The Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation recently announced 19 recipients of $36,363 in grants to local nonprofit organizations. The foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million to local charitable organizations through its competitive grants program since it began awarding grants in 2005.

"Through the years, we've applied our resources and expertise to solving the most pressing problems in our community," said Jim Bethel, foundation chair. "We've funded projects that provide food for families in need, shelter for the homeless, funding to help preserve history and greenspaces and so much more. These projects serve the greater good and contribute to the quality of life of everyone who lives or works here in Whitfield County."

Among the spring grant cycle's grant recipients, two projects focused on greenspace development and improvement. The foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Civitan Club of Dalton to enhance the pocket park at the corner of West Crawford and Ridge sreets. Dalton State College also received a $1,000 grant to purchase tools and supplies needed to expand the Roadrunner Trail System.

"The new 2.5-mile trail will be called the 'Ridge Trail,'" said Margaret Venable, Dalton State College president. "The new trail will ascend Rocky Face Ridge, then run along the ridge top passing section of stone walls built by Confederate soldiers defending Dalton during the Civil War. "

Venable noted that the trail will connect to the existing foot path network and will be open to students, faculty and the public.

Another grant will help assess the extent of the food insecurity problem among Northwest Georgia children.

"We've heard a statistic that over 25,000 children in Northwest Georgia still don't know where their next meal will come from," said Bethel. "In our effort to better understand the issue, we awarded a $4,000 grant to the Northwest Georgia Food Bank to research and analyze the problem. We will look at the results of their study and work together to develop possible solutions."

Bethel noted the study will pinpoint existing Saturday snack pack programs operating in the public schools across the region and highlight schools that do not have a snack pack program partner.

"As we disseminate the results of the study, we envision churches and other organizations adopting schools to help address the issue of childhood hunger," Bethel said. "That's our hope."

Other organizations receiving spring grants from the Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation include:

• Alzheimer's Association: A $1,750 grant to help convene an Alzheimer's committee and work group in Dalton to identify a promotoro to help provide outreach to the Hispanic/Latino community in Northwest Georgia.

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Gordon, Murray, & Whitfield Counties: A $2,500 grant to help renovate two rooms where youth will work on workforce development and literacy projects.

• City of Refuge (Dalton): A $1,000 grant to supply furnishings and books for the reading nook and library in their Youth and Education Center.

• Dalton State College: A $2,500 grant to help fund their Dream Boldly Conference, an event that helps student learn how to fund college educations and understand resources available to them.

• Dalton-Whitfield Family Connection: A $2,000 grant to help fund Dalton/Whitfield/Murray Teen Maze, an event where students in tenth grade learn the impact their choices make in their lives and the lives of others (especially pertaining to drug and alcohol use, texting while driving, teen dating and violence, and other unlawful activities).

• Dalton Organization of Churches United for People (DOC-UP): A $1,000 grant to help provide financial assistance to Whitfield County residents in crisis.

• Eastbrook Middle Robotics (EMS): A $2,000 grant to help with costs associated with the Razorback International Competition, a qualifying robotics tournament for the Tennessee Valley/Northwest Georgia region.

• John W. Looper Jr. Speech and Hearing Clinics: A $4,000 grant to help purchase VitalStim equipment to help treat patients with swallow disorders.

• Leadership Dalton-Whitfield Alumni Association/Chamber Foundation: A $1,000 grant to commission a mural to be painted on a wall of the Oakwood Café in historic downtown.

• NIMBY: A $500 grant to purchase food for the Saturday snacks program at Valley Point Elementary School.

• Northwest Georgia College and Career Academy: A $2,000 grant that helped the FIRST Robotics Team travel to Texas to participate in the World Robotics Championship.

• Northwest Georgia Council, Boy Scouts of America: A $600 grant to purchase a kayak for campers at Camp Sidney Dew.

• Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center: A $3,000 grant to help the organization host Camp High Hopes, a camp that serves 50 children who have been victims of domestic violence.

• Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church: A $500 grant to purchase food for their Saturday Snack Pack program that serves Pleasant Grove Elementary students who are on the free or reduced lunch program.

• Soul Station Ministries: A $500 grant to purchase food from the Chattanooga Food Bank to distribute to people in need in Whitfield County.

• St. Mark's Preschool: A $1,500 grant to help offer scholarships to children with special needs so they can attend preschool.

The Dalton-Whitfield Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, conducts two grant cycles each year -- spring and fall. The foundation's main focus is working with individuals and families throughout Northwest Georgia to simplify and enhance giving, estate and tax planning by offering a variety of funds.

The foundation also promotes charitable giving by connecting people to nonprofits and civic projects that may be of interest to them and helping them design legacy projects. To learn more about the foundation, contact David Aft, president of the foundation, at (706) 275-9117.

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