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Women in Philanthropy hands out grants
Members of two local groups are presented with grant funds received Tuesday from the Women in Philanthropy Initiative. Shown are (From left) Sarah-Beth Keyser, Citizens Against Family Violence board member; Melissa Gravely, executive director of Citizens Against Family Violence; April Haynes, director of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation; Louise Collie, board president for Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy; Susan Warren, director of Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy; and Lydia Pegram, horse rider and board secretary for the academy. (Bulletin photo by Ashley Jackson)
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
By ASHLEY JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy and Citizens Against Family Violence were awarded grants Tuesday from the Women in Philanthropy initiative of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation.
Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy received $20,000 to create a program called “Health, Horses and Heroes” that will address obesity issues with youth aged 12 to 17 and will involve the help of local veterans, special needs riders and horses. Each veteran will serve as a mentor for the youth, according to April Haynes, director of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation.
The academy’s mission is to provide therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with disabilities to help improve their physical, mental, emotional and social lives, Haynes said.
While the new program is not for those who are disabled, “we can so impact children that are having health and weight issues, and with the help of the veterans, how can we go wrong?” said Susan Warren, director of Tackfully Teamed Riding Academy.
After seeing many overweight children and hearing stories of veterans suffering from depression after returning from war, the academy felt that there was a need for such a program, she added.
“I’m so thrilled that you all support us and believe in our mission,” Warren said after receiving the grant.
A $10,000 grant was awarded to Citizens Against Family Violence (CAFV), which helps residents affected by domestic violence, sexual assault and homelessness by providing advocacy, education, counseling and safety services, Haynes said.
The grant will be used for emergency shelter operations and support services for clients, Haynes added.
“If there’s just one person that can touch a life, that’s all it takes,” and the 64 members of the initiative have helped touch more than 200 lives by awarding the grant, said Melissa Gravely, executive director of CAFV.
From the people that CAFV helps, Gravely said she has heard comments such as: “You saved my life ... without you, my child and I would be sleeping in a car.”
“I feel blessed that you have chosen us,” she added.
Last year, the Women in Philanthropy initiative awarded a $20,000 grant to the Martinsville-Henry County Family YMCA to fund its “Girls on the Run” program. Safetynet was given $10,000 to provide further emergency financial assistance to area residents.
Becky Forestier, YMCA associate director, gave a progress report Tuesday on the first season of the “Girls on the Run” program. There were 36 girls in the third- to eighth-grades who completed community service projects, learned to make positive choices and avoid risky behaviors and completed a 5K run, she said.
After a successful season, the program has decided to expand this year to potentially include 120 girls and offer the program in Franklin County, Forestier said. The program will be funded through donors, sponsorships and volunteers, she added.
Judy Mattox, executive director of Safetynet, said Safetynet was able to serve 14 families and individuals over the past year thanks to the grant.
Assistance included medical, rent, mortgage, utilities, insurance and gasoline. Mattox added that it is important for people to have help in retaining their homes and services so they can focus on becoming self-sustainable.
The Martinsville Area Community Foundation and Women in Philanthropy receive funds for these grants from the Women in Philanthropy’s 64 members. Members contribute $500 annually to the initiative, according to Kay Smith, board member of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation.
Each member receives a copy of the grant applications and then votes on two grant recipients, Smith said.
The Women in Philanthropy initiative is in its third year. It was established to encourage, increase and recognize women’s participation in philanthropy and to make significant impact grants in the community, Smith said.
In the three years, the initiative has contributed $87,000 to the community, she said.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Blue Ridge received $27,000 during the first year to help start a steel drum band, she added.