The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Board of Trustees has approved grants totaling $288,476 for eight local agencies and programs, ranging from Kanawha County’s needle-exchange program to Charleston’s FestivALL events.
In a news release, the foundation highlighted one success story from the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s harm-reduction program. A woman arrived at the clinic one day and said to the staff, “Do you recognize me? You haven’t seen me in several months because I am now clean, thanks to your help. [The health providers here] always treated me with respect and never made me feel embarrassed for coming to the needle exchange [program].”
The foundation granted $50,000 for the program, which fights the heroin/opioid epidemic and the infectious diseases that come from the sharing of needles.
That was one of five grants in the foundation’s Education, Health and Community Economic Development area. Three other grants were awarded in the Basic Needs and Arts and Culture area. The grants include:
n WVU Extension-STEM Ambassador Program: $50,000. This program provides STEM learning opportunities in each of the foundation’s six counties (Kanawha, Putnam, Lincoln, Boone, Clay and Fayette) for youth in kindergarten through 12th grade. The ambassadors, college students from the Kanawha Valley, plan and implement community STEM programs during 4-H camps, community events, and public programming. This program encourages aspirations for careers in STEM and lifelong learning for participants.
n The Education Alliance, Born Learning Academy: $12,876. The Born Learning Academy program connects schools with families of young children during the critical early learning period prior to school enrollment. Families participate in “academy” trainings where they learn to create teachable moments for their children. This grant renews the program for a second year at Edgewood Elementary (Kanawha County), Brookview Elementary (Boone County) and Hamlin PK-8 (Lincoln County).
n Community Access, Incorporated Horses & Journeys Warrior Wellness: $15,000, The Horses & Journeys: Warrior Wellness project combines equine-assisted learning with guided hiking to assist military service members, both active-duty and veterans, identify and strengthen their own practices for wellness. The project, entering its second year, offers and promotes healthy lifestyles and develops or strengthens natural and community-based supports.
n WV Community Development Hub – Energizing Entrepreneurial Community Development: $45,600. The Hub will assist in the diversified growth of the Madison and Hamlin communities by supporting diverse, locally driven leadership teams. These teams will build economic diversification strategies and energize entrepreneurial community development to support small business growth and sustainability. Funding will cover a portion of the two programs’ evaluation expense, travel expense, two AmeriCorps VISTAs, and mini-grants for the Innovation Acceleration Strategy and Energizing Entrepreneurial Communities leadership and entrepreneurial plans.
n Arts in Action Inc., Classroom and Performance Supplies: $20,000. Arts in Action provides arts education and performance opportunities to communities in Putnam County and the West Side of Charleston. Classes include dance, music, visual arts, and theater. Students also participate in summertime Artistic Discovery Camps and dance workshops. Funding will ensure all children have access regardless of economic status.
n FestivALL Charleston 2017: $25,000. FestivALL (June 2017) and FestivALL Fall (October 2017) will feature about 150 music, visual art, dance, theater, humanities, and family entertainment events with more than 400 performances. FestivALL, in cooperation with partner organizations and individuals, will produce, co-produce, and present all events, performances, and exhibitions. This grant award will fund nine specific events.
n Regional Family Resource Network, Bottle and Diaper Project: $70,000 (Basic Needs)
In an effort to address diaper and formula needs, a team of organizations from Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam counties has created a system to place or strengthen baby pantries throughout all six of the foundation’s counties to provide diapers, formula, education, and other resources to low-income families.