Foundation to award estimated $20,000 in grants

Published 10:16 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Partners Enhancing Education in Chilton County, the Chilton Education Foundation, received 34 applications to its grant program this year.

The grant committee is reviewing the applications and will make recommendations to the foundation board in January. Grants will be awarded in February.

Mickey Bates, chair of the foundation board, anticipates the foundation will award $20,000 in grants.

“Our purpose is to enhance the education of … all the students of the Chilton County school system to provide things above and beyond what is normally available through the school board itself,” Bates said.

Grant requests could range from maps and equipment for math and science projects to technology. Grant opportunities focus on supplemental materials and supplies for use in the classroom. Grants cannot be used for playground equipment or trips.

Bates said the basic classroom technology needs are met by the school system, so grants would be for “devices if its above and beyond the normal, everyday classroom application.”

The committee reads the applications to determine the benefit funding the request would have for students. Committee members have a variety of professional backgrounds.

“We award as many as we can with the funds we have available,” Bates said.

Grant applications for this year range from $350 to $1,500. Bates said the committee funds the grants “they think will have the most benefit to the most students.” To spread the funds among more classrooms, some grants may be partially funded.

“The sad part is we had requests for almost $28,000,” Bates said.

Funding for the grants comes from investments by the foundation and donations from businesses and individuals.

“We want education in Chilton County to be one of the top in the state, and it takes everyone in the county wanting that to make it happen,” Bates said.

The grant program is open to all public-school teachers in Chilton County, and there is not a limit to the number of grants one school can apply for. However, the foundation states in a donation letter, “All Chilton County schools receive an equal share of the grant funds available each year. This is based on the student enrollment of each school and the applications received from teachers in these schools.”

The program marked its 20th anniversary this year. After the 2017 grants are awarded, the foundation will have awarded about $500,000 since its inception.

Donations can be made to the foundation by mailing a check made out to Chilton Education Foundation to Post Office Box 225, Clanton, AL 35046. The foundation is a register 501(c)3 and donations are tax deductible.