ASPEN - The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation is accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations in Pitkin County. Grants will be awarded to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing skills and programs in the arts, languages and sciences. Applications will be accepted until March 1, and decisions will be made by May 1. The fund will consider applications for grants requesting a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $2,500.
The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation awards grants to organizations that provide direct service to help with the implementation of expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading, and to develop reading and writing skills at all age levels. The foundation also supports programs in the arts, languages and sciences for preschool, primary and secondary school-aged children.
More than $125,000 in grant money has been awarded since 2008. The foundation prefers to consider grants for programs instead of grants strictly for technology. The foundation also prefers to award grants to organizations that do not have access to large fundraising budgets and are local in nature. Grants are made only to nonprofit organizations certified as tax-exempt. More information is available on the foundation's website.
The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation was formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, which owns and operates The Aspen Times and www.aspentimes.com. Bessie Minor Swift was mother of Philip Swift, the founder of Swift Communications. She was born in Onaga, Kan., on June 29, 1887. She was raised in Kansas City, Mo., and then moved to Blackburn, Mo., where she taught in a one-room schoolhouse.
Philip Swift recalled that the importance of education was reinforced throughout his upbringing, not so much through statements or concrete expectations but more through the example of his mother's interest in English, reading, history and music.