Columbia Foundation gives $157,000 in grants

December 23, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Without its Columbia Foundation grant of $10,600 the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County would not be able to provide shelter to 14 battered women and their children.

The center uses the grant money to pay the mortgage on a transitional shelter, which provides housing to women and children who have left abusive households.

"If we didn't have that grant we wouldn't have this house," said Stephanie Sites, the executive director of the Domestic Violence Center.

Other local nonprofit organizations are equally dependent on Columbia Foundation grants, which are distributed twice a year.

The foundation recently awarded $157,000 in grants to 26 human service, cultural and educational organizations.

The Family Life Center received the largest grant of $15,000 and the smallest grant, $1,000, went to the Howard County Historical Society.

Recipients are chosen by the foundation, which reviews organization proposals on plans for use of the grant money.

Thirty organizations submitted applications in the most recent proposal review.

"It's a fairly competitive program," said Barbara K. Lawson, executive director of the foundation.

"You have to look at the needs of the community and divide up the money based on that," she said.

The grant money came from contributions from individuals and businesses, money raised from the foundation's annual spring party and income from the foundation's endowment fund, which now totals $667,500.

Most of the grant money -- $104,300 -- went to human service organizations, with some of the largest grants going to Grassroots, Foreign-Born Information and Referral Network, Hospice Services of Howard County and the Howard County Sexual Assault Center.

Nancy Weber, executive director of Hospice Services of Howard County, described its $10,600 foundation grant as "critical."

The organization receives a county grant but no federal or state money.

Hospice Services plans to use the grant to obtain its Medicare certification, which will allow the agency to provide additional services and bill insurance companies.

To become certified, Hospice Services must provide its own nursing and counseling services directly, rather than contracting for the services, as it does now, Ms. Weber said.

Grassroots, which runs a crisis hot line and homeless shelter in Columbia, plans to use $5,000 of its $10,000 grant for operating expenses and the other $5,000 to operate its walk-in crisis counseling center at Hammond High School, which has no separate funding.

The center opened a few weeks ago as part of an educational partnership with the county school system.

"This $5,000 is really supporting this whole effort to reach out to the youth in Howard county," said Grassroots' executive director, Andrea Ingram.

In addition to human services organizations, the foundation also awarded grants to cultural groups, including the Candlelight Concert Society, the Howard County Arts Council and the Eva Anderson Dancers.

The hard economic times haven't hurt the foundation's ability to support local non-profits. In fact, between 1992 and 1993 the foundation's budget increased by 6 percent, from $297,000 to 317,000, Ms. Lawson said.

The next round of foundation grants will be given out in May and the application deadline is Feb. 5.

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