$30,000 in Grants Given to Local Non-Profits

[STILLWATER, Dec 21, 2018] – Stillwater Area Community Foundation has distributed $30,000 in grant funding to six area non-profits. Grants this year support programs and services addressing pressing community issues including diversity awareness, transportation, and homelessness.

The funding, $5,000 per recipient, is made available through donations to Stillwater Area Community Foundation and is distributed through the Foundation’s annual competitive grants process.

StoryArk provides opportunities for students in grades 6-12 to share their insights and experiences through the impact of storytelling. StoryArk provides a safe supportive place for expression through novels, poetry, film, song and podcasts. The $5,000 grant from Stillwater Area Community Foundation will fund a network app and podcast functionality that will allow the student creators to share their stories more broadly. Students from diverse groups within the Stillwater Area School District are involved.

Dyslexia Advocates is focused on helping individuals with dyslexia navigate school and life through educational advocacy and community support. The $5,000 grant from Stillwater Area Community Foundation will be used to help pay for assessments to help identify students who may be challenged by dyslexia. The condition crosses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines, yet diagnosis is elusive. Formalized screenings, comprehensive assessments and testing, and certified tutoring are expensive. Thus, dyslexia is a diagnosis of privilege. Dyslexia Advocates estimates that over 1,500 students in Stillwater area schools have some degree of dyslexia.

Youth Service Bureau will use its grant to help fund a project aimed at increasing cultural competency and racial equity within its organization. Funds will be used to survey cultural groups with the help of the school district, and for staff training to instigate changes that will enable the organization to better serve the needs of our increasingly diverse community.

Family Means is using its grant award to fund a student-led Cultural Night at Stillwater Area High School. A group of students with different ethnic backgrounds initiated the project to increase awareness, knowledge, acceptance and celebration of minority populations. They hope to share what is like being a person of color in a predominantly white institution. The event will include a cultural fashion show, dance presentations and ethnic foods.

Community Thread’s grant will help fund its transportation program that matches older adults who are no longer able to drive with volunteers who provide door-to-door rides to medical appointments. Access to transportation for older adults is one of the biggest issues impacting Washington County. Without this service, many of the organization’s riders would have no physical way to get to medical appointments that are critical to their health and self-sufficiency.

Canvas Health’s housing program will use funds to improve the living conditions at two Stillwater buildings that provide shelter and support to vulnerable citizens, including young adults ages 18-25 who are experiencing mental illness. The grant request was a result of the organization’s belief in the power of dignity to improve client outcomes.

“Our grant distribution process is so rewarding,” says Miriam Simmons, Stillwater Area Community Foundation Board Chair. “As an organization, we enhance our community by supporting high impact causes. For individual donors it’s hard to know the most pressing needs in our community. But by supporting Stillwater Area Community Foundation, we do the legwork for donors – identifying current needs and getting funding where it can have the greatest impact in our community.”

Left to right: Bob Sherman, Executive Director, Youth Service Bureau; Nancy Nelson, Canvas Health; Miriam Simmons, Stillwater Area Community Foundation Chair; Katie McNulty, Arba Della Beck (Executive Director) and Tom Ruska, Family Means; Sally Anderson, Executive Director, Community Thread; Sara Letourneau, Dyslexia Advocates; Erica Oesterreich, SACF board member.

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