The North Georgia Community Foundation in Gainesville awarded nearly $67,000 in grant funding last week to 27 nonprofits across a 15-county region, with 11 Hall County-specific organizations and several others working locally among the recipients.
“The nonprofits in our footprint do an amazing job of identifying important needs in the communities that they serve,” said Michelle Prater, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are proud to be able to support their efforts and the difference they are making.”
Nonprofits with a mission to improve the health, education and financial stability of individuals and families, as well as support and protect animals, children, the homeless and natural resources, were among those chosen for grant funding.
For example, Steven Mickens, CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier, based in Gainesville, received $2,000 to support the Saturday Morning Learning Lab, which provides additional mentoring and academic tutoring for children in need.
Mickens said that his organization first identified the need for the learning lab years ago as a way to improve the behavior and classroom study of certain students who appeared to be caught in a catch-22.
“Their behavior was impending their ability to learn in school, and they were acting out because they were behind academically,” he said.
The learning lab helps support an average of 15 to 20 students each Saturday.
“So that’s what we’re going to continue to do with the support of this grant,” Mickens said. “If we could do it longer, we’d do it longer. If we could do it more often, we’d do it more often.”
Doug Hanson, founder and president of the board of North Georgia Works in Gainesville, an emerging workforce development and transitional housing program serving homeless men, received $2,500 to support its launch, likely sometime this winter.
Hanson said the grant funding felt like an endorsement of the hard work he and his team have put in over the last two years to find space and develop the program, which is modeled on a successful nonprofit based in Atlanta called Georgia Works.
“It’s the community foundation, and therefore the community has said, even before we open our doors, that our mission is one that our community desperately needs,” Hanson said. “We are passionate about reaching able-bodied, unsheltered men and seeing them taken from a very, very hopeless situation into one of personal healing, spiritual development, permanent housing and permanent jobs. It really means they’ll be self-sufficient.”
The Good News Clinics, a Gainesville-based nonprofit providing free medical and dental care to low-income individuals without insurance, received $3,000 to support flu vaccinations for about 600 patients with high-risk diseases like heart failure and diabetes.
The Clinic’s vaccine program costs $10,000, which includes flu and pneumonia vaccines, according to Liz Coates, development and engagement director.
Meanwhile, Off the Chain USA is one of several nonprofits receiving grant funding that aid animals in need.
Off the Chain accepted $2,250 from the Community Foundation to help build fences for dogs so they can be taken off chains and tethers.
The organization launched about two years ago and works in Hall, Jackson and Barrow counties.
Thus far, Off the Chain has constructed about 30 fences impacting the lives of nearly 60 dogs.
Meanwhile, FAST Friends of the Hall County Animal Shelter received $900 to provide heartworm medication for sick and older dogs so that they are more likely to be adopted than euthanized.
FAST stands for “foster, adopt, sponsor, transport” and volunteers have already assisted animal shelter dogs by supplying kennel decks, for example, to improve their quality of life.
The North Georgia Community Foundation was founded in 1985 and serves Hall, Banks, Dawson, Fannin, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White counties.
The number of awardees and the dollar amount distributed for the annual Community Impact Grants continues to grow each year. The program awarded about $47,000 to 16 organizations in 2017.
Community Impact Grant awardees working in Hall County
- Academy of Innovation to purchase classroom curriculum for lessons aimed at transforming non-readers into writers.
- Family Ties-Gainesville, Inc. to fund counseling, mental health and parenting classes for low income and at-risk families.
- Fast Friends of Hall County Animal Shelter, Inc. to sponsor urgent and senior dogs for rescue by providing them with heartworm treatments if needed.
- Gainesville Ballet Company for the Dance Discovery Community Outreach program, which provides free dance classes weekly to children at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier.
- Good News at Noon, Inc. to assist with their Helping Hands project to automate volunteer management and tracking with a software system.
- Good News Clinics, Inc. to provide flu and pneumonia vaccines to low income patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
- ITN Lanier to expand their senior transportation program and grow their ridership.
- Jubilee Farm, Inc. for a storage shed for garden supplies and equipment on the farm that grows fruit and vegetables for the homeless.
- North Georgia Works to support a transitional workforce development center which helps homeless men re-enter society.
- Randy and Friends, Inc. to purchase a cash register at The Rooster’s Perch in order to provide on-site job training for adults with disabilities.
- The Path Project to support an on-site computer lab at a low-income mobile park, which students can use to do their homework and projects.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier for the Saturday Morning Learning Lab, which provides tutoring, mentoring and enrichment opportunities to students who need extra support.
- Lake Lanier Association to remove trash, debris and repair docks at the Lake Lanier Olympic Park Shore Sweep.
- Off the Chain USA to provide materials for fences for chained dogs, and pet ownership education to the owners and community
- Sacred Roots Farm to support a child development area that serves women with children who have been victims of human trafficking