Avedis Foundation approves grants for 20 agencies, organizations.

The board of directors of the Avedis Foundation has announced grants in excess of $2.1 million to numerous organizations in Pottawatomie County. The foundation approved 20 grants to benefit organizations in Pottawatomie County and surrounding communities.

“We are excited to be able to assist various nonprofits, schools and municipalities throughout our county,” said Michelle Briggs, President and CEO of Avedis Foundation. “As the foundation completed our initial grant cycle, we saw varied and numerous needs throughout the county. We look forward to seeing the impact these dollars will have in our communities,” Briggs added.

Multi-level collaboration generates sizeable grant to improve child well being outcomes

Among the grants approved by Avedis Foundation were several that represented a unique, multi-level collaboration of local and state agencies, in partnership with four southern Pottawatomie schools, aimed at increasing efforts to improve child well being outcomes in Pottawatomie County.

Those agencies include the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, Oklahoma State Department of Human Services, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Gateway to Prevention, Youth and Family Services and Red Rock Behavioral Health.

The grant, which totaled $410,084.00, will provide critically needed resources to allow staffing of key health and counseling positions to serve public schools in the communities of Asher, Maud, Wanette and Macomb. The grant will also provide funding for proven and effective programs like Parents As Teachers and Parent Child Interactive Therapy. A sustainability plan, outlined in the collaborative grant request, will enable the partner providers to continue providing services in the future.

Funds from the multi-level request were granted as follows:

$ 57,084 to Red Rock Behavioral Health for a Licensed Professional Counselor;

$104,000 to Gateway to Prevention for a Substance Abuse counselor and a certified Parent Child Interactive Therapy program;

$68,000 to Youth and Family Services for a coordinator position;

$181,000 to Asher Public Schools for the half-time salary of a school-based social worker (funds to be matched by DHS to create a full-time position), Parents As Teachers parent educator, School Health Nurse in cooperation with the State Health Department, and Asher playground improvements;

Additional grants announced

$5,800 to C-Bar Horsemanship through Shawnee Community Foundation for Horse Tales, an equine-based literacy based program, to be delivered at Shawnee’s Horace Mann Elementary and to obtain Special Olympics Equestrian Coach Certification;

$145,000 to Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club to purchase an interactive system to address health and wellness, software for ACT preparation, and facility upgrades to accommodate rising enrollment;

$6,000 to TJS Spirithorse Therapeutic Riding Center to deliver the equine-based literacy program called Horse Tales to rural schools in Pottawatomie County;

$110,500 to Shawnee Public Schools including $21,000 for the Parents As Teachers program and $89,500 security camera installation at the high school, middle school, elementary schools and early childhood center;

$30,000 to the Pioneer Library System to develop a rotating book collection to serve rural schools in Pottawatomie County;

$60,098 to Pleasant Grove Public School for the Get Fit! Pilot Project to provide a research-based health program for Pre-K through 8th grade students that will serve as a model for duplication in Pottawatomie County Schools;

$150,000 to the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art for Visual Thinking Strategies training for teachers, and a special exhibition sponsorship;

$5,500 to South Central Industries for wheelchair swings and picnic tables for the Dream Park being developed to serve South Central clients;

$105,000 to the YMCA of Shawnee including $70,000 for a licensed After school Program in the Dunbar Heights community and $35,000 for a pavilion, shade structures, and ADA access for outdoor areas at the YMCA building;

$4,837 to Mission Shawnee for a two-door commercial freezer;

$28,964 to McLoud Public Schools for a security system and audio/video master station;

$270,000 to St. Anthony’s Shawnee Hospital for a Community Wellness Education coordinator who will oversee community-wide collaboration in the areas of health and wellness;

$160,000 to Family Promise for facility improvements to the Day Center that serves as a caring and dignified environment for mentoring and self-sufficiency training.

In response to the announcement of a grant in excess of $60,000, Pleasant Grove Public School superintendent Tyler Bridges said, “With the generous funding given by the Avedis Foundation, we will be able to put into motion our Get Fit! physical education program. We are expecting to see great benefits from the equipment, curriculum and training our school will receive and we are very excited about what we will be able to offer our students.”

Paula Waters, Avedis Foundation Program Director, recognized the outstanding work of the grant recipients. “Avedis Foundation is honored to acknowledge the hard work and collaborative efforts of the nonprofits, civic organizations, and schools in Pottawatomie County who are on the front lines of making our communities a better place to live, work, and raise a family. These deserving organizations are to be commended for their passion, commitment, and resourcefulness,” Waters said.

Earlier this fall, Avedis Foundation awarded a matching challenge grant of $616,600.00 for the Shawnee Municipal Pool Project – half of the $1.2 million remaining to complete the fundraising under way for the pool and related projects, to be open in 2014.

Following the announcement of grants to be awarded by Avedis Foundation, Briggs noted, “The name ‘Avedis’ means ‘one who brings glad tidings,’ or, ‘the bearer of good news.’ We are happy to be the bearer of this good news.”