By JEROD CLAPP
NEW ALBANY —
More than 30 organizations received a total of $275,000 during the Horseshoe Foundation’s Spring Grant Awards ceremony on Wednesday.
From education programs to help students to local organizations that need upgrades to their grounds, this season’s ceremony recognized the successful applicants for their work in the community.
“It is such an honor to be able to do good work in this community on behalf of the foundation,” Jerry Finn, executive director of the Horseshoe Foundation, said. “The charitable organizations are doing a great job here and we’re glad we can support them.”
Though the total amount money awarded for the ceremony was lower than the normal $350,000, Finn said they already gave another $75,000 under an emergency situation to the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. earlier this year for security upgrades throughout the district. He said that brought them up to the normal amount they give in the spring grant campaign.
Some organizations were awarded as much as $20,000, such as Rauch Inc., to replace the roof and gutters on their East Spring Street Building.
But other organizations reach out to the community directly with their funding. The Harrison Education and Literacy Program will use their $15,000 award to help fund their Freedom 101 program.
The program reaches out to inmates in the area to help teach them life skills to stay out of jail, as well as get what they really want in life once they get out.
Rick Shuster, a facilitator for the program, said he’s glad to work with something that helps people in the community, as well as see other organizations recognize them.
“I never thought I’d be spending the second half of my life in jails,” Shuster said. “I started doing this in 2005 and have been going strong since.”
Deb Bulleit, coordinator for HELP, said support from Horseshoe helps them keep going on with their mission.
“This allows us to put in extra time to train the inmates. It saves on expenses, but more importantly, it develops leadership skills in them that they didn’t know they had.”
Other organizations that got donations were dedicating their funds to helping children gain momentum in their education.
Crystal Gunther, grants and programs officer for the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana, said The Dictionary Project — a program that puts dictionaries in third-grade classrooms — will help children make a transition from where they are in how they learn.
“It’s that critical point where third graders are going from learning to read to reading to learn,” Gunther said.
She said Horseshoe has funded the program in Floyd County since 2011 and her organization funds Clark County. She said the partnership just made sense with the foundation’s location.
“I think it has a huge impact on quality of life in the area,” Gunther said. “Floyd County is very fortunate to have Horseshoe. The things they’ve done in the community over the years has just allowed it to continue to grow. Their support of nonprofits has been a great asset.”