Grants enhance: Foundation helping agencies help others

Published 1:48 pm Tuesday, May 30, 2023

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The Davie Community Foundation announced its first round of 2023 Community Grants in April.

Fifteen grants totaling $211,320 were awarded to Davie organizations. In honor of its 35th anniversary year, board and staff members personally delivered checks to recipient organizations.

A second round of grants will be selected in August (deadline Aug. 1).

Three grants were awarded to organizations applying to the foundation for the first time.

Blue Door Restore was successful in obtaining non-profit status in December of last year in time to submit their first grant application in January. The organization was established to provide support for children ages birth to 21 in adoptive, foster and kinship placements.

Blue Door Restore will work with community members to provide this service free. The $4,300 grant will allow them to set up a resource closet for those they serve. Foundation board member Alice Sineath delivered the grant check to program founders Laura Martin and Amelia Robertson.

• Habitat for Humanity has been revived, reorganized and is expanding its work in Davie County.

The Critical Home Repair Program has been launched. Households served by this program must earn below 80% of the area median income and demonstrate they are unable to pay for vital repairs. Targeted homeowners will be seniors over the age of 65, and individuals coping with disabilities or medical challenges.

Habitat was awarded a $10,000 grant to support this initiative. These funds will be used to repair the homes of at least two low-income households in Davie and prevent further structural deterioration in others caused by deferred maintenance.

Habitat will also provide exterior accessibility modifications, such as wheelchair ramps and handrails, to address mobility challenges for one or possibly both of the selected homeowners.

Foundation board member Davin Brown delivered the Foundation check to Jessie Elmore and Dwayne Thompson.

• RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls is often referred to as “The Bullhole” by Davie natives, but many more in our community are beginning to discover this hidden gem along the South Yadkin River.

The park’s goal for 2023 is to focus on enhancing the visitor experience through installation and/or enhancement of park amenities. Since 2020, visitation and patronage has more than doubled and Google Analytics ranked RiverPark number one in time spent on site for all park types in Davie and Rowan counties.

It is not unusual, especially on the weekends, to see a full parking lot before noon with lines forming at the gate.

The $24,655 grant will support the addition of a new shelter with tables and grills. Melissa O’Connor, foundation senior program officer, presented the check to RiverPark President Paul Moore.

• Also in the area of recreation, the foundation awarded the second part of a two-year capacity building grant to Farmington Community Association. The $20,000 grant assists with training and additional hours for the executive director.

A second grant of $5,000 was also awarded to the Farmington Community Association. An increased interest in pickleball and the need for outdoor courts in our area led their board to seek grant funding to convert the existing tennis court into two pickle ball courts.

Currently there are no outdoor public pickle ball courts in our area, and only seven indoor courts combined at the Davie Community Park and Davie Family YMCA.

The courts at Farmington will be available for public use during the hours that the Center/Park are open. Jane Simpson, foundation president & CEO, presented the check to Allyson Sawtelle, Farmington Community Center Board President.

• Three of the grants awarded in the focus area of Food/Poverty, were made to organizations the foundation knows well. Each has been serving the Davie community for years.

Family Promise of Davie County received $15,000 to shelter families at their Day Center.

To make sheltering families at the Day Center work, Family Promise will relocate some staff offices to open more space for families. The full-time case manager’s office will remain onsite at the Day Center, as this staff works hands-on with families.

In 2022, the average length of shelter stay was 122 days and 90% of all program graduates are still stably housed one year later. It is not only the goal to get families into housing, but for them to remain self-sufficient. Family Promise anticipates serving six families in the shelter program in 2023.

They are limited to serving two families at a time due to space constraints. The small participant size allows them to spend ample time addressing the root cause of homelessness for each family, build trust, and tailor services to meet their needs.

Board member Davin Brown presented the check to Lisa Foster Reynolds, Family Promise Executive Director.

• The Advocacy Center of Davie received a $15,000 grant to provide emergency financial assistance for Housing, Utilities, and Car or Home Repair. The mission of the Advocacy Center is to work with low-income community members and to provide support after a crisis or emergency, helping prevent these families from being evicted.

The Advocacy Center is thorough and methodical in determining eligibility for assistance. They understand the importance of being good stewards of the funds they have, which is why they consider specific eligibility criteria for every applicant. First and foremost, applicants must live in Davie County. Jane Simpson visited the Advocacy Center to present a check to Allie Fruits, executive director.

• A Storehouse for Jesus received $7,500 to supplement the cost of operating the food distribution program. In general, Storehouse provides one week of food to income eligible families (average family of 4) at each visit. They primarily serve residents of Davie. However, when a non-resident has an immediate need for food, Storehouse supplies it. Storehouse then assists the non-resident in identifying another source for future needs. They want no one to go hungry.

In 2022, using a combination of donated and purchased food items, Storehouse volunteers were able to assemble and distribute 12,612 one week supplies of food. With an average cost for one week of $6.01, per person the $7,500 grant will provide one week of food for approximately 1,200 individuals. Davin Brown presented the grant check to Debbie Crutchfield, Storehouse for Jesus Executive Director.

• As it has been in prior years, the largest investment made by the Davie Communtiy Foundation was in the area of Education.  The seven grants awarded in 2023 total $109,865.

Jane Simpson presented a grant check for $3,000 to Katie Burton, Counselor at Cornatzer Elementary School. Katie applied for funds to purchase materials for a Multi-Tiered System for Behavior Support.

All students at Cornatzer learn behavior expectations and skills consistent with their grade level needs and development. During the 2023-2024 school year, this system will be implemented through whole class counseling lessons, traditionally referred to as guidance class. Every student will have Tier 1 instruction every other week and lessons are designed to address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs at each grade level. Materials for Tiers 2 and 3 will also be purchased with grant funds.

• John Marshall, Digital Teaching and Learning Specialist for Davie County Schools received a grant for $12,000 in support of the STEM Pipeline Summer Camp for rising 7th and 8th grade students.

By providing programming that focuses on science and math standards, skills, and concepts that students typically struggle with, the camp increases the number of participants registering for and successfully completing STEM-related courses and CTE pathways.

Each of the two weeks of camp have a theme and defined learning outcomes. Students focus on the Engineering Design Process, collaborative group work, and elements of scientific writing. Guest speakers are invited to work with camp participants and lead them through activities that introduce them to the possible classes, pathways, and careers that are available to them as they continue from middle to high school and beyond.

Student volunteers from the STEM Center help with activities and speak with participants about their high school experience. Each week ends in a field trip aligned to the theme for the week and may include campus visits to local colleges or community colleges, local industries, and/or locations with a science or environmental focus.

• Davie 4-H received $5,365 for “The Magic of Electricity” curriculum for all fourth-grade students and “Winged Wonders” curriculum for all second-grade students.

The Magic of Electricity Curriculum introduces fourth graders to electricity and magnetism through safe and hands-on electricity experiments. Electricity is one of the hardest concepts for youth to understand but the curriculum’s 14 lessons allow youth to physically apply the terminology they learn and engineer ways for them to test and observe electrical and magnetic principles.

The Winged Wonders curriculum allows second graders to learn about the importance of insects and their life cycles by observing the development of painted lady butterflies. They learn about the butterfly life cycle and along the way, students explore the roles of insects in our daily lives both in beneficial ways and as pests.

Jane Simpson delivered the check to Lisa Crowder, county Extension support specialist.

• Smart Start of Davie received a grant for $9,500 for the Nurturing Parent Program, which has exceeded initial goals and served more than 220 parents and children since its start in 2017. The project serves parents/caregivers of children prenatal to 5 years of age. It engages parents who are striving to be their children’s first teacher.

The philosophy of the program focuses on five major constructs to educate new parents which include: 1) the expectations of children, 2) empathy, 3) discipline, 4) family roles, and 5) power and independence. The program maintains a zero tolerance for violence and emphasizes positive parenting practices with each family. As an organization serving the earliest learners, it is important for Smart Start of Davie County to continue to share the fact that 90% of the brain is developed before a child reaches the age of 5 years old. The Nurturing Parenting Program improves positive parenting practices with each family that participates.

• Jane Simpson presented a grant check for $25,000 to Becca Lard White, education center manager for COGNITION of Davie. The grant represents year 3 of 4 for capacity building of their organization.  COGNITION is an Interactive Children’s Museum and Makerspace in downtown Mocksville. COGNITION promotes exploration, education, and innovation in Davie County and surrounding communities. They accomplish it by creating opportunities for people of all ages to play, learn, and grow.

In addition to the educational benefits and experiences that COGNITION provides for people of all ages, it also provides visibility to other local nonprofits and businesses through partnerships and event collaborations.

COGNITION hosted almost 2,000 exhibit visitors in 2022 in addition to 25 school field trips for elementary school children. As capacity grows, so does the ability to serve.

• Foundation Treasurer Phil Fuller presented a grant check to Ignite Davie managing partner, Carolyn McManamy. The check represented two awards: $20,000 for year 5 of a 5-year commitment and an additional $35,000 grant to help finish the fundraising for Ignite Davie in honor of the foundation’s 35th anniversary.

The college promise program began with the Class of 2020 and 239 students have participated. In fall 2023, Ignite Davie will add four short-term training programs at Davidson-Davie Community College: Electrical, HVAC, Nursing Assistant, and Phlebotomy. These programs will get workers trained and, in the local workforce, more quickly.

Statistics from the 2023 Spring semester show that 87% of the 129 Ignite Davi students successfully completed grade and course completion requirements; 44 made the Dean’s List; 25 finished with a 4.0; and 22 graduated! Seven more students are expected to graduate over the summer.

“The Davie Community Foundation will continue its investments in our community for many years to come thanks to the one hundred and one Community Endowment Funds opened by residents who chose to make a positive difference in Davie County,” said Simpson. “They truly are investing in our future now.”

To learn more, contact Simpson at (336) 753-6903 or or visit