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Originally published: 2013-09-30 10:45:30
Last modified: 2013-09-30 10:48:44

Appalachian Women's Fund disperses grants

Fourteen area nonprofits received a combined $57,000 in grant money this week thanks to the Appalachian Women's Fund.

Programs supporting women and girls will be able to continue for another year with money raised at the annual Woman of Vision Award Luncheon held in June. Checks were awarded and distributed to the grant recipients in recent days -- and not a minute too soon for some.

"It's no secret that nonprofits have faced significant cuts in local and state funding this year," said AWF President Jean Brooks. "Unfortunately, the cost of defunding severely affects impoverished women and their children on every level, making the day-to-day struggle just that much harder."

Agencies serving the disenfranchised have come to rely on funding from the Appalachian Women's Fund, which has distributed more than $350,000 in six years. This year, AWF was able to fully fund all grant requests from 14 requesting agencies, according to grants committee Chairwoman Kathleen Kennedy-Olsen.

Because many of the recipients serve multiple counties in the surrounding area, the AWF financial support is critical and far-reaching, according to the group. Like back-door neighbors, the group embraces the agencies outside of Watauga County.

Building strong families across county lines impacts all aspects of nonprofit agencies. In more rural areas, transportation can be the barrier between a woman in distress and getting the help she needs, according to the AWF. Sometimes a woman may have a high-profile job and worry about stigma and anonymity. Pressure from family can also keep a woman from seeking services more local to her.

A bigger town such as Boone can offer mass transportation, according to AWF. A larger population also can provide anonymity for a family who needs it and put miles between a woman in need and her detractors. Watauga County nonprofits are often the first line of defense for a family in crisis both in and out of the area.

Agencies supported by the 2013 cycle of grant funding by the Appalachian Women's Fund include:

-- ASHE: A Safe Home for Everyone, a domestic violence shelter in Ashe County -- $5,000 -- To be used for the 24/7 hotline, financial assistance towards transportation costs and initial cost of living for clients in their care.

-- ACCESS financial aid program at ASU -- $5,000 -- To be used for summer school scholarships for first-generation college attendees in families living at or below the poverty level.

-- Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture --$3,000 -- For three grants of $1,000 to local female farmers, ranchers and processors for 2014.

-- The Children's Council -- $4,000 -- To go toward the salary and benefits of the crisis intervention parent educator for the Parents as Teachers outreach program focused on single mothers who reside in temporary housing shelters.

-- Community Care Clinic -- $4,000 -- For the women's health program.

-- DANA: Domestic Abuse is Not Acceptable shelter in Sparta -- $4,000 -- To be used for utility and rent deposits and other fees associated with a new home, particularly for women who are working and therefore lose their government assistance.

-- Girls on the Run of the High Country, youth running/ empowerment program -- $2,500 -- To go toward the expansion of the program into Avery and Wilkes counties for participant scholarships.

-- Hospitality House -- $5,000 -- To go toward the women's emergency shelter program and the women and women with children transitional and family housing program.

-- Hunger & Health Coalition -- $4,000 -- To go toward increasing food distribution to local women age 60 and older.

-- Mountain Alliance -- $4,000 -- To go toward the Leadership Initiative for Female Teens Program, exclusively reaching out to young women.

-- New Opportunity School for Women -- $4,000 -- For the three-week intensive educational immersion program providing low-income women with the tools they need to get back on their feet, find a job, navigate higher education, etc.

-- OASIS: Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter -- $5,000 -- For domestic violence and sexual assault support groups for their clients in Watauga and Avery counties.

-- WAMY -- $3,000 -- To go toward the Credit Building and Financial Literacy program for women for micro-loans.

-- Western Youth Network -- $4,500 -- To go toward the costs of running the Girls Circle Program, a supportive/empowerment group for middle school girls.

For more information on the Appalachian Women's Fund, call (828) 264-4002 or visit