$41,500 in grants distributed

Published 10:54 pm Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Just two years after it was founded to “facilitate and develop philanthropy” in the city of Suffolk, the Suffolk Foundation celebrated the success of its founders’ vision on Monday by distributing $41,500 in grants to area nonprofit organizations.

Nine different community-service organizations with roots or services in Suffolk received checks ranging from $2,000 to $10,000 to support their missions during a breakfast meeting at the Nansemond River Golf Club.

Although the group made $66,700 in emergency grants following April’s tornadoes and has distributed $83,000 in donor-advised funds, Monday’s gifts were the first that resulted from a scheduled grant-application process. The newest grants bring the total money awarded this year by the group to $191,200.

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Board member Ryan E. Harrell, who chairs the distribution committee, said Monday that there had been 25 applications for grant money this year.

“Our grants committee had a lot of bedtime reading,” he quipped. “Every one was deserving.”

Among those receiving grants were the following:

Western Tidewater Free Clinic: $10,000 to help patients better manage chronic diseases and disorders at home with digital blood pressure monitors, blood glucose test strips and CPAP machines for sleep apnea;

The Genieve Shelter: $7,500 to assist with the construction of CJ’s Place, a group of two-bedroom apartments that victims of domestic violence can use for up to two years;

ForKids: $5,000 to provide seed funding for children’s services programs, including after-school tutoring, advocacy in schools, character-based education and more;

Suffolk Literacy Council: $4,000 to promote adult literacy in general and health literacy in particular;

Suffolk YMCA: $4,000 to provide scholarships to low-income children so they can attend the YMCA’s after-school care program during the school year;

The Children’s Center: $3,000 to provide scholarships for low-income children with disabilities who have a need for childcare and therapy services;

Suffolk Early Childhood Commission: $3,000 to help implement the Smart Beginnings action plan, which targets early childhood areas of need in Suffolk;

Suffolk Special Olympics — Area 29: $3,000 to help pay costs for participating in regional competitions and to add sports such as basketball and soccer;

Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia Area-wide Model Program: $2,000 to provide transportation to medical appointments for qualified adults.

“Basic human resource needs were those that were most important to us, based on the economic circumstances of today,” said Whitney Saunders, president of the foundation’s volunteer board of directors.

The organization was founded in November 2006. It accepts contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations and other nonprofit organizations, holds those donations in trust and pools them together for investment purposes, according to a history that appears on its Web site. The income earned on the funds will be distributed annually to nonprofit agencies that enhance the quality of life for area citizens.

The foundation’s first grants were distributed following Suffolk’s tornadoes through organizations including the Salvation Army, Mercy Chefs, God’s Pit Crew, Samaritan’s Purse and Suffolk’s Open Door Church.

Its first scheduled grant distribution was the presentation of the $2,500 Howard Mast Memorial Scholarship in June.

Applications for the next round of scheduled grants will be available in September.

“We want to build a better community through philanthropy,” Executive Director Billy Hill said on Monday.