Columbia Foundation gives $171,000 in grants for 1996 But groups fear demand will rise with cutbacks

January 24, 1996|By Dana Hedgpeth | Dana Hedgpeth,SUN STAFF

Most Howard County groups got all the funding they requested this year from the Columbia Foundation, which gave $171,000 in operating grants to charitable organizations for calendar year 1996.

But in light of recent cutbacks in government funding and donations, officials from many groups worry that the foundation may be be hard-pressed to meet the demands from all those that need help in coming years.

"Everybody from the government to individual donors are tightening their belts and cutting back more and more," said Pam Grady, director of Voices for Children, a Columbia-based advocacy group for abused and neglected children. "We've been lucky in Howard County to get most of what we need, but we certainly do struggle at every turn."

This year, 26 arts, cultural, educational and social service groups ranging from the Howard County Sexual Assault Center to the Candlelight Concert Society received grants from the nonprofit foundation.

Another round of grants -- $91,000 for special projects, and $50,000 for children and youth programs -- will be given out next month.

The foundation, a 27-year-old independent community organization started by James Rouse, Columbia's developer, awarded a total of $391,000 in 1994 -- the most in its history -- because of low interest rates and a stable market in 1993.

But Barbara Lawson, the foundation's executive director, noted that the 1994 total included funding to help new groups get started and for special projects, in addition to grants that help existing groups operate.

The foundation has been squeezed in recent years by a sluggish economy, Ms. Lawson said, with operational grants falling from $169,000 in 1994 to $161,000 in 1995.

Though this year's operational grants totaled $171,000, Ms. Lawson said her group is under pressure to help charitable groups at a time when federal, state and county funds are drying up.

"We'll never be able to make up what these groups are going to lose from those sources, but we're trying to increase our resources so we can help out," she said.

Until this year, the Maryland Museum of African Art has received increasing grants from the foundation, including $7,000 in 1995, said Claude M. Ligon, director of development. For 1996, the museum got a $6,200 grant for exhibits.

"They are still one of our biggest contributors," Mr. Ligon said.

The foundation will award an additional $141,000 in February for new projects and children's and youth programs, Ms. Lawson said.

The Columbia Foundation gave county organizations $171,000 in grants for 1996. They are:

Human service groups:

* Adaptive Living, $1,800.

* Careerscope, $5,000.

* Center for Grant Development, $12,000.

* Children of Separation and Divorce, $8,000.

* Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, $5,000.

* Family Life Center, $16,000.

* FIRN (Foreign-born Information and Referral Network), $11,000.

* Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center, $10,000.

L * Helping Hands Enrichment & Leadership Foundation, $10,000.

* Hospice Services of Howard County, $5,000.

* Howard County Mediation and Conflict Resolution Center, $10,000.

* Howard County Sexual Assault Center, $11,000.

* Maryland Foundation of Dentistry for the Handicapped, $3,000.

* Voices for Children, $11,000.

* Winter Growth, $5,000.

Arts and cultural groups:

* Candlelight Concert Society, $6,000.

* The Columbia Orchestra, $4,500.

* Columbia Pro Cantare, $8,000.

* Eva Anderson Dancers, Ltd., $3,000.

* Howard County Arts Council, $5,000.

* Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, $5,000.

* Kinetic Dance Theatre, $3,000

* The Maryland Museum of African Art, $6,200.

* The Maryland Youth Symphony Orchestra, $2,000.

Educational organizations:

* Howard County Foundation for Black Education and Cultural Achievement, $3,500.

* Howard County Historical Society, $1,000.

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