderholt, John T. Oliver, Jr., Cristy Moody, Paul Kennedy.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Walker County Home Repair and Energy Conservation Event

Dear Pastor;

RE: Walker County Home Repair and Energy Conservation Event

Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan in response to the question "who is my neighbor?" We have become increasingly aware of many of our neighbors right next door in our community whose homes are in desperate need of repair and cannot find the resources to fix them.

Our goal is to help our brothers and sisters with needed home repairs, which will qualify them for the governmental assistance to have their homes weatherized. We can have a major impact in providing safe habitable dwellings, affordable utility bills and self-sufficiency.

On August 20, 2009 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at the Community Health Systems Activity Center (204 19th Street East, Jasper) our community will be coming together to learn more about funding that is available for qualifying individuals to renovate and weatherize their homes, and what we can do to help. We would love to join hands and hearts with you as we reach out to our brothers and sisters in this important mission. We ask that you forward this information to your congregation. And if needed, to provide transportation to our event as well as assist with filling out forms.

As Joshua 22:3 says, "For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you." Let us not desert our brothers and sisters—truly our neighbors—as this passage tells us. Let us carry on the mission God has given to us all.

For information or to learn more about volunteer opportunities please contact

Trecia C. Benefield Independent Living Resources (205)387-0159x 101

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Open Letter to Attorneys / Accountants / Estate Planners

Dear Professional Counsel / Advisor:

In 2008, the Walker Area Community Foundation (WACF) awarded $296,875 to area nonprofit organizations that will result in $1,603,143 in new and sustained initiatives for Walker County. The foundation is pleased to have financially assisted more than 100 nonprofit programs and special projects since its inception in 1995.

The WACF’s work in our community would be impossible without the generous gifts of area donors. The foundation wants you and your clients to be aware of the options in choosing how you would prefer your gifts to be utilized.

As the foundation’s charitable impact expands, so does its knowledge and understanding of our area’s unmet and under-funded needs. As part of the grant making process, the foundation collects a great deal of information about the financial integrity of potential grantees and the measurable outcome from their use of awarded foundation funding. By looking closely at each applicant, the foundation feels they have the best opportunity to wisely choose how foundation funds are allocated. This knowledge greatly enhances our ability to be good stewards of the contributions we manage on behalf of our donors.

Attorneys, Accountants, Estate and Financial Planners, as well as other professional advisors, are often faced with a delicate dilemma as they approach the subject of charitable giving – you want to discuss the many benefits of making these type gifts without recommending specific charitable causes and nonprofit organizations. The simple solution to this problem is offering your clients the opportunity to contribute to an organization like the Walker Area Community Foundation. The foundation awards funding to worthy nonprofits operating in the areas of social welfare, education, recreation, children and youth, health and medicine, the environment and arts and humanities in our community. WACF deeply appreciates each donor and each of their gifts.

In giving to the Walker Area Foundation, the donor has several choices of how they wish for their charitable gift to be disbursed back into the community.

The donor may choose to make their charitable gift directly to the Walker Area Community Foundation’s Community Growth Fund. If a donor chooses this option, the foundation will utilize the donor’s gift for the greatest good of our community. The Community Growth Fund is the SOLE source of funding for the competitive grants we make twice a year to support the 100+ nonprofits in our area.

A donor may choose to request assistance to a specific thematic area via a Field of Interest Fund, allowing the foundation to direct the income from this and similar investments in the areas of social welfare, education, recreation, children and youth, health and medicine, the environment or arts and humanities. This option is beneficial to the foundation, where the grants go to the organization(s) that demonstrates a current or substantiated need.

A donor may also choose to designate a specific nonprofit they would like to receive their charitable gift, exclusively through one of our designated funds. One example is the establishment of an Endowed Fund.

Contact our staff for specifics on any vehicle the foundation can employ to achieve yours or your clients’ wishes. For a one on one consultation please contact Paul Kennedy at (205) 302-0001w, 300-4062m or by email at pkennedy@wacf.org .


John T. Oliver, Jr. Paul W. Kennedy
President Executive Director

POB 171 Jasper, AL 35502-0171 www.wacf.org

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Foundation wins Award for 5 CNS- VISTA Positions

WACF awarded five VISTA positions
(from the Daily Mountain Eagle www.mountaineagle.com)
Jennifer Cohron Eagle Reporter Sunday, Jul 05, 2009

Walker County needs you.

The Walker Area Community Foundation was recently awarded five positions through AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America).VISTAs make a commitment to help fight poverty by serving for one year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency.Paul Kennedy, WACF executive director, said the Foundation’s VISTAs will be working with the Health Providers Network, the Heritage Center and the Arts Alliance and Nonprofit Council.VISTAs are not paid employees. “They are under contract to the federal government to alleviate poverty and increase the capacity of organizations operating in rural America,” Kennedy said.VISTAs work no less than 32 hours per week. The Corporation for National Service provides $800 a month as a living allowance for the volunteers. Benefits such as health care and child care are also available.At the end of their service, each VISTA can choose to receive an education award worth $4,725 to pay for college or $1,200 in cash. However, Kennedy said that VISTAs get much more than money.“They get very valuable experience in the non-profit world and the work world. I also think they get an eye-opening experience for what their community is and how it functions,” he said. Kennedy said ideal VISTA candidates have a college degree and are interested in taking a year off before going to graduate school.Mothers who have raised their children and want to reenter the workforce gradually may also find the VISTA program helpful.“Maybe they’re a little hesitant about jumping into a 9 to 5 job. This is a great way to segue back in to the work world. We get the advantage of their maturity and social connections,” Kennedy said.The VISTA program, a vision of President John F. Kennedy, was founded in 1965.In April, President Barack Obama signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which authorized spending $5.7 billion and will increase the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 positions to 250,000.Paul Kennedy said the national service program is particularly helpful now to non-profit organizations that need more people to fulfill their mission but can’t afford to pay more employees.“This is the best way that the Community Foundation can help develop capacity and sustainability in the organizations that we are trying to support in very lean times,” Kennedy said. Kennedy hopes to recruit locally for the positions, although he can recruit nationally if suitable candidates are not found within Walker County.For more information or to apply for a VISTA position, visit www.americorps.gov/about/programs/vista.asp

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Safe Sitter" Training by Walker Baptist Medical Center

Safe Sitters is a medically accurate instruction series, offered by Walker Baptist Medical Center that teaches boys and girls ages 11 to 15 how to handle emergencies when caring for young children.

Only one class will be offered this summer. The class will be:
Tuesday & Wednesday, June 22nd & 23rd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day at Farmstead Baptist Church Gym/Activity Center

A class fee of $40.00 covers supplies and manual for the two-day course. Lunch, snacks and drinks will be provided each day.

To register your son, daughter or babysitter, please call 387-4169.
Please leave your name, phone number or email address so registration information can be sent to you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Art in the Park - Jasper, Alabama, USA - free admission to the first 2,000

A wide variety of Art / Artists will be creating, showing, and selling their art in our park. Admission is free. The public is encouraged to attend. Activities for children and adults. Venue is full access. Valet parking available.

Saturday, June 20, 2009
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Memorial Park in Jasper, Alabama
For more information, contact:
Beth Sargent (205) 221-1711
Walker County Arts Alliance
P.O. Box 1622 • Jasper, AL 35502

Monday, May 18, 2009

Save $300 and Find New Funding Opportunities with GrantStation

Boost your fundraising efforts with GrantStation! Place your request now and receive a one-year GrantStation membership, which regularly has a $399 admin fee, for only $99, thanks to the generosity of GrantStation.

This very special offer will start May 19 at 8 a.m. Pacific (11 a.m. Eastern) and end on May 20 at 5:00 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Eastern).
Please register your organization ahead of time to make sure that you can participate and receive a donation of this great fundraising tool!
For more information regarding administrative fees and product details, please visit TechSoup.
Eligibility details

Friday, May 8, 2009

2009 Guide to Grantmakers on CD

Every non-profit group needs funding. The 2009 Guide to Alabama Grantmakers on CD-ROM is the one-stop resource to help raise those funds. The Guide contains an easy-to-use database of over 1000 grantmakers that fund non-profits in Alabama, searchable by field of interest, type of support, geographic focus, and more. It even contains a separate Grants Database that makes it easy to find foundation, corporate giving programs, or public charities that fund organizations like yours. With this new resource, finding the right information is easier than ever. More detailed information and an order form can be found at the Alabama Giving website at http://www.alabamagiving.org/

Monday, April 27, 2009

United Way of Central Alabama ISO Volunteers for their Walker County "Visiting Allocation Team"

Thank you to those who have logged on to http://www.uwca.org/ and registered to serve as Visiting Allocation Team (VAT) volunteers for our 2009 Allocations Process. To date, we have recruited 125 of the 600 volunteers needed before our August 19th deadline. Please continue to help us reach our recruitment goal by encouraging potential volunteers to visit our website and/or circulating the attached recruitment flyer. We appreciate your help!

Note: If you experience any technical difficulties with the website, please email your issue to vat@uwca.org or simply complete and return the attached form.

Sonya King
Vice President, Agency Impact

United Way of Central Alabama, Inc.
P.O. Box 320189
Birmingham, AL 35232-0189
Phone: 205.458.2063
Fax: 205.458.2013
Website: http://www.uwca.org/

editor's note - This is a great way to learn what the United Way is doing in our community. It is also a good way to refine your own grant writing skills from the "other side of the table". PWK

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Call for VISTA (volunteers) in Walker County

Highlights of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act

H.R. 1388, Senate-passed as of 3-26-2009
Reauthorizes and Expands the Mission of the Corporation for National and Community Service, by:
Increasing Opportunities for Americans of All Ages to Serve
Puts young people onto a path of national service by establishing a Summer of Service program to provide $500 education awards for rising 6th-12th graders, a Semester of Service program for high school students to engage in service-learning, and Youth Empowerment Zones for secondary students and out-of-school youth.
Dramatically increases intensive service opportunities by setting AmeriCorps on a path from 75,000 positions annually to 250,000 by 2017, and focusing that service on education, health, clean energy, veterans, economic opportunity and other national priorities. Ties the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to the maximum Pell Grant level (now $5,350, but set to increase over time).
Improves service options for experienced Americans by expanding age and income eligibility for Foster Grandparents and Senior Companions, authorizing a Silver Scholars program, under which individuals 55 and older who perform 350 hours of service receive a $1,000 education award, and establishing Serve America Fellowships and Encore Fellowships allowing individuals to choose from among registered service sponsors where to perform service. Also permits individuals age 55 and older to transfer their education award to a child or grandchild.
Enables millions of working Americans to serve by establishing a nationwide Call to Service Campaign and a September 11 national day of service, and investing in the nonprofit sector’s capacity to recruit and manage volunteers.
Supporting Innovation and Strengthening the Nonprofit Sector
Creates a Social Innovation Fund to expand proven initiatives and provide seed funding for experimental initiatives, leveraging Federal dollars to identify and grow ideas that are addressing our most intractable community problems.
Establishes a Volunteer Generation Fund to award grants to states and nonprofits to recruit, manage, and support volunteers and strengthen the nation’s volunteer infrastructure.
Authorizes Nonprofit Capacity Building grants to provide organizational development assistance to small and mid-size nonprofit organizations.
Creates a National Service Reserve Corps of former national service participants and veterans who will be trained to deploy, in coordination with FEMA, in the event of disasters.
Strengthening Management, Cost-Effectiveness, and Accountability
Merges funding streams, expands the use of simplified, fixed amount grants, and gives the Corporation flexibility to consolidate application and reporting requirements. Increases support for State Commissions on national and community service. Bolsters the capacity and duties of the Corporation’s Board of Directors.
Ensures that programs receiving assistance under national service laws are continuously evaluated for effectiveness in achieving performance and cost goals.
Introduces responsible and balanced competition to the RSVP program.
Authorizes a Civic Health Assessment comprised of indicators relating to volunteering, voting, charitable giving, and interest in public service in order to evaluate and compare the civic health of communities.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Gardening is about patience

Just ask the members of the Walker Victory Gardens aka the Community Farm. Over a year ago a few folks thought it would be great to have a community garden where friendships, vegetables, and children could all grow in harmony. Today that dream took the first tangible steps toward reality. On a beautiful Saturday morning nearly 30 volunteers assembled to layout, construct and build the first phase of the Community Garden at the Old Airport in Jasper, just west of Airport Road. At the end of the day 30 brand new beds were ready for some gardeners to plant with hope, love, and patience.

Victory Gardens [1]

1940’s America. As part of the war effort, the government rationed foods like sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods. Labor and transportation shortages made it hard to harvest and move fruits and vegetables to market. So, the government turned to its citizens and encouraged them to plant "Victory Gardens." They wanted individuals to provide their own fruits and vegetables.
Nearly 20 million Americans answered the call. They planted gardens in backyards, empty lots and even city rooftops. Neighbors pooled their resources, planted different kinds of foods and formed cooperatives, all in the name of patriotism.
Farm families, of course, had been planting gardens and preserving produce for generations. Now, their urban cousins got into the act. All in the name of patriotism.

Magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post and Life printed stories about victory gardens, and women's magazines gave instructions on how to grow and preserve garden produce. Families were encouraged to can their own vegetables to save commercial canned goods for the troops. In 1943, families bought 315,000 pressure cookers (used in the process of canning), compared to 66,000 in 1942. The government and businesses urged people to make gardening a family and community effort.
The result of victory gardening? The US Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 20 million victory gardens were planted. Fruit and vegetables harvested in these home and community plots was estimated to be 9-10 million tons, an amount equal to all commercial production of fresh vegetables. So, the program made a difference.
Written by Claudia Reinhardt, the Ganzel Group.

_[1] http://www.livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe40s/crops_02.html____

Today’s Walker Victory Gardens are not so much a war effort as they are a survival mechanism for poor nutrition, strained grocery budgets, a lack of physical exercise, and a desire for the freshest most wholesome garden goodies. Paul Kennedy added that he “sees the vegetable as the second priority. First is the public health, second is the fun and esprit de’ corps with the others in the garden.” One sage gardener opined – “there is peace in the garden”.

In keeping with the ‘slow food’ movement in America the group that is running this garden is grateful for the help of so many. The Committee is advised by Paul Kennedy with the Walker Area Community Foundation and Chaired by Katherine Patton from the Walker County Soil and Water Conservation District. Phillip Grace takes time off from Hagar Oil to serve as the Farm Manager. All of these positions are temporary as the group pilots this idea through the growing stages. The Master Gardeners, the Herb Society and too many more to mention are at the heart of this effort under the tutelage of County Agent Coordinator Danny Cain. Amber Johnson with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and Katherine Patton took care of much of the advance work. Margaret Dabbs, Secretary for the group, has been one of the many cheerleaders and organized all of the hospitality for the day’s events and helps to keep the group on track. To coin an old phrase – “It takes many hands to make light work.” Saturday, that was the case in many ways. The cheers went up as B.J. Dover rolled in with a bucket on a tractor after the first dozen beds were filled by hand. Whew!

In short - it was fun to do and very rewarding to see it beginning to take shape. All of this is the shared dream of many. Special thanks go to the Walker County Commissioners and the City of Jasper’s City Council Members and Mayor for having faith and making this a priority and a shared project. What a great way to showcase what good can happen when we all pull together. Thanks also to the Walker County Farmers Federation for providing a grant for the materials. The beds should have a life expectancy of four to five years. The benefits of good nutrition, fellowship, and economy will last a lifetime.

As the project progresses, we will be adding more beds and a variety of demonstration areas. Future plans also call for “meet the expert” sessions on Saturday mornings for a brief introduction to new techniques and ideas. We hope to have some chefs involved in the future as well. There are just a few beds available now.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the garden, how to participate, or to get a plot, please call Katherine at (205) 384-0606, or Phillip at (205) 384-3422. Additional information will soon be posted on the Walker Area Community Foundation website at http://www.wacf.org/

Monday, March 23, 2009

WACF Loses a Director and a Friend. Alabama loses a leader

Barbara Drummond Thorne, died peacefully at home Monday, March 23, 2009, at the age of 72. She was born in Walker County on October 4, 1936. She will be remembered as being a lady of great faith, her love for all people, and a civic volunteer. She was a long-time member of First Baptist Church, a graduate of Walker County High School, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University where she was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. She was an owner and on the Board of Directors of Drummond Company, Inc., a trustee of Samford University, a director of the Walker Area Community and Alabama 4-H Foundations.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Heman Edward Drummond and Elza Eliza Stewart Drummond, her brother Donald David Drummond and her sister Hila Jo Drummond Davidson.

She is survived by her four children: Beth Thorne Stukes of Jasper, Dr. Larry Thorne of Auburn, Becky Thorne Carroll of Auburn and Babs Thorne Anderson of Tuscaloosa; son-in-laws: Rick Stukes of Jasper, David Carroll of Auburn and Michael Anderson of Tuscaloosa; Grand B’s Loves: Brent Uptain, Patrick and Mary Margaret Carroll, Logan and Liza Anderson and Jacob and Sarah Elizabeth Thorne; her beloved brothers and sister-in laws: Mrs. Donald Drummond, Mr. and Mrs. Segal Drummond, Mr. and Mrs. Garry Drummond, Mr. and Mrs. Larry Drummond and Mr. and Mrs. John Drummond and many nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, March 24, 2009, from 5 PM until 7 PM at First Baptist Church of Jasper. The funeral will be Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at First Baptist Church at 11 AM, with graveside following at Pisgah Baptist Church in Sipsey, Alabama.

Pallbearers: Tom N. Davidson, John Davidson, Dan Davidson, David Drummond, Lin Drummond, Ed Drummond, Mark Drummond, Michael Drummond, Bryan Drummond, Christopher Drummond, Scott Drummond, Patrick Drummond, and John Drummond, Jr.

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 1604 Fourth Avenue, Jasper, Alabama 35501 or the Walker Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 171, Jasper, Alabama 35502.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tough Times call for Creativity - A Brush with Kindness for Walker County

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham’s “A Brush with Kindness” Home Repair Program Benefits Walker County

Jasper, AL (March 19, 2009) – Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham (Habitat Birmingham) has extended A Brush with Kindness into Walker County. A Brush with Kindness is a Habitat for Humanity home repair program that helps homeowners by performing critical repairs for homeowners in need. These repairs are performed to restore and maintain homes for existing homeowners who may not be able to perform or afford the necessary repairs.

Habitat Birmingham’s home repair program began in March 2006. Since then, the organization has repaired roofs, replaced or repaired siding, painted, or assisted with handicapped accessibility for over 100 homeowners in Jefferson and Shelby County. In February, Habitat Birmingham repaired two homes in Walker County.

“Habitat Birmingham is excited to be working in Walker County to help improve and sustain safe housing for those in the community. A Brush with Kindness will also bring opportunities for volunteers to work to improve living conditions for families in the Walker County community. Habitat for Humanity builds partnerships with volunteers, sponsors, and homeowner families. We look forward to building new relationships within the Walker County Community” said Charles Moore, President and CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Birmingham.

“I’m very grateful that there are good people out there to help us seniors. I was so blessed to have the work done on my roof and front porch by the nice people of Habitat for Humanity,” said Mrs. Julia Morring, a homeowner of a newly repaired home.

Habitat Birmingham has also partnered with Independent Living Resources to build and provide handicap accessibility ramps for those in need.

“Independent Living Resources’ mission is to empower people with disabilities to fully participate in the community. Our partnership with Habitat for Humanity will be instrumental in meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities and their ability to participate in the community, access services and reduce institutionalization,” said Trecia Benefield, an Independent Living Specialist in Jasper, Alabama.

Mrs. Linda Trotter, a homeowner who received a ramp through the partnership stated, “We just feel really blessed to have been given the accessibility ramp. Before Habitat for Humanity came to help us, my husband couldn’t use the front door to enter the house. Now with the ramp, he is able to use it for wheel chair access and it also helps him to walk. They did a really great job and we are very proud of it. We are so thankful to have it.”

Habitat Birmingham will work with organizations in the Walker County community to provide services to those in need. For information on assistance with accessibility issues or possible home repairs, please call 205-387-0159. To find out more information on Habitat’s programs in Walker County please visit http://www.habitatbirmingham.org/.

About Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham
Habitat for Humanity Greater Birmingham is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian ministry serving Jefferson, Shelby and Walker Counties since 1987. The organization is dedicated to making quality, affordable houses available to low-income families. To date, more than 300 houses have been completed in the Greater Birmingham area, sold to partner families at cost with no interest charges. Home ownership promotes family stability, self-sufficiency, educational achievement and responsible citizenship. Habitat Birmingham is recognized as one of the top 10 Habitat affiliates (out of 1500) in the United States. http://www.habitatbirmingham.org/

Contact Information:
Beth Jerome, Habitat Birmingham 205-780-1234, ext. 321 (office) 205-410-4705 (cell)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Creative Poetry Contest

to honor the Men and Women of the Armed Services Deploying
To Afghanistan in May 2009 from Jasper, AL

The Friends of the 877th National Guard Unit are requesting submissions of poetry to be shared and read by the author during the May 2nd Celebration for our deploying troops.

The Contest consists of competition in one division, Grades 6-12. Poems can be rhymed or free verse up to 60 lines but must NOT have been published previously.
Any student in Grades 6-12 in any school in Walker County is encouraged to compete in this poetry contest.
School Level. Each school selects their top three winning entries and sends these entries to the local superintendent by April 15, 2009. The Superintendant will batch them all together and contact the Friends of the 877th to arrange pickup.

For system entries, one hard copy must be provided as well as the original. All entries should be single-spaced in Times or Times New Roman Font, size 12, and are limited to a 1 page maximum.

All entries must be the student's own work and must have been written during the 2008-2009 Academic Year.

The supporting (second) page of the entry must show the following:

ü Student’s name,
ü Home address,
ü Home e-mail address,
ü Grade level,
ü School,
ü School system,
ü Teacher’s name,
ü Teacher’s or school's e-mail address.

Title of each entry must appear on the first page of the text with no other identifying marks or information on that page

Teachers and judges are to ensure originality at each level.

Entries not following requirements may not be eligible for judging.
Schools and school systems are encouraged to offer prizes at each level of competition with awards and publicity help to further the contest goal of rewarding excellence in writing. One nominal First Place Award will be offered for the best overall entry by the Friends of the 877th.
All entries in the writing contest will be judged by an independent panel of the Friends of the 877th based in part on the following criteria: significance of content: word choice, imagery, and style; form or organization; grammar; and mechanics.

For further information, contact Brenda Gann, Director pro tempore of the ad hoc organization “Friends of the 877th “ at (205) 387-9398 or by e-mail at scarlotrose@yahoo.com or contact Paul Kennedy, at (205) 302-0001, pkennedy@wacf.org.

Photovoltaic Design & Installation Workshop – March 23 – 27, 2009

Energize Alabama-- e-bulletin - January 12, 2009

Aldridge Botanical Gardens in Hoover, Al will be the site of a five day, in-depth workshop conducted by Solar Energy International of Carbondale, CO (www.solarenergy.org). The workshop is certified by the Institute of Sustainable Power (ISP) and fulfills the educational requirements for Category ‘B’ of the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Solar PV Installer Certification. Cost is $500 and includes all workshop materials plus breakfast and lunch. For more information send an e-mail to Larry Quick at aldridgelq@bellsouth.net . Phone 205 682-8019.
Several of us have led weekend workshops on solar PV, but this promises to be most in depth yet and the first week-long workshop in Alabama. I (Daryl) have been the only person in Alabama with the NABCEP Solar PV Installer certification. As the barriers to solar PV here drop away, we will need a larger group of certified PV installers in Alabama. This workshop will provide participants with a foundation for solar installation and a first step toward NABCEP certification. If you or your organization can be a sponsor or you are interested in being a participant in this workshop, let Larry know this week.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

from: http://philanthropy.com/news/updates/index.php?id=7244

Obama's Plan to Reduce Charitable Deductions for the Wealthy Draws Criticism
By Suzanne Perry
New updates:
Several billion dollars could be lost in charitable gifts because of the tax proposal, say philanthropy scholars.
The White House says that the plan won’t hurt charities, in part because it doesn’t take effect until 2011, when Obama officials expect the economic recovery to have begun.
Original article:
Some charities and nonprofit experts are worried that President Obama’s proposal to impose new limits on charitable tax deductions for wealthy people would dampen giving at a time when charities are under severe strain because of the recession.
“During the current economic downturn, which has forced nonprofits to do more with less, any proposal which would result in a decrease in private giving will be a disaster for America’s charities, and for those who depend upon them,” said United Jewish Communities, an umbrella group for Jewish social-service charities.
Mr. Obama proposed the new caps on Thursday as a way to finance changes in the country’s health-care system.
In a document outlining his 2010 budget plans, President Obama proposed limiting the value of the tax break for itemized deductions, including donations to charity, to 28 percent for families making more than $250,000. In other words, taxpayers would save 28 cents on their federal income taxes for each dollar donated.
That would reduce by as much as 20 percent the amount wealthy taxpayers could get in tax breaks. Under the current system, taxpayers who are in the 33 percent or 35 percent tax brackets use that rate to claim deductions.
The president says the proposal on itemized deductions — which would also apply to claims such as mortgage interest — would raise $318-billion over 10 years. That money would help pay for a 10-year $630-billion reserve fund designed to help make health care more affordable and available.
Independent Sector, a coalition of charities and foundations, and the Council on Foundations were among the nonprofit groups that lined up to express concern that the proposal would prompt donors to pull back.
But others say the effect could be limited or should be viewed in the context of the broader goals the president is trying to achieve with his budget proposals. (Update: Indiana University scholars estimated on Friday afternoon that several billion dollars in giving by the affluent were probably at stake.)
‘Rebalance the Tax Code’
The proposal to limit the itemized-deduction rate is included in a package of measures designed to free up money for the reserve fund, including reducing Medicare overpayments, cutting drug prices, and improving post-hospitalization care as a way to reduce readmissions.
The plan is an effort to “rebalance the tax code so that the wealthiest pay more,” the document says.
“With this budget, we are making a historic commitment to comprehensive health-care reform,” President Obama told a news conference. “It’s a step that will not only make families healthier and companies more competitive, but over the long term it will also help us bring down our deficit.”
But the idea has drawn mixed reactions in the nonprofit world.
Rob Reich, an associate professor at Stanford University, urges critics to look at the big picture. “Is the good that will be done through health-care reform greater than the good that would have been done with the charitable projects of the wealthy people [who might decrease their gifts]?” he says.
He argues that the charitable deduction increases the inequalities between rich and poor because people with smaller incomes often don’t earn enough to itemize, and if they do they get less of a break because they are in a lower tax bracket.
But Sheldon Steinbach, a lawyer in Washington who represents colleges and universities, says the proposal could have drastic consequences for many groups.
“Any disincentive to charitable giving, especially in the current economic climate, will have an impact far beyond the black letter law,” Mr. Steinbach says. “It will have an exponentially negative impact.”
But while many charitable-giving experts expressed alarm about how reduced rate for charitable deductions would affect giving by wealthy Americans, others say that Mr. Obama’s proposal may be less cause for concern than it initially appeared.
The reason: Many wealthy Americans who would otherwise be in the 33- or 35-percent tax bracket — and thus able to take that same percentage deduction for their charitable gifts — have used mortgage payments and other deductions to qualify for the alternative minimum tax rate of 28 percent, says Robert F. Sharpe, a Memphis planned-giving consultant.
By paying the alternative minimum tax rate of 28 percent, those wealthy taxpayers are already restricted to the same percentage on their charitable deductions, Mr. Sharpe says. “A lot of the rich are already used to the 28-percent deduction,” which means the Obama proposal would not result in any change for them.
For those wealthy individuals who currently qualify for the 33- or 35-percent rate, however, President Obama’s proposal would have some financial impact.
To illustrate, Mr. Sharpe offers the example of a wealthy donor in the top tax bracket who makes a $100,000 gift. The donor currently would save $35,000 in taxes, or 35 percent of the gift. Under President Obama’s proposal, that same donor would save only $28,000, or 28 percent — a difference of $7,000. (Editor’s note: this sentence originally referred incorrectly to the $35,000 and $28,000 as the amount that could be deducted, instead of the amount saved in taxes.)
Mr. Sharpe says the proposal would unfairly penalize the most generous taxpayers since wealthy people who give nothing to charity would not face such a tax increase.
Impact on Large Institutions
Bruce Flessner, a fund-raising consultant at Bentz Whaley Flessner, in Minneapolis, says the plan would probably have little impact on organizations that have a broad pool of donors. But large institutions — particularly colleges and universities and academic medical centers — could be particularly hard hit if the plan moves forward.
“It seems like unusual public policy to try, as the president announced to the Congress this week, to return the United States to world leadership in access to higher education and then make it more difficult for extraordinary donors to contribute great gifts to colleges and universities,” Mr. Flessner says.
“Likewise, it seems like unusual public policy to penalize the great medical centers that contribute so much to scientific breakthroughs by making it more difficult for donors to make the six-, seven-, eight-, and nine-figure gifts,” he adds.
Eric Kessler, who advises major donors and foundations for Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors, says the proposed limits would not likely immediately affect the behavior of the biggest donors, who tend to plot their giving strategically. “I think it has an effect over time, but I don’t think anybody’s going to pick up the paper tomorrow and say, let’s forgo our commitment to the local theater group.”
But he says its could affect mid-range donors — say those who give in the $1,000 range — “who are less driven by strategy and for whom the deduction plays a significant role in their giving.”
Michael W. Peregrine, a lawyer in Chicago who advises nonprofit groups, says charities are now facing a “triple play” that could cut into their donations — the bad economy, the proposed charitable-deduction limits, and proposals by President Obama to end tax cuts for wealthy people that were introduced by President Bush.
He says he worries that charities that are hurting for donations will become more vulnerable to fund-raising scams. “What is certain is that the perception that this will reduce charitable donations in the short term is going to draw out the fraudsters,” he says.
Republicans who oppose President Obama’s budget proposal have also taken aim at the charitable-deduction measure. “During this difficult time, charities provide vital support mechanisms for families in need of help, and this budget is a direct assault on the financial resources they require,” Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, said in a statement.
But the proposals will not necessarily change giving patterns, says Giving Institute, an association of consultants in Glenview, Ill., and its research arm, Giving USA Foundation.
They noted in a statement that 53 percent of high-net-worth donors surveyed in a 2006 study for Bank of America said their giving would stay the same, or even increase, if the tax deduction for charitable gifts fell to zero.
Giving Institute members have found that “the most important factor in how much people give is how committed they are to the purpose of the request,” the statement said. Furthermore, giving will increase when wealth is created and “if the president’s plan generates more wealth for Americans then giving will go up.”
Holly Hall contributed to this article.
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Thursday February 26, 2009 Permalink

Friday, February 20, 2009

MATCHING GIFTS - Double your donations

Matching Gifts Programs

To encourage personal giving, many corporations have established Matching Gifts Programs. Please ask your employer if they have a matching gift program. To facilitate the matching gifts process, please obtain a matching gift form from your place of employment. Complete the application and submit it to the Walker Area Community Foundation, POB 171, Jasper, AL 35502.

A partial list of corporations with matching gifts programs are listed below. Please contact the Walker Area Community Foundation at 205-302-0001 for further assistance.
Alabama Power Company • Alcan Aluminum Corporation • AllState • Amoco • AmSouth Bank • AmSouth Bank Foundation • AT & T • Auto Zone BellSouth • Blue Cross/Blue Shield • Chubb Life America • CIBA-GEIGY • Cooper Industries Foundation • Dow Chemical • Duracell, Inc. Ernest & Young • Exxon • Exxon Foundation • Fidelity and Deposit • Ford Motor Co. • General Electric • Goodyear Hewlett-Packard • Hoechst Celanese • IBM • International Paper • James River • JC Penney • Johnson & Johnson • Kimberly Clark • K-Mart Martin Marietta • Merril Lynch • Metropolitan Life • Mobil Foundation • Monsanto Chemical Co. • Nabisco • New York Times Foundation Paccar Foundation • Parisian • Parker Hannifin Corporation • Pepsi-Cola • Philip Morris • Proctor & Gamble • R.J.R. Nabisco • Russell Corporation Shell Oil • Smith Kline Beecham Sonat Foundation • Southern Company • State Farm • State Farm Insurance • Temple-Inland Foundation • Tenet-Healthcare Corporation • Tenneco • Texaco • The Boeing Company • The Home Depot • Time Warner Foundation • Tom's Foods Incorporated • U.S. Sprint • U.S. Steel • United Parcel Service • United Technologies • Vulcan Materials • Wal-Mart • West Point Pepperell • Westinghouse • Weyerhaeuser Whirlpool Corporation • Winn-Dixie • Xerox • Xerox Foundation

Monday, February 16, 2009

Grant Training - March 5, 2009 9am - 1pm @ CHS

From: Alabama Rural Action Commission
Gerald Dial, Executive Director
Do You want To know more about:
funding for community development?
funding for economic development?
funding for education improvement?

SAVE THIS DATE! march 5, 2009
9:00AM TO 1:OOPM
Community Health Systems Building
204 19th Street East
Jasper, AL 35501
Seating is Limited
Light refreshments will be provided
Please RSVP by February 27, 2009
Contact: Chamber of Commerce (205) 384-4571 Email: linda@walkerchamber.us

Presented by:
Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs
Bill Johnson, Director

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heritage Center Construction Underway

Reconstruction on the Heritage Center is going very well. General Contractor Jimmy Hodges indicated that the work is on track and might be finished by summer '09.

WACF Grant Deadline is March 2, 2009

Since March 1, 2009 is a Sunday. Grants must be received by the C.O.B. on Monday March 2, 2009 at the Foundation's offices. Email - electronic submission is preferred. Thanks

Comm Fnd of Greater Birmingham - Application Process

Please note that the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham's competitive grant guidelines have changed temporarily for 2009 as part of our response to local and national economic conditions.


CLICK the link below to access the new guidelines and revised applications.


To assist in our planning for the upcoming grant cycle, we are asking those agencies who are eligible to participate in the spring 2009 grant cycle and plan to submit a grant request complete a short electronic form expressing their intent to file (a grant application in the spring 2009 cycle).

Just send an e-mail to me at jmccrary@foundationbirmingham.org requesting the link to the 'intent to file' form.


James McCrary, Senior Program Officer
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham jmccrary@foundationbirmingham.org
(205) 327-3812

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Story core idea needs social network help


What is your idea? The idea is to use digital recording in a neutral comfortable setting to capture the oral traditions and anecdotal information of our seniors. The immediate past is rife with hard-scrabble living, social change, and personal stories of courage and determination. The current and future generations need to hear these stories in order to be grounded in their ancestor's history and to have the courage and determination to take bold steps.

What will be the impact of your idea? - Capturing historic information while also capturing the emotions that wrap those memories from angst to euphoria; all to give present and future generations hope and inspiration. To backstop the next generation as hard choices are made and change is shaped in ways that are fair to all concerned.