Foundation awards $1.3 million in grants

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NEWARK – As the Licking County Humane Society began to grow and expand, Executive Director Lori Carlson said they needed help to organize all the volunteers who were coming through their doors.

During one week, she said they usually have about 75 to 100 volunteer visits.

To help defer the cost of hiring a volunteer coordinator, the humane society applied for a community grant through the Licking County Foundation.

The foundation recently approved $1.3 million in grants to nonprofit organizations in Licking County, which includes $579,781 in community grant money.

The society and other community organizations that received grants gathered at the Denison Art Space in Newark Wednesday to celebrate the difference this money will make in the community.

“We’re here today to celebrate the impact of philanthropy and the impact of our nonprofit organizations in Licking County,” Foundation Director Connie Hawk said. “And just really celebrating all the great things that both of those entities allow us to do to provide opportunity for a community, but also to provide emergency services and support emerging needs.”

Hawk said some of the foundation’s funds are reflective of donors’ wishes and are used to support specific causes. Others funds are unrestricted and are used for these community grants.

Carlson said the foundation has also helped in the past when the society was building a new shelter, and helped to lower costs of animal adoptions for senior citizens.

“They’ve been a great partner with us, and we always try to tell people that we don’t just serve animals, we serve families and animals, and a lot of our programming does incorporate both animals and people,” Carlson said. “The foundation has been wonderful and seen that vision in supporting us.”

Carlson said at any time they have about 100 animals at the shelter, which usually includes about 40 dogs and 60 cats.

With so many volunteers coming through their doors, Carlson said they didn’t have any concrete schedule for volunteers before their coordinator was hired.

Carlson said the coordinator organizes the volunteers, and also provides training and orientation for new volunteers.

They received a grant of $8,000 earlier this year after applying for it in the fall.

Their volunteer coordinator, Susanna Snyder, has been with them for about one year.

“She’s brought a tremendous amount of worth to the organization, as well as to her position,” Carlson said.

Hawk said these funds are important for investing in the future of the community and said she is humbled to be a steward of the generosity of donors.

“We invest in so many different things that make this community so special, and I think that’s the major thing,” Hawk said. “It’s great to be able to put back into our community every year.”

Hawk said it’s important to be involved in our community, and even those who can’t give monetarily can also help the foundation through volunteer work, such as serving on a scholarship review committee.

“It’s really easy to give to the Licking County Foundation,” Hawk said. “Our donors come from every walk of life, from every generation. The gifts are large and the gifts are small.”

Hawk said the foundation helps to make Licking County special and said the important part is the community coming together.

“That’s really what we’re celebrating tonight, is that everybody coming together and collaborating to carry out our donors wishes and to improve the community,” Hawk said.

slmurray@gannett.com

Found in The Newark Advocate March 1, 2017

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