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The Women’s Fund of Smith County announced the award of five grants totaling $300,941 during at its 2020 Grants Announcement Reception Tuesday at Willow Brook Country Club.

More than 200 people attended the event, including Women’s Fund members, community leaders and guests. The grants were presented to nonprofit programs that benefit women and children in Smith County.

“As members of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, we are dedicated to working together. Everything we do is guided by the values we share. Our core values of collective giving, collaboration, respect, excellence and responsibility are practiced through our programs and our actions,” Kristen Seeber, president of the Women’s Fund, said in a prepared statement. “Our cumulative grants, awarded since 2009, now reach over $1.9 million, impacting 29 different Smith County nonprofit agencies and countless lives.”

The Women’s Fund of Smith County was created in 2007 as a collective giving circle with a mission of transforming our community by funding programs that enrich the lives of women and children. As members of the organization, more than 300 women benefit from education on community issues and best practices in philanthropy, as well as by participating in the annual grants process.

“The grant-making program is the heart and primary focus of our organization,” Johnna Fullen, 2020 board chair, said in the statement. “Each member of the Women’s Fund has a voice in the grant process through her giving and her vote for the grants we award annually.”

The grants were:

— $72,664 to the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County for its REACH II Program (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health). REACH II is an evidence-based caregiver support education program designed to improve the lives of dementia clients’ caregivers by reducing their stress and burden, equipping them to be at their best for their loved one living with dementia. Grant funding will allow for the total number of support sessions for female primary caregivers to total 1,530 (255 caregivers times 6 sessions.) Stephanie Taylor, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Alliance of Smith County, accepted the grant on behalf of the organization.

— $100,000 to the East Texas Veteran’s Community Council for its Camp V Women’s Center. The grant will be used to renovate an existing building on the property, recently purchased by the ETVCC Board at 3212 W. Front St. in Tyler, to house a comprehensive Women Veterans Service Center for mental, physical and spiritual wellness.

— $36,000 to Meals on Wheels Ministry for its Together We Can Deliver program. In order to decrease the wait list and better accommodate clients, the grant funds will allow MOWM to purchase two vehicles to add to its current fleet of older vehicles, many of which need replacing because of mechanical problems and age.

Through this grant, MOWM will expand its services and thereby enable more senior women to remain living independently in their own homes, ensuring nutritious meals as well as important safety checks. John Genung, MOWM board chair, accepted the award.

— $31,519 to The First Tee of Greater Tyler. The grant will be used for the Learning Pavilion at Woldert Park, where the city of Tyler and TFTGT have a lease agreement and where golf lessons and other activities of the organization take place. The open-air, covered structure will be used for the educational portion of the TFTGT curriculum, further extending the reach of this unique youth development program that uses golf as a platform to touch essential life skills. The nine core values reinforced through TFTGT are: Honesty, Integrity, Sportsmanship, Respect, Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Courtesy and Judgment. Stacia Aylor, TFTGT executive director, accepted the grant award.

— $60,758 to the Tyler ISD Foundation for the Caldwell Ceramics Lab. The grant will advance the visual arts programming at Caldwell Arts Academy to include an authentic ceramics lab, allowing students to explore a full ceramics curriculum, including wedging and coiling clay, wheel throwing, trimming, glazing, sculpting, slab construction and glass fusing. The grant will create an art-access-for-all opportunity — not only by developing the gifts of young artists and harnessing the benefits of arts integration, but also by providing a venue for community engagement through arts experiences. Accepting the grant for Tyler ISD Foundation was Betsy Jones, executive director.

The next Women’s Fund of Smith County grant cycle will begin in May, with a seminar for area nonprofits to learn more about the funding criteria and guidelines of the organization. Information about the grants program, as well as Women’s Fund membership and events, is posted on the website: www.womensfundsc.org.

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