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Nonprofit representatives at the Community Foundation spring grant award party. Top row from left: Lynn Bagley, Bruce Mason, Kara Donnelly, Kassidy Lees, Emily Nichols, Marc D'Amore, Sara McKeown White, Amy Verbeten. Bottom row from left: Iris Saxer and daughter Zinnia, Dan Verbeten, Pam Walker

Julia Tellman

On April 5, the Community Foundation of Teton Valley announced the recipients of its spring grants and gave away the most money it ever has in a competitive grant cycle.

Representatives from 12 valley organizations received a total of $47,805 from CFTV, thanks to the generosity of Tin Cup Challengers and private donors. The giveaway was so substantial that CFTV is considering rescheduling a couple of its future grant cycles to adjust.

Friends of the Teton River will use its $4,950 to help the Henry’s Fork Foundation perform a broader regional study to determine the economic value of the Teton River.

The Mental Health Coalition and Family Safety Network each received $5,000 for strategic planning. Both of the organizations serve vulnerable people in the valley and both want to figure out how to grow effectively.

“We’re looking forward to expanding what we’re offering, expanding our programming, even paying someone to do all the things we’ve been doing for free,” said Sara McKeown White of the Mental Health Coalition.

The Teton Valley Museum Foundation received almost $1,000 to build a handicap-accessible ramp into the museum’s historic homestead cabin.

Seniors West of the Tetons is implementing a meal improvement plan. The senior center offers affordable lunches for the community five days a week but with a $3,550 grant, SWOT will be able to buy a salad bar to keep food cold and provide cooking lessons for staff members.

With its grant dollars, Teton Valley Community Recycling has installed bins at the transfer center recycling station to reduce contamination.

Teton Valley Trails and Pathways will now be able to buy a brush mower, which will help staff members maintain the bike path in the summer and preemptively clear Nordic trails so that early season winter grooming is easier.

The Teton Soil Conservation District received $4,900 to carry out an important aquifer recharge pilot project. TSCD chairman Lynn Bagley explained that now that farmers use more sophisticated and efficient irrigation methods instead of flooding fields, much of the spring runoff leaves the valley instead of being reabsorbed into the aquifer. As a result, in recent decades well have sometimes gone dry by autumn.

“This is going to protect one of our most important resources in the valley,” Bagley said.

Several education grants were awarded. Rendezvous Upper Elementary teacher Kara Donnelly will test out a classroom sound system with the hopes of keeping students engaged while making her job easier. Full Circle Education received $2,000 for the Tetonia Elementary greenhouse as part of the school’s popular gardening program. The Teton Valley Education Foundation will now offer a year-long GAP! (Girls Actively Participating) program for teaching leadership and empathy to middle school girls.

The school district and Teton Valley Community School received the largest grant of the cycle, $10,000 for a summer school pilot program. CFTV generally limits grants to $5,000 but will exceed that for requests that are exceptional projects or involve collaboration.

The summer school pilot program, which will be open to rising first through fourth graders, aims to provide affordable childcare for working families. It will start with only 50 students but if successful could expand to 250. The school district will oversee summer school, while TVCS will develop the curriculum. An advisory committee is working out the details of the program, so stay tuned for more information in next week’s Teton Valley News.

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