AWF awards grants to area agencies
Through the efforts of the Appalachian Women’s Fund, 14 area non-profit organizations received $57,000 in grant money this season.
Programs supporting women and young girls will be able to continue for another year with money raised at the annual Woman of Vision Award Luncheon, held in June. Checks were awarded and distributed to the grant recipients in recent days and not a minute too soon for some.
“It’s no secret that non-profits have faced significant cuts in local and state funding this year,” AWF president Jean Brooks said. “Unfortunately, the cost of de-funding severely affects impoverished women and their children on every level, making the day to day struggle just that much harder.”
Agencies serving the disenfranchised have come to rely on funding from the Appalachian Women’s Fund, she said, which has distributed more than $350,000 over six years. According to grants committee chairwoman Kathleen Kennedy-Olsen, the AWF received 14 grant requests, and all 14 applicants received the grant amount for which they applied.
“Because many of the recipients serve multiple counties in the surrounding area, the AWF financial support is critical and far-reaching,” a spokesperson for the organization said. “Like backdoor neighbors, the group embraces the agencies outside of Watauga County. Building strong families across county lines impacts all aspects of non-profit agencies. In more rural areas, transportation can be the barrier between a woman in distress and getting the help she needs.
“Sometimes a woman may have a high-profile job and worries about stigma and anonymity. Pressure from family can also keep a woman from seeking services more local to her. A bigger town, such as Boone, can offer mass transportation. As well, a larger population can provide anonymity for a family who needs it and put miles between a woman in need and her detractors. Watauga County nonprofits are often the first line of defense for a family in crisis both in and out of the area.”
Agencies supported by the 2013 cycle of grant funding by the Appalachian Women’s Fund include the following.
$5,000 — ASHE (A Safe Home for Everyone), the domestic violence shelter in Ashe County, to be used for the 24/7 hotline, financial assistance towards transportation costs and initial cost of living for clients in their care.
$5,000 — ACCESS financial aid program at Appalachian State University, to be used for summer school scholarships for first-generation college attendees in families living at or below the poverty level.
$3,000 — Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture for three grants of $1000 to local women farmers, ranchers and processors for 2014.
$4,000 — The Children’s Council, toward the salary and benefits of the crisis intervention parent educator for the Parents as Teachers outreach program, focused on single mothers who reside in temporary housing shelters.
$4,000 — Community Care Clinic for the Women’s Health Program.
$4,000 — DANA (Domestic Abuse is Not Acceptable) shelter in Sparta, to be used for utility and rent deposits and other fees associated with a new home, particularly for women who are working and therefore lose their government assistance.
$2,500 — Girls on the Run of the High Country youth running and empowerment program, toward the expansion of their program into Avery and Wilkes counties for participant scholarships.
$5,000 — Hospitality House, toward the Women’s Emergency Shelter Program and the Women & Women with Children Transitional and Family Housing Program.
$4,000 — Hunger & Health Coalition, toward increasing food distribution to local women age 60 and older.
$4,000 — Mountain Alliance, toward the Leadership Initiative for Female Teens Program, exclusively reaching out to young women.
$4,000 — New Opportunity School for Women for the three-week intensive educational immersion program, providing low-income women with the tools they need to get back on their feet, find a job, navigate higher education and more.
$5,000 — OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter) for domestic violence and sexual assault support groups for their clients in both Watauga and Avery counties.
$3,000 — WAMY (Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey) Community Action, toward the credit-building and financial literacy program for women for micro-loans.
$4,500 -— Western Youth Network, toward the costs of running the Girls Circle Program, a supportive and empowerment group for middle school girls.
For more information on the Appalachian Women’s Fund, call (828) 264-4002 or visit http://www.appalachianwomensfund.org.