The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
For immediate release: Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Dr. Michelle Foster, President and CEO
Foundation announces 2018 First Quarter Discretionary Grants
Charleston, WV- The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation (TGKVF) Board of Trustees approved the distribution of eight grants totaling $256,933. One of these grants will support the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s Harm Reduction program. Below Derek*, a 2016 program participant, tells his story:
“I was an opiate addict for 17 years. I did not come for help, just needles. Upon arrival, Rachel, a recovery coach, approached me. She gave me her number to call if I wanted help but didn’t pressure me. This was the only judgment-free environment I had ever experienced around healthcare professionals. The nurses there made it feel okay to be honest, which was difficult based on the way I was living my life. I did not stop getting high that day or that week. I visited the program for the next few months and was always treated like a person. That’s what I remember most; that nowhere else in my life was I treated as a human being during my addiction. On February 28th, with over a foot of snow in Charleston, I was freezing to death in my car. I messaged Rachel who said to call when I was ready to quit. Three days later, I had a bed at Recovery Point Huntington. After completing their program (10 months), I became a peer mentor. During that time, I helped others through the program and 12-step recovery. Now I live in Parkersburg and work as a staff member for a new Recovery Point. I contribute to society in ways that I never dreamed of while in active addiction. I make sure when telling my story that my recovery journey may have never happened for me without first attending the needle exchange/harm reduction program in Charleston.”
TGKVF awarded two responsive grants totaling $40,000 to Arts & Culture programs and six grants totaling $216,933 in the Foundation’s proactive priority areas of Education, Health, and Community Economic Development.
Community Access, Incorporated – Horses & Journeys: Warrior Wellness: $15,000 (Health)
Funding will support the Horses & Journeys: Warrior Wellness project, which assists active duty military service members and veterans identify and strengthen their practices for wellness. The project combines equine-assisted learning with guided hiking activities. Horses and Journeys, now in its third year of funding from TGKVF, promotes healthy lifestyles and strengthens natural and community-based supports. The project will also serve first-responders in 2018.
Kanawha Charleston Health Department – Harm Reduction Syringe Service Program Expansion: $55,000 (Health)
The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Harm Reduction/Syringe Service Program Expansion is a community-wide initiative to address the spread of blood-borne pathogens by offering clean syringes and wraparound services to people experiencing substance abuse issues. The program, which is in its second year of support from TGKVF, provides participants with identification cards, treatment and recovery, testing, and primary care services to individuals that inject drugs. This grant will fund supplies.
WVU Extension Services – STEM Ambassador Program: $53,500 (Education)
The STEM Ambassador Program provides STEM-learning opportunities for K-12 youth in each of the counties TGKVF serves. The college students who serve as STEM Ambassadors, plan and implement community STEM programs during 4-H camps, community events, and public programming. Now in its fourth year of funding from TGKVF, this program encourages participants to aspire to careers in STEM and lifelong learning. This grant will support Ambassador stipends and sustainability efforts.
The Education Alliance – Born Learning Academy: $12,840 (Education)
The Born Learning Academy program connects schools with families of young children during the early learning (birth to Pre-K) critical period, before school enrollment. Families participate in “academy” training where they learn how to create teachable moments for their children. This is the third TGKVF grant that the program will receive; funding supports staff, family-style dinners for participants, and program incentives.
Legal Aid of West Virginia – Lawyer in the School Program: $34,593 (Education)
This program helps to stabilize the lives of Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary students, by providing onsite legal assistance to their families. Legal assistance is provided on issues like eviction, disrupted income, and legal custody for caregivers. In doing so, the project seeks to reduce childhood trauma and promote the home environment necessary for educational success. This is the first grant that TGKVF has awarded to the program. Funding will support the on-site attorney and family workshop events.
WV Community Development Hub – Energizing Entrepreneurial Community Development in Lincoln and Boone Counties: $46,000 (CED)
This project will invest in the diversified growth of the Madison (Boone County) and Hamlin (Lincoln County) business communities by supporting small business growth and sustainability. This project, which is in its second year of funding from TGKVF, will continue to: (1) promote diverse, locally driven leadership teams who build economic diversification strategies; (2) energize entrepreneurial community development. TGKVF funding will support community leadership teams that provide services to local area entrepreneurs.
FestivALL, Charleston, West Virginia, Inc. – FestivALL 2018: $25,000 (Arts/Culture)
FestivALL 2018 includes music, theatre, dance, visual art, humanities performance and learning opportunities. This annual festival features a combination of local, regional, and national artists. This grant award will help fund nine specific FestivALL events.
West Virginia Symphony Orchestra – Symphony Sunday 2018: $15,000 (Arts/Culture)
This funding will assist the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra (WVSO) in engaging an estimated 9,000 people in the power of music on Symphony Sunday. The free outdoor concert will feature WVSO, West Virginia Youth Symphony, and other West Virginia performers and artists on June 3, 2018, at the University of Charleston. Symphony Sunday will also offer children’s games, food, and fireworks.