Local nonprofits were awarded more than $178,000 in funding Thursday in the Montgomery County Community Foundation’s first grant cycle of the year.
The grants were awarded to agencies serving children, animals, people with mental health issues and businesses who applied for money.
“We’re fortunate that we can fund you all, but we know you all are the ones out there doing the work,” chief executive officer Kelly Taylor said during an awards program at Fusion 54.
A new category was added to provide funding for early childhood education centers. The foundation has hired an early learning director to develop a website listing area providers.
Lisa Walter, who has taught infants and toddlers and advocated for quality care and education for young children, will also work to address staff shortages and low wages in the field.
The foundation awarded grants to Fuzzy Bear Ministry Preschool and Daycare in Ladoga, Rainbows & Rhymes Preschool at First United Methodist Church and Hand in Hand Creative Learning at First Christian Church.
Rainbows & Rhymes and Hand in Hand were partners in the foundation’s Child Care Deserts Grant program.
Fuzzy Bear will use the funding to improve ventilation in the building and add or modify windows and doors. The money will also support leveling the sloped sanctuary floor so that it can be used as a classroom.
At Rainbows & Rhymes, the funding will help make up for tuition lost during the coronavirus pandemic. The center, which provides all-day care for preschoolers, is rapidly growing. Enrollment currently stands at 37 children, up from about 20 in January, said Cynda Mellish, who serves on the facility’s board. The facility has 56 seats.
The center is one of the few local providers to accept scholarships from the state’s Build, Learn and Grow program serving children of essential workers.
Hand in Hand will use the funding to add playground equipment for infants and toddlers and an outdoor double paint panel for art work.
“It’s basically extending our classrooms to the outdoors,” director Meredith Boaz said.
The foundation partnered this grant cycle with the Montgomery County United Fund, which awarded $60,000 in another round of COVID-19 economic relief grants to agencies. The funding came from Lilly Endowment Inc.
Grants were awarded to the Boys & Girls Club of Montgomery County for a math and reading enrichment program, the Salvation Army of Montgomery County for financial assistance checks and the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau to support the CASA, JUMP Mentoring and Alternative School programs.
Funding remains available for eligible agencies. More information is available at montgomeryunitedfund.org.
Other agencies that received grants from the foundation include:
• Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County — $31,500 for a new transport vehicle and building security equipment
• Crawfordsville Main Street — $31,750 for the community wayfinding project
• New Market Elementary PTO/South Montgomery Community School Corp. — $40,000 for outdoor science, technology, engineering, arts and math space
• Cummins Behavioral Health Systems — $5,000 for trust based relational interventions training for two clinicians to serve youth experiencing trauma
• North Montgomery Community School Corp. — $9,885 for the student health and welfare fund serving students lacking access to medical care, medications, vision and dental needs and mental health services