Black Belt Community Foundation awards $200,000 in grants to bolster programs throughout 12 counties

The Black Belt Community Foundation awarded $200,000 in grants to fund programs throughout 12 counties located in the Black Belt region to bolster efforts in arts or community-based programs.  The awards were presented in a ceremony at Wallace Community College, Selma, AL, on Saturday, June 14, 2014, to recipients who gathered for a day of celebration and fellowship.

“The Black Belt Community Foundation has awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants throughout our 12 counties since 2005,” said Felecia Jones, President of the BBCF.  It is gratifying to see we had nearly 130 organization and community leaders who work hard every day to transform our region gather together and attend the ceremony, which is a vibrant celebration of our mission.”

This past March, organizations located in Bullock, Choctaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Wilcox counties were welcomed to apply for community or art oriented grants.  The BBCF awarded $100,000 in grants to each area of focus.  Below is a list of the recipients, the amount of the grant, and a brief description on the purpose of the program:

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Bullock County Pee-Wee Football Foundation:  $2,000 to support focusing and training boys ages 5-13 for their participation in the Central Alabama Youth Football League’s 2014 season.

Tutoring for Academic Progress (TAP) Computer Training Center:  $2,500 to support computer education training for individuals who need employment; senior citizens interested in basic computer literacy; and internet access to low-income adults and students in communities with no libraries.



Butler Youth Football League:  $2,500 to support new equipment to provide youth with a lasting and safe experience as they acquire a solid foundation in learning the game of football in a fundamentally sound manner.

Town if Lisman: $2,000 to support the Town of Lisman Library and Technology Lab in equipping a new computer lab with computers, wireless internet, and printing services to be utilized by citizens of all ages in the community served.



21st Century Youth:  $2,500 to support an annual summer camp that enhances the development of young community-focused leaders who have a collective vision to improve the quality of life for all people.

Black Belt Arts and Culture:  $2,000 to support a project that exposes youth and the community to Black Belt history outside the classroom through the formation and implementation of Black History Brigades in Selma and one other Black Belt city as project pilots.  Funds will help teach Black history at the community level to help build self-esteem of our youth and positively impact social ills in the community and raise grades in the classrooms.

Bridge Crossing Jubilee: $2,500 to support an outreach and education project to train teachers from Black Belt public schools on how to infuse the history of the Voting Rights Movement into the curricula at a workshop during the summer of 2014.

Dallas County Family Resource Center:  $2,000 to support an innovative project, Circles of Transformation, which increases the capacity of communities to address poverty by combining several disciplines including community organizing, coaching, grassroots leadership, goal setting, financial literacy, mentoring, peer-to-peer counseling and learning, and child and youth development.

McRae Learning Center:  $2,000 to support a program entitled, Healthy Food for Little Selmians, which is aimed at making an impact on our student’s food choices both at school and in their homes and increase their knowledge of food sources and local food production.

Selma Dallas County Public Library:  $2,500 to support Sensational Selma Summer, 2014, a nine-week summer program of art, music, and many other enlightening events for at-risk families who don’t have access to high quality events.

Trinity Lutheran Education Committee:  $2,000 to support Enrich, a summer academics program for grade K through 8 that annually helps students to grow academically, especially with the enhancement of reading readiness skills in addition to other areas as well.

YMCA of Selma-Dallas County:  $2,000 to support a Summer Adventure Camp that offers youth classes in swimming, exercise, arts and crafts and enrichment activities to help curb summer learning loss.



Girl Scout Troop 408:  $2,000 to support field trips and guided tours for youth to historic areas for guided tours to the King Center in Atlanta, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, the Rosa Parks Library and Museum in Montgomery, and the Tuskegee Airman Museum in Tuskegee.

Greene County Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.:  $2,000 to support activities for girls ages 11 – 14 that focus on their social and emotional development.

Greene County CPC:  $2,858 to support an after school tutorial program for middle school students that are referred by the principal.  Remediation assistance is provided and also issues related to truancy and conflict issues.

Greene County Foster Parents – Imagine Me:  $1,500 to support Gardening 101, a hands-on experiment with soil, seeds, plants, pest and things that goes with a garden.  Youth and adults will prepare a place for container gardens, work the soil, plant the seeds and set out plants that will become part of meals later on in the season.

Harambe Community Youth:  $2,500 to support a program that prepares young people from their junior high years through high school as leaders who will have an understanding of how a community functions and learn their current roles in the community.

New Horizons:  $2,300 to support technology programs where youth who don’t have computers in their homes are tutored on general computer skills. Also a health program is funded for nutritionists to come speak on healthy eating habits.  Free screenings will be part of the program as well.



Boys and Girls Club of West Alabama – Akron Unit:  $2,500 to support after school tutoring, positive social interaction and stable adult role models for at-risk youth around rural Alabama.

Hale County Library:  $2,400 to support the purchase of recording equipment to collect and preserve oral histories of Greenesboro residents and special storage for the equipment.



Collirene Volunteer Fire Department: $2,000 to support the purchase of an all-in-one printer, a Neat Desk filing system, and a desk-top computer for administrative use.

Esther’s Trumpet:  $2,500 to support the publication and county wide distribution of a free Lowndes County community newsletter to promote community news.

Hayneville/Lowndes County Library: $2,000 to support the acquisition and preservation of Genealogy materials to be made available to the public locally and regionally throughout the Black Belt.

Mosses Fire and Rescue Department: $2,752 to support purchasing two firefighter packages (coat/pants, helmet, hood, gloves, and boots) for volunteers.



Divine Inspirational Ministries:  $2,009 to support a program structured to provide the highest quality residential services for adults that have history of prolonged homelessness, poverty, and/or current living arrangements not conducive to abuse, negative decision making, and counterproductive behavior.

KEWLBEANS:  $2,000 to support a mission that enhances the welfare of the youth by exposing them to different aspects of biological, agricultural, and natural sciences not often taught in schools.

Louise O. Newman Center for Learning:  $2,000 to support SMART, a camp for kids ages K-8 to support learning in science, math, art, reading, and technology.

Student Affiliates of American Chemical Society:  $2,250 to support a program that educates youth through fun, hands-on approaches that will instill the desire of practicing “green” chemistry.

The Potter’s House:  $2,000 to support a tutoring program aimed at at-risk boys from the surrounding community between the ages of 8-18 teaching them educational and life skills conducive to success.

Too Good For Drugs Journalism:  $2,000 to support a program that provides the opportunity, training, and exposure for interested young journalists in the county to explore, research, write, edit, and publish articles for the local newspaper.

Tuskegee Macon County Amateur Athletic Association:  $2,000 to support a youth athletic program for ages 4-15 that focuses on social development, leadership development, and development of a positive work ethic in a family, community-oriented atmosphere.



Jefferson Community School Center:  $2,550 to support a continual beautification project to attract increased revenue from rental of the structure by the community for various events.



Uniontown Cares: $2,000 to support the completion of restoration work being done on the Uniontown Post Office, to continue the preservation of the history authenticity and structural integrity of the valuable one-story, one-room building.



Pickensville Community Center Council: $1,400 to support audio-visual equipment (television, portable sound system, DVD and VCR player) to help with more effective presentations and community events both inside and outside the community center.

Aliceville Museum, Inc.: $737 to support the production of in-house story boards in exhibits that showcase the museum’s extensive collection of period photographs.



Boyd Recreation and Community Association:  $2,019 to support acquiring a 501c3 designation from the IRS to use in fundraising, for plans to develop a design for the Boyd Community Center and to begin raising matching funds towards grants and loans needed to build our facility.

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/LAF:  $2,850 to support a five-day Forestry Camp that introduces students in basic forestry/natural resource concepts through classroom instruction and outdoor activities.

Gainesville Senior Citizens:  $2,500 to support programs that enrich the lives of senior adults with activities that promote healthy lifestyles within community-oriented events.

Panola Outreach:  $2,000 to support programs for senior citizens that help build up the Panola Community by helping to increase knowledge and behavioral change in the areas of medical education and youth and elderly assistance.



BAMA Kids, Inc.:  $2,675 to support programs whose mission is to improve the well-being of youth by combining structured life skills, educational and recreational activities, developing and promoting leadership, and involvement of youth and their parents that bring positive outcomes.  These funds are for the “Each One/Teach One” program for exceptional students.

Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts: $2,300 to support the Black Quilt Trail and the printing of promotional materials, signage, hospitality training, and development of an audio tour to develop strengthen economic development in the region through tourism.

Mazie L. Johnson Reading Initiative:  $2,000 to support a summer camp for youth ages 3-18 that provides workshops in creative writing, jewelry making, quilting, letter writing, reading comprehension, healthy eating habits, college prep classes, how-to workshops, and occasional tours.

Partners in Progress, Inc.:  $2,000 to support efforts to take meals to the elderly, disabled, and seniors in the county, and addressing issues related to eating habits.  Funds support the cost of travel, upkeep of vehicles and costs to assist those in need.

Snow Hill Community:  $2,000 to support continuing renovations on the building to assist the tutoring of students in a better environment and make it a structure more conducive to learning.

Town of Pine Hill:  $2,000 to support the adding of more amenities to an existing playground and walking track complex, including picnic tables, serving tables and a covered A-frame shelter.

Wilcox Area of Chamber of Commerce:  $1,900 to support costs to market and promote Wilcox County to enhance tourism in this rural, poverty-stricken area by drawing attention to its numerous attractions.

Wilcox County Public Library Foundation:  $1,000 to support the application process fee so as to be designated as 501 c3 status to enhance their ability to raise more funds.





Ponderosa Community Park:  $2,000 to support programs that provide opportunities for youth after school hours and during the summer months within a community and family friendly environment.

Tourism Council of Bullock County:  $2,000 to support the Red Door Theater Summer Camp to bring theatre education to the youth of Bullock County.



Ballet and Theatre Performing Companies:  $3,000 to support and maintain numerous on-going projects throughout the year, namely In-school classes, Adopt-A-Child for the Arts, and Upward Bound.

Glenda’s Embroidery & Design:  $2,000 to support the creation of unique embroidery and designs on work uniforms, tote bags, sport emblems, baby bags, clothing, athletic uniforms, school uniforms, and hats.

The Open Door:  $2,000 to support Introduction to Music classes, including group lessons on the piano, and learning the basics such as note reading, scales, basic rhythms and simple chords, and music performance.



21st Century Youth Leadership Project:  $3,000 to support three leadership camps that enhance the development of young community-focused leaders who have a vision and collective power to improve the quality of life for all people.

Alabama Tale Tellin’ Festival:  $3,000 to support and annual two-day festival and its mission to preserve oral history tradition of our area, strengthen the development of community, and bring nationally recognized professional storytellers to the area to increase cultural tourism in the county.

ArtsRevive Community Development Corporation:  $3,000 to support an exhibit of the photographs of Spider Martin, an Associated Press photographer, March 4-9, 2015, to commemorate  the 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March.

Black Belt and Central Alabama Housing:  $2,000 to support for a forum addressing community issues where youth can take raw materials of their lives and conflicts, and transform them into performances, providing a road map for change for themselves and their audiences.

McRae Learning Center:  $2,100 to support a program, Space Frontiers – Our Solar System and Beyond which will link science with theater and performance for pre-K through second grade students to reinforce the basic lessons about the science of astronomy.

Orrville Volunteer Fire Department:  $2,500 to support the West Dallas Antique Tractor, Car, Gas Engine and Craft Show, which allows volunteer fire fighters to go beyond answering 911 calls to bring our community together through the arts.

Selma Art Guild:  $2,300 to support their mission of providing art education for all ages and members of the community through weekly art classes, frequent workshops, art history lectures, monthly art exhibitions and receptions with artists, tours of studios, and occasional field trips to museums.

Selma Community Concert Association:  $3,000 to support Arts in Education, a program that provides tickets to live performances for 900 students in the city and county schools and clients from the Cahaba Center for Mental Health.

Trinity Lutheran Education Committee:  $2,000 to support their work to strengthen arts to youth in economic disadvantaged areas, support the purchase of piano books so children can learn basic music skills, and to set up musical learning centers to enhance musical arts.

Tyler Rose Organization:  $2,000 to support Art on a Shoestring, a project designed to expose at-risk students to the basic principles of art and art forms along with a visiting artist three times per week at the Brantley Elementary School.

YMCA Selma-Dallas County:  $2,000 to support a variety of artists who come to the YMCA to work with children who live in impoverished areas of the county.



Greene County Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.:  $2,000 to support activities that will expose the community to a combination of art categories such as performance arts and visual arts in a community with no museums or social outings.

Greene County CPC:  $3,000 to support a project that introduces students to “history makers” in the community to develop pride in themselves and their community.

Harambe Community Youth:  $2,500 to support a project where 200 students will engage a consultant from the Asa Hilliard Cultural Center so to obtain a more accurate presentation of the history of African Americans before their ancestors ended up in America.

Imagine Me Project of Greene County Foster Parents Association:  $2,000 to support a project, Books Galore, Storytelling & More, which introduces youth and adults to the art of writing a book, drawing pictures for the pages and designing the front and back covers.

Society of Folk Arts & Culture:  $3,000 to support the continuation of the production of the Black Belt Roots Festival, an annual event that celebrates the culture, traditions, and folkways of the West Alabama region.



Project Horseshoe Farm:  $3,000 to support and arts and crafts initiative that expands and enriches programs with the talents of their participants by offering a wider selection of crafts from painting to ceramic to knitting and more.



Lowndes Citizens United for Action:  $3,000 to support the 14th year for the Alabama Okra Festival, which offers various interdisciplinary artists, live music, and all kinds of food with an emphasis on canned local food.



Diaspora Production:  $2,000 to support a project that will recruit, train, and direct members of the community and cast for a stage play, Through The Years, which will enhance and showcase the rich arts and cultural history and traditions in the Black Belt.

Jubilee Film Festival:  $2,000 to support a three-day film festival showcasing the Civil Rights Movement and contemporary social issues as part of the Annual Bridge Crossing Jubilee in Selma, AL.

Tuskegee Repertory Theatre:  $3,000 to support a Cultural Heritage Season that includes 2-3 major theatrical productions that both reflects the culture of the African American citizens of historic Tuskegee/Macon County and provides creative opportunity for local artists to perform.



Demopolis Music Study Club: $2,000 to support the 100th Anniversary of the club with an event on October 2, 2014, that showcases music of all backgrounds for the public to enjoy.  Featured will be solo pianists, a choral ensemble, a local church choir, and the DHS marching band.

Friends of Gaineswood:  $2,000 to support an educational program that serves 4th through 6th graders studying Alabama history.  The multi-day program offers the participants activity stations consisting of demonstrations of traditional arts and crafts, as well as a tour Gaineswood

Jefferson Community School Center:  $2,000 to support the rental of a charter bus and tickets for children to attend the Rosa Park Museum, The Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dexter Avenue Parsonage, Civil Rights Museum, Browns Chapel, along with a trolley ride to enhance learning of the civil rights struggle.



Judson College: $2,000 to support the presentation of Dr. Billie Jean Young’s play entitled, Jimmy Lee, a series of vignettes that vividly portray the emotional climate and tension in Marion, AL, prior to the shooting of Jimmy Lee Jackson.

Linconite Club, Inc.:  $2,000 to support a project that will provide supervised performing arts activities and training in the areas of dance, music, and theatrical performances for both youth and adults.  Basic exercises to enhance physical fitness will also be incorporated.

West Perry-Marion Arts and Crafts Training Center:  $2,000 to support a project designed to revitalize and perpetuate arts and crafts, including quilting, hand knitting, crocheting, machine embroidery, and basic sewing skills.  Training for job opportunities will also take place.



Aliceville Museum, Inc.: $1,250 to support a professional artist who offers a workshop for students 8-16 to develop their artistic skills, understanding of basic art concepts, and build their confidence.



Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area:  $2,000 to support a project, The Children’s Patchwork History Project, designed to awaken children’s imaginations and help them discover history, community, and the culture and that it exists around them daily.

Coleman Center for Arts:  $2,000 to support a summer education program consisting of an intensive one week camp followed by periodic workshops that allows campers the opportunity to explore their creative talents through engaging projects through visual art, performance, creative writing, design, and culinary arts.

Friends of the Arts:  $2,790 to support a mixed media project, Baby Sea Turtle, with teaching by group and individual instructors that focus youth on how to create their own mixed media project.  The project is meant to increase self-esteem of participants.

Gainesville Senior Citizens; $1,500 to support activities for seniors citizens and the purchase of materials for arts and crafts program, making of their yearly Piggy Banks, quilting, and the making of pillows.

Sumter County Fine Arts Council:  $2,000 to support subsidizing the cost of bringing the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra to Sumter County for six daytime educational concert ensembles and one evening full-orchestral concert.

York Presbyterian Church:  $2,000 to support the funding of a harvest festival to celebrate Thanksgiving  at the York Presbyterian Church in York, AL, with a choir that will perform sacred music for the community.



BAMA Kids, Inc.:  $3,000 to support a program, The Rhythm In Us, which examines and teaches participants the role that rhythm has played in the lives of the African American people and its resilient and creative nature.

Black Belt Treasures Cultural Arts Center:  $2,000 to support numerous art programs, including summer camps, artist demonstrations, hands-on workshops, and a theater workshop that culminates in a community performance.

Camden Community Youth Development Center:  $2,000 to support the providing of musical training by certified teachers through musical instruments, visual arts, and vocal training for at-risk kids.

Lily Baptist Community Center & Youth Development, Inc.:  $2,000 to support Promoting Education through Art and Community Efforts (PEACE), a program that promotes the arts as a means to build peace and understanding and conflict resolution with the youth of the community.

Wilcox Art Works:  $2,000 to support the 4th Annual Wilcox ArtWorks Show, which strives to bring arts to one of the poorest counties in the U.S.  The support also enables organizers to increase more mediums in the show.

Wilcox County Presbyterian Board of National Missions:  $1,155 to support the Prairie School Museum Art Camp, which develops a family and community study by providing an interactive, three-fold offering of visual arts, performing arts and movement (including group sports and dance).

Wilcox Art Works:  $2,000 to support the 4th Annual Wilcox ArtWorks Show, which strives to bring arts to one of the poorest counties in the U.S.  The support also enables organizers to increase more mediums in the show in this case with visual arts.

The Black Belt Community Foundation’s mission it to forge a collective stream of giving – transforming our 12-county region and connecting those interested in having an impact in our area with the nonprofits that are making a difference today. Founded in 2005 with the idea that those living and working in the Black Belt best knew the area’s challenges and opportunities, the Black Belt Community Foundation actively puts needed resources into the region to make a lasting impact.

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