MASON COUNTY — Several individuals and community entities were honored as recipients of the Spirit of Our Community Awards during a celebration held last week at the Point Pleasant Moose Lodge. In addition, however, a number of individuals and groups also received grants during the annual event.
Mason County Community Foundation Board Chair Suzanne Dickens briefly addressed those in attendance at the fundraising event before announcing the first round of grant awards.
“We look forward to growing our established community fund and adding more funds in the next few years. Thank you for the role you have played and the role you will continue to play in helping us improve life in Mason County,” Dickens said.
Jane Winters, Our Community’s Foundation Regional Affiliates Manager said that there is always a significant number of requests for the awards, with requests totaling more than $100,000 this year.
“It is this event and the things that we do that help build the grant fund. So, it is our hope to help grow the grant fund to be able to do more each year,” Winters said.
Winters said the Foundation was able to fund community and youth projects totaling $8,500.
The 2012 Fall Community Action Grant Award recipients are:
1. Contact Rape Crisis Center ($1,750) which provides support and advocacy for victims of sexual assault in Mason County.
2. Mason County Library system ($400) to upgrade public access computer monitors.
3. Point Pleasant Intermediate School ($1,514) to purchase android tablets at risk and special education to increase reading, language arts and math skills.
The 2012 Dickens Family Grant recipients were:
1. Beale Elementary ($1,000) to create a listening center where students can work on independent projects.
2. Hannan High School ($,1000) to help jump start the Hannan High School Dance program.
3. Mason County Alternate Education program ($1,000) to purchase physical education equipment.
4. Point Pleasant Intermediate School ($870) for presenters’ expenses for the History Alive presentation to the W.Va. Arts and Humanities Council.
5. Wahama High School ($944) for the purchase of high school chemistry AP achievement interactive DVD to increase student knowledge in advanced chemistry.
Gordon and Mildred Jackson Foundation grant awards were presented by MCCF Board Vice Chair and Jackson Foundation Board memeber Mario Liberatore. Recipients include:
1. Bend Area Community Center Pool ($1,200) for a new life guard station.
2. Fort Randolph ($10,000) to build an artisans’ cabin to work and demonstrate their crafts at the fort.
3. Gordon C. and Mildred R. Jackson Library at Point Pleasant High School ($16,500) for an electronic light board, data projector and related equipment to allow the library to be used as a fully functional media center.
4. Main Street Point Pleasant ($10,000) to match a federal grant AF Kiser House as part of revitalization for Point Pleasant.
5. Mason County Make a Wish Foundation ($3,000) for Mason County youth.
6. New Haven and Community Volunteer Fire Department ($1,100) to assist with the purchase of a complete set of personal fire fighting equipment.
7. PVH ($3,000) to purchase laptops for use in diabetes education for adults and children.
8. Save the Children program ($2,500) for books for Beale Elementary and subordinate school for children grades K-6.
9. Theater West Virginia ($1,000) to help touring productions in Mason County Schools.
Steven Littlepage, administrator of the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation, offered a challenge to any local donors to match funds to be used for youth scholarships. Through his support, two new scholarship funds have been established that will serve Mason County youth.
The Andrea Bailes Scholarship, created by Dina Nibert Spalding – Andrea’s mother, will serve as a memorial to her high school-aged daughter who died tragically last year as a result of a drunk driving accident.
Preece Family Scholarship was created by Homer Preece in memory of his parents, Homer and Jackie Preece.
“This is what it really takes for these kids to make it through,” Littlepage said. “We’re proud that we have been able to help and very happy that the Preece family has decided to honor their parents by setting up a scholarship endowment and thrilled to death that Dina Spalding has come forward with her family to set up something for her daughter.”
Each of the families will provide $7,500 to kick off the scholarship fund, and the Claflin Foundation will provide $5,000 through their challenge.
The event wrapped up with an unexpected gift from the Mason County Commission to the MCCF in the amount of $5,000 to support charitable work for the coming year.
“This is your money going back into the community,” Commissioner Rick Handley said.