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Macon Commissioners approve $75,000 to area nonprofits

The Macon County Board of Commissioners approved $75,000 in funding to non-profits serving the needs of citizens within the county during the April board meeting. The funding, which is allocated annually to the Community Funding Pool by commissioners, is intended to fill funding gaps for non-profits that provide services that otherwise might not be available to citizens in Macon County. 

The Bascom in Highlands was approved for $311 for a newly established partnership with Macon County Schools STEM Program. The funding will support an annual Macon STEM Fair where Macon County students will be invited to learn about the Bascom’s Photography Artist in Residence and participate in hands-on photography exercises. The funding will be used to purchase supplies, a software subscription, and travel. The Bascom alsoeceived funding in 2021 to support the photography program. 

The Franklin Amateur Swim Team applied for a grant in the amount of $5,000 to cover the cost for swimmers and coaches to attend the Junior Olympics that will be held in Greensboro, NC this summer. The funding will cover the cost of the teams’ registration to AAU to participate in the swim meet as well as a swim cap, hotel, and gas money. According to the grant application, $5,000 would not cover the total financial need, but would provide assistance to allow more swimmers to participate. With additional funds available within the Community Funding Pool, the task force voted to increase the swim team’s grant amount to $6,905. 

The Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust requested $3,500 to support the “Kids in Nature” environmental education program for children and families. The total program budget is $37,500 and the HCLT has already received $20,750 from other grant sources. The funding will be used to cover operating costs such as the salary of the program’s Education and Outreach Coordinator. Like the swim team request, with additional funding available, the task force voted to increase HCLT’s grant amount to $5,404.  

The International Friendship Center located in Highlands requested $10,000 to be used for the pantry which supports residents in need on the Plateau. The organization’s largest expense are staff and purchasing food for distribution. While the pantry partners with MANNA FoodBank for many food supplies, the pantry regularly depletes that resource and needs additional supplies to help those in need in the community. The International Friendship Center was granted $6,571. 

Macon County Care Network requested $2,000 to help support food costs associated with the organization’s hunger relief facility. The organization’s food costs are expected to exceed $70,000, as the need for food distribution increased during COVID19. The task force increased CareNet’s grant allocation to $3,905. 

Appalachian Animal Rescue requested grant funding to complete the renovation of the old shelter in order to expand the facility’s capacity by including a much needed intake facility The overall cost of the renovation is projected to be $100,000 which included a new roof, new flooring, refurbished kernels and additional new kennels. The task force provided AARC with a grant for $5,238. 

The Macon Medication Assistance Program requested $10,000 to cover costs of medication for residents as the cost of medication continues to increase. MMAP is anticipating a $22,849 increase in expenses in the coming year, largely attributed to the increase in medicines as well as nearly doubling the number of people the program is anticipated to serve. Without MMAP, many residents would have no way to afford needed medications. MMAP serves residents in Macon County who meet income guidelines to provide life saving medications that might not otherwise be obtained. The MMAP was provided $5,095 in grant funding from the task force. 

The Macon Program for Progress Parents as Teachers Program was approved for a $10,000 grant to assist in operational costs to carry out the program. The majority of the funds will be utilized for direct client services through group connections and home visitations. 

Reach of Macon County was approved for a grant in the amount of $10,000 to support direct client services. The funds will not only be used as a vital matching took, but used to ensure that REACH is able to provide direct client services to victims and survivors of domestically violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. 

Read2Me of Macon County requested $5,000 to continue providing the Dolly Parton Imagine Library for children birth to age 5 in Macon County. The program sends one book each month to all enrolled children in Macon County. The average cost to provide the program is $30 per child. There are currently around 1,000 children in Macon County enrolled in the program and the funding from the Community Funding Pool will cover the cost of 166 children in the program. The task force increased read2Me’s grant $6,905 to expand the program and cover additional children enrolling. 

The Special Liberty Project requested $10,000 from the community funding pool to support a veteran spouse support equine retreat services. The funding would be used to cover the cost for special trained staff and equine care & training for an entire year. The program is offered to veteran spouses in Macon County to address needs of the historically underserved areas of mental health and focused care. The task force approved $5,333 ing rant funding for the program. 

Teen Challenge of the Smokies was awarded $9,333, just shy of their $10,000 grant request. The funding will support Teen Challenge’s automotive vocational training program, which provides training to students of the recovery program. The funding will cover the cost of a mechanic to supervise the program, which serves an an integral part of the students’ recovery journey. 

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