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The South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF) announced its latest grant recipients on Sunday, August 3, at the DuBose Conference Center in Monteagle. The grants, made to nine area nonprofit organizations, total nearly $64,000.
“One of the primary functions of the Community Fund is to support people and organizations who are making the South Cumberland Plateau a healthier, better-educated, and culturally-richer place. We’re proud to honor these nine groups for the work they are doing, and to support them in our fourth round of grants,” said Scott Parrish, SCCF board chair.
The following loac groups and organizations received grants from SCCF:
Animal Alliance-South Cumberland is a six-year old, all volunteer spay/neuter program that works to reduce the cost and suffering of unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats on the Plateau. To date, the Alliance has sterilized more than 2,500 animals in the community. A prior grant from SCCF for the “Fix by Four” project enabled the Alliance to conduct an educational program advocating the sterilization of pets by the age of four months before their first litter, and to subsidize the cost of spay/neuter procedures and rabies vaccinations for such pets owned by low-income residents of the community. This new grant of $3,600 for “The Big Fix” project targets medium to large breed dogs, the ones most likely to have large litters, create neighborhood problems, and suffer from abuse. With these funds, Animal Alliance will be able to help 50 low-income residents sterilize their large breed dogs.
Appalachian Women’s Guild is a 25-year old grassroots organization that provides “a hand up, not a hand out” to help meet the basic needs of impoverished residents of our region. The organization aspires to do a significant upgrade to its aging facilities over the next few years. The immediate focus is the thrift shop, which generates the lion’s share of AWG’s income. This grant of $7,000 will refurbish and promote the store in order to provide a more appealing shopping experience and generate greater revenues for the programs offered by AWG.
The City of Altamont proposes to increase the utilization of the auditorium of the Florence Scruggs Building for theatrical, musical, and dance performances. The City intends to develop a calendar of high quality events that will attract paying audiences. A snack bar will generate additional income to sustain the programs, some of which will feature professional/semi-professional artists. A grant from SCCF will enable the City to install a sound system in the facility. In addition, the Paul S. McConnell Music Grant, awarded to SCCF to support music on the plateau, will provide underwriting for performances by local musicians in the venue. The total amount of the grant is $6,725.
Coalmont Elementary School, in partnership with the Grundy Health Council and the University of the South, has focused in recent years on increasing exercise and physical activity in its after-school program. Now it is time to promote healthy physical activities for the entire school and surrounding community. Recognizing the limited availability of safe walking spaces in the area, the school proposes to construct a quarter-mile walking track around the adjacent ball field. This grant of $10,000 is directed toward the cost of installing the track; the project has also attracted the support of the Bristol Myers Foundation.
Community Action Committee is a ministry of the Otey Parrish of Sewanee. It provides groceries for over three hundred families per week, plus assistance with utilities, medical, employment, and housing needs. All clients are below the poverty level. This grant of $2,660, aimed at food security and sustainability, will enable CAC to provide chicken coops and starter flocks for two clients willing to maintain them for the benefit of themselves and their neighbors. In addition, ten container gardens will be provided to elderly and disabled residents.
Mountain Goat Trail Alliance is a “rails to trails” recreation project seeking to create a multi-use corridor along a 35-mile track from Cowan in Franklin County to Palmer in Grundy County. The first section of the trail, between Sewanee and St. Andrews, is complete, and construction of the next section from St. Andrews to Monteagle will begin this year. A previous grant from the Fund is enabling MGTA to complete the acquisition of rail bed between Tracy City and Palmer. This new grant of $10,000 will support the purchase of additional rail bed between Monteagle and Tracy City, plus provide partial compensation for a contract employee to administer a Recreational Trails grant recently awarded by Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
St James Episcopal Church in Midway, with a grant from the Dandridge Trust, constructed a playground 20 years ago to serve the community. It is the only recreational space available to the children of this lower income community. Today the playground equipment has deteriorated and fallen behind contemporary safety standards. This grant of $10,000 from the Community Fund will enable the church to refurbish the playground with new swings, rubber mulch, basketball backboards and nets, and soccer goals, plus the addition of picnic tables. The church provides liability insurance and general maintenance of the playground.
Swiss Memorial Elementary School, serving the Gruetli-Laager community, has worked in partnership with the Grundy County Health Council, the school health program, and the school nutrition program to focus on strategies to combat chronic health conditions. With grant support and innovation funding, these partners have been able to build a greenhouse and a community garden to make healthy foods available for students, staff, and the community. This SCCF grant of $3,760, made possible by a grant from the Bonnaroo Works Fund, will help pay for an after-school program that will provide training in many aspects of nutrition, such as planting and maintaining a garden, farmers’ markets, food preservation, and vegetarian cooking.
The South Cumberland Learning and Development Center, operating under the auspices of Tracy City, is a bold undertaking to refurbish the old high school and make it available for life-long learning programs for youth and adults that improve employment preparation, health, and educational outcomes; and increase community connections by fostering collaboration and partnerships. This grant of $10,000 goes toward the local match required to access a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for renovation of the building.