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News & Event

Civic Leaders Award Grants to Thrive and EVE

Each summer, the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF) offers college-aged students the opportunity to work in career-related internships through the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program. Civic Leaders work four days a week at area businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies, gaining meaningful work experience related to their career interests. In addition, they spend one day a week with the PACF, engaging in activities that help them to learn about the community and the importance of civic engagement. Students can participate in the Civic Leaders Fellowship Program for up to three summers.

In the second year of the program, Civic Leaders visit nonprofits in the region to understand better the ways in which these organizations are working to meet the needs of the communities that they serve. During these visits, the second year CivicLeaders ask about unmet needs, and they have the opportunity to award $5,000 in grant funds to address needs that they identify over the course of the summer.

This year's Civic Leaders visited more than a dozen organizations, and after research and assessment, they awarded grants to support Community Resources for its Thrive food pantry program and EVE, Incorporated, a Washington County, OH based organization that provides services, including housing, to victims of domestic violence. 

The $2,966 grant to EVE will enable the organization to purchase 2 new beds, along with new sheets and mattress covers for all of the beds in their facility. Organizations like EVE run on tight budgets and often run short of funds to replace items such as this, which are critical to making their facility comfortable and welcoming for the individuals that they serve. 

Thrive is receiving a $2,034 grant to support its "Hope Grows" greenhouse project, an effort to grow fresh produce to include in their food pantry. Thrive is designed as a choice-style market, where individuals and families can choose the specific food that they receive, reducing food waste and helping to eliminate stigma. "Hope Grows" will enable Thrive to provide more healthy choices in the market. The new greenhouse project also has space for other nonprofits and food pantries to grow additional produce.

Philanthropy Through Nutrition

Student packing bags for the local pantryImagine you’re in the fourth grade and you’re unable to concentrate on the discussion.  When you’re called on to answer a question, you strain to remember what topic was being discussed.  The room falls silent, as you slump in your chair feeling like a failure.

Studies show that one in six children experience school like this each day due to the lack of nourishing meals at home, thus negatively impacting their academic performance.  As you might suspect, hunger is a problem that most often affects low-income families.

Area data shows a great need to improve the Foundation’s grant resources so that we can better meet essential basic human needs and improve family stability.  The PACF’s service region’s overall poverty level far exceeds the national rate (in 2017, the federal poverty level was $24,300 for a family of four).  In the seven counties for which the PACF is the only community foundation funder – Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Wood – poverty rates are staggering, with nearly 20% of the population, one in five citizens, living below the federal poverty rate.

With this challenge in mind, the PACF is working with a network of partners to identify and address this critical problem.  As a result, since 2013, the PACF has helped more than 5,000 area children obtain a meal or snack on the weekends; awarded more than $176,000 in grants to local food banks, church groups, and schools to provide meals, and established a regional “Hunger Fund” within the PACF that will provide grants to support important food insecurity and hunger relief programs.

To learn more about the region's hunger initiatives, contact us at 304-428-4438.  To make a donation to support your region's Hunger Fund, click here.

Photo caption:   Volunteers for Regeneration in Ritchie County work on stuffing bags for their Packs of Plenty initiative.

Grants in Action: Madison Elementary School

The music program at Madison Elementary School in Wood County received a big boost through a recent $10,400 grant from the PACF, enabling the school to purchase ukuleles, an Orff set (xylophones, glockenspiels, and a metallophone), and a portable sound system for music performances. 

The new instruments provide students with opportunities to explore melody, harmony, rhythm, form, tempo, dynamics, and tone. In addition to being integrated into the music curriculum, instruction using these instruments has been connected to other school programming. For example, in March, the school held its first Leadership Day program, to which they invited parents and community members. Students prepared special performances for the program using their ukuleles and Orff instruments. 

The school's music teacher started an extra ukulele class prior to the start of the school day, which was very well attended, and the school's third grade teacher joined her class during their music class (her planning period) to learn the ukulele. The program has been so successful that plans are underway to replicate it at another Wood County elementary school next year.

**This grant was made possible by a variety of PACF funds and we thank each of our Fund Founders for their support!



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