Swift grants given out to four Roaring Fork organizations | AspenTimes.com

Swift grants given out to four Roaring Fork organizations

Staff report

The Basalt-based Roaring Fork Conservancy is one of 35 organizations to be awarded a Bessie Minor Swift Foundation grant, it was announced Thursday.

The foundation, formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, awards grants to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing skills as well as programs that focus on languages, sciences and interdisciplinary areas. Since 2008, more than $450,000 has been awarded to 165 organizations in the communities where Swift Communications conducts business.

The Aspen Times and several other Western Slope news operations are part of Swift Communications.

This year, the 35 organizations received more than $73,000 in all. The Roaring Fork Conservancy received $3,000, which was one of the largest grants awarded.

This program incorporates art, science and literacy utilizing a self-published children’s book about the American Dipper, an indicator species for healthy rivers. Money will assist with program delivery and will provide copies of the book to the schools and libraries that participate in the program. This book and accompanying programs will inspire over 400 students to become river stewards through the lens of art.

The other western Colorado winners include:

• Literacy Outreach, Glenwood Springs, $2,640

Educational materials and learning aids will be used as part of a program for adult English-language learners. Professionally trained volunteer tutors will use books purchased with this money to teach basic reading, writing and math skills to more than 100 students in a one-on-one or family setting.

Family Visitor Programs of Garfield County, Glenwood Springs, $2,000

Books and materials will be used as part of a “Read to Me” program incorporated into monthly scheduled home visits by staff members. Children will receive an age- and language-appropriate book and parents will learn how to read to their children and why they should read to them. Money for these purchases is no longer available from other organizations.

Garfield County Public Library Foundation, Rifle, $2,100

“Sensory story time” kits will be shared among six branch libraries. Utilized in conjunction with Every Child Ready to Read literacy components, these kits will support caregivers in becoming active participants in the learning process and can be used by multiple children at the same time.

The deadline for 2017 grant applications was Feb. 15, and more than 175 applications were received. The foundation grant criteria calls for detail about the number of people who will be helped by the organization’s project and how significant a role the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation will play in the program. Applicants must provide a complete description of the project, including objectives and strategies to meet those objectives, explain how the project will be evaluated and submit a budget.

Recipients will report on their results and insights from their program once the projects are completed.

The foundation thanks the many groups that took the time and energy to apply and encourages those not selected to submit applications in the future. Applications will be accepted again starting Jan. 1 with a deadline of Feb. 15, 2018. For more information, visit http://www.bessie minorswift.org.

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