The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation recently mailed grant checks from the Detlev and Mary Ellen Preissler Fund for the Arts, Music, Design, and Nature. Twelve Eastern Panhandle nonprofits received grants ranging from $2,325 to $10,000.
Several general support grants were awarded, while others focused on specific programs or projects ranging from an outdoor teaching space with a living roof at Potomac Valley Audubon Society’s Cool Spring Preserve to Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries “Martinsburg Rocks!” concert series in collaboration with the Tony M Music and Arts Foundation.
“We are delighted to be able to award these grants to so many worthy organizations,” stated EWVCF Executive Director, Michael Whalton. “Until now we haven’t had the resources to provide this kind of support for programs focused on the arts and nature.”
Just over $100,000 in grants were presented to the twelve nonprofits, and nearly $49,000 in grants will soon be awarded to Eastern Panhandle schools for art, music, theatre, design, and nature programs and projects. The advisors who recommended the grants were impressed with the quality of the applications and summer programs that received funding are already gearing up to put the grants to good use.
In Morgan County, the BlackCat Music Cooperative, Morgan Arts Council, and Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center will all be able to provide expanded programs for children thanks to the grants they received. BlackCat will be using their grant to provide stipends to their volunteer workers. “Over the years, our programs and events have grown in size and complexity. […] The level of effort and time required to plan and execute these events is above and beyond what we can expect from even our most generous volunteers,” wrote Executive Director Janet Gauthier regarding the stipends. They will also use it for publicity, props, and music gear to support three community performance events in 2022. “Our experience confirms that these public events attract new kids and adult mentors to our impactful youth empowerment programs,” Gauthier said.
Morgan Arts Council will use their grant to host their 2022 Visual Arts Summer Camp and a nature haiku program in Morgan County Schools in 2022 and 2023. “MACs youth programs are designed and focused on boosting academic achievement across Science, [Technology], Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum by injecting arts as a learning tool,” wrote Executive Director Thom Rubel. At this year’s summer camp entitled “Join the African Safari!,” campers aged 6-14 will learn about the animals one might meet on an African Safari and their environments, and will then make a variety of crafts. The Nature Haiku classes will have students take nature walks and record words that describe their experiences. They will then take those words and write haikus, and then have the opportunity to create art works based on those haikus.
Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center has expanded in many areas recently, including their program offerings and the number of campers served. They have also developed adult learning programs. In 2021, demand for Wind Dance’s offerings greatly increased due to their outdoor programs. Director/Environmental Educator Leslie Milbourne-Devine reported that the center has had to develop wait lists for hopeful campers. Through this grant, the organization will be able to increase staff numbers and allow more students to “explore nature with hands-on activities to learn about Earth and how it works,” as Milbourne-Devine puts it.
The Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation (EWVCF) was established in 1995 to help donors create permanent endowments to provide grants and scholarships throughout the region. Since its inception, EWVCF has awarded $13.7 million, including $1 million in 2021 alone. The Community Foundation now holds more than 260 endowed funds with assets of just over $38 million and it is the leading steward of philanthropic giving in the region. EWVCF works with a wide range of nonprofit organizations providing funding for projects from human welfare and scholarships to affordable housing and natural resources conservation; youth and education to animal welfare and historic preservation, and much more. For information visit www.EWVCF.org, or contact EWVCF Executive Director Michael Whalton at firstname.lastname@example.org , 304-264-0353.