Many community programs received an early Christmas gift this year.
According to a news release sent by The Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, the foundation's board of directors approved the award of 26 grants worth $300,010 for various community outreach organizations in the Augusta area.
The 10-year-old foundation assists organizations in six counties - Richmond, Columbia, Burke, McDuffie, Aiken and Edgefield, said R. Lee Smith Jr., the president and CEO of the foundation.
"In 1997, we had an anonymous donor who gave us $1.5 million unrestricted and in 1998, that same donor gave another $1 million," Mr. Smith said. "Later on, we found out it was the Augusta National Golf Club."
Unrestricted fund gifts have no restrictions on how they are distributed, which gives the foundation flexibility to address the immediate needs of the community.
Twelve volunteer panels made up of 70 local community leaders evaluate organizations who request money. The deadline to request funding is July 31. The panels then have a 30-day period to perform a site visit and turn in their recommendations. The board of directors then approve committee recommendations during the first week of December, Mr. Smith said.
Organizations that have benefited from the unrestricted fund grant money this year include the Augusta Housing Authority Child Development Center Inc., The Augusta Players, Augusta State University's Born to Read Literacy Center, Augusta Urban Ministries and Easter Seals East Georgia Inc.
Hazel Langrall, the program manager for The Central Savannah Land Trust, said she is excited to receive a $5,000 grant from the foundation.
"I think it's excellent," she said. "The grant is going toward helping out an area of preserved land along Rocky Creek, which is a relatively low-income area, and The Community Foundation support allows us to use the property as an environmental tool to each kids. It will be great for the kids in the area to have an amenity in their own backyards."