Felix Martin 300MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (8/1/17) — The Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation has announced more than $250,000 in grants awarded during the summer 2017 grant cycle. More than $120,000 of those grants were awarded through the Community Grants Program which reviews applications quarterly.

Organizations receiving awards from the Community Grants Program include the Muhlenberg County Arts Advisory Council, City of Central City, Muhlenberg County Fiscal Court, Muhlenberg County 4-H Council, Happy Feet = Learning Feet, Muhlenberg County Humane Society, Junior Achievement of Western Kentucky, Kentucky State Parks Foundation, Muhlenberg County Opportunity Center and The Learning Center of Madisonville. Seven Community Grants were also awarded for specific initiatives within Muhlenberg County Schools.

The Arts Advisory Council received a $3,000 grant to host a week-long arts day camp that occurred in June 2017. Students in grades first through eighth had the opportunity to take classes in dance, drama, vocal music, instrumental music and visual arts.

The City of Central City was awarded a $21,000 grant to assist in the construction of a skate park at Central Park.

A grant of up to $3,000 was awarded to support a coalition of County tourism agencies who will bring a booth promoting Muhlenberg County to the Kentucky State Fair which takes place Aug. 17 – 27 in Louisville. Local volunteers will staff the booth and grant funding will cover the cost of lodging for volunteers.

Two grants were awarded in response to presentations by Junior Leadership’s Project Give Back teams. The Muhlenberg County 4-H Council was awarded a $5,000 grant to support the Food for Kids Backpack Program which provides a backpack of food for children in need to take home each weekend during the school year.

The Muhlenberg County Humane Society was awarded $1,000 to assist with expenses they incur to provide care for abandoned animals in their care.

Happy Feet = Learning Feet was awarded a $5,000 grant which will help provide many local students with clean, well-fitting shoes in an effort to remove barriers to learning.

Junior Achievement received a $4,900 grant to support college and career readiness programs in the County’s elementary and middle schools.

The Foundation supplemented an earlier grant of $200,000 to Kentucky State Parks Foundation with an additional grant of up to $12,000 to provide a gas pump upgrade at the new Lake Malone State Park dock. This grant was made in conjunction with local fundraising efforts of individuals and businesses across Muhlenberg and the surrounding counties.

The Opportunity Center received two grants totaling $3,000 to support strategic planning and a new pilot program providing offsite activity opportunities for clients.

The Learning Center of Madisonville received a $12,000 grant to establish a Learning Center to be located in Muhlenberg County. The Learning Center will provide tutoring to students in the county, specifically dyslexic and struggling elementary and middle school readers.

Several community grants were awarded to renew support for existing programs within the Muhlenberg County School system. These renewals include a $27,000 grant which provides $3,000 to each of the nine Family Resource Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs) which work to remove nonacademic barriers to learning for students. In addition, Bremen Elementary School’s FRYSC office received a $1,800 grant to host Family Fun Nights during 2017-2018. A grant of $5,000 will allow the FRYSCs to partner with the Rotary Club to provide the Beds for Kids Project, constructing and delivering beds and accessories to students that do not have suitable beds at home.

In addition to the Family Resource Center support, several other clubs and departments received support from Community Grants. The Muhlenberg Mentors program received $11,300 and STAND’s (Students Teaching Against Negative Decisions) high school service group received a grant of $15,000. The Middle School Gifted & Talented program received a total of $5,660 to support two programs focused on leadership and robotics.

In addition to the Community Grants Program awards, the Foundation also announced several grants which were awarded to support strategic initiatives identified by the Foundation through needs assessments studies, the Vision 20/20 initiative and community conversations.

The largest grant awarded in this grant cycle was a $50,000 grant to sustain the Work Ready Community Youth Educational Attainment initiative in the upcoming school year. This program supports the growth of a college and career culture throughout the school system, focusing on giving students hands-on experiences with colleges and careers. The program provides field trips to college campuses and jobsites in each year of their schooling, provides college focused materials for school events, support for college and career fairs, and scholarships for dual credit courses for high school students. The school system was also awarded up to $7,000 to be used to compete for a Kentucky College Coach at the high school. This program, provided through AmeriCorps, can provide a recent college graduate to assist high school students in the college application process and transition from high school into college.

The school system also received an additional $27,500 grant to purchase additional materials to expand and improve the Read 180 Reading Intervention curriculum at the middle and high school levels.

A Best Practices grant of up to $2,000 was awarded to allow members of Muhlenberg’s 20/20 Visioning Committee to attend Eastern Kentucky’s SOAR Summit in August 2017. The summit will showcase some of the most innovative work that is occurring in Eastern Kentucky including solutions currently driving economic growth in that region. Muhlenberg 20/20 Visioning Committee members hope to bring program ideas back to Muhlenberg County.

The final grant awarded provided $28,000 for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program in 2017-2018. This program, in partnership with the Muhlenberg County Public Library, provides a free book in the mail each month to all Muhlenberg County children under the age of 5. For information about enrolling your child, contact the Muhlenberg County Public Library.

The Foundation expects to award up to $300,000 as part of the Community Grants Program during 2017-2018. Community Grant applications are accepted throughout the year and reviewed quarterly, with all grant decisions being finalized by June 2018. The next two deadlines for consideration of Community Grant applications are August 28, 2017 and November 6, 2017.

Nonprofit organizations serving Muhlenberg County are invited to submit applications for projects that address the educational, civic and cultural needs of the county. All proposals must directly serve and benefit Muhlenberg County. Grant applications can be found on the Foundation’s website, www.felixmartinfoundation.org. Before submitting an application, organizations are encouraged to call the Foundation’s new Director of Grants, Meredith Zahirovic, at (270) 977-9194 to discuss the details of the project and the ways in which it fits the Foundation guidelines.

SurfKY News
Information provided by Meredit Zahirovic

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