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United Way Awards Venture Grants

The Bartlesville Regional United Way gave out $71,870 in 2015 Venture Grants at the Annual Meeting on May 18.

Each year, in addition to the funding provided to the agencies, BRUW issues competitive grants to other organizations meeting needs in the BRUW service area. Venture Grants are designed to either help new programs get off the ground or to expand existing programs. This year, the 2015 Venture Grants were awarded to 10 worthwhile programs in the local community.

The Boys and Girls Club of Nowata received a $5,000 Venture Grant for its Back Pack Food Program. This is the second year that program received a grant.  Food items are packed at the Club, and then sent to Nowata Elementary School on Friday, where they are sent home with children who are at risk of going hungry over the weekend.

Elder Care received a $10,000 grant for Understanding and Coping with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease: An Educational and Resource Development Program for Caregivers. Elder Care will develop an educational curriculum for caregivers, which will provide a better understanding of how to best serve those suffering from AD and PD. The program will also provide practical tools for home care workers and family caregivers to recognize early symptoms of AD and PD and an understanding of the treatment options that are available.

Family Promise of Washington County was awarded $10,000 to combat homelessness. According to the Washington County Wellness Initiative 2010 comprehensive community needs assessment, affordable housing and homelessness were reported as a significant community need. Families are hosted in churches overnight and have access to the Day Center, which provides a homelike atmosphere with a full time director onsite. Some guests are employed; others will work with the program director to find jobs, set goals and review the issues that created homelessness.

Hopestone Cancer Support Center of Bartlesville was given $2,820 for three different camps. The Men's Day will be an educational day on men's health, and Camp Hope provides a day of reflection and pampering for women. Kids Kamp creates a special day for children with cancer and their siblings. While the children are painting, playing laser tag, riding on the fire trucks and having their faces painted the parents have an opportunity to share experiences and build a support network.

Mutual Girls Club was awarded $10,000 for Mutual Gold. This is the second year they have received the grant for their after-school program for Bartlesville area girls in sixth through eighth grades. The program is designed to be an educational club for young teens to serve as a preventive tool for self-destructive behaviors and to promote overall well-being.

Washington County Affordable Housing Coalition was given $10,000 for Rapid Rehab Rescue. This program will help eligible homeowners in the Capitol Hill District in Bartlesville, who otherwise would not be able to afford to make repairs to their homes.

Washington County Wellness Initiative was awarded $2,500 for the Mobile Dental Health Project. They plans to offer oral health services to low-income individuals through the use of the MobileSmiles dental van.

Westside Community Center, a United Way agency, was a recipient of two of those grants for a second year. They were awarded $9,000 to continue to offer the Peacefull Warriors program to fifth grade boys, This anti-bullying program provides anger management and crisis resolution training. Westside Community Center was also awarded $10,000 for a second year for the Community Advanced Study Hall, a program that helps meet the academic needs of student from primarily low-income homes by providing free access to state-of-the-art computers and educational software outside of school hours.

Youth and Family Services was awarded $2,550 for Because of Hanah, a suicide crisis intervention and intensive outpatient program.  According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health's Spring 2014 State of the Counties Reports for Washington County, suicide is the second highest cause of death for persons between the ages of 15-34. The purpose of this program is to stabilize individuals who are experiencing an emotional or psychological crisis (specifically those contemplating suicide), and provide immediate support so the individual can be treated in the least restrictive environment in order to quickly return to their daily lives and routines.

Each of these Venture Grant recipients was chosen through a competitive process where a committee of community members evaluated all applications from area nonprofits and chose worthy recipients who fit into the United Way’s priority areas of education, income and health.

"We are happy to be able to support all of these programs and expand our impact in the community," CEO and Executive Director Jody Burch said.