13 nonprofit organizations recipients of Harris Fund

Sue Guinn Legg • Feb 19, 2013 at 9:27 PM

The East Tennessee Foundation hosted a reception for the recipients of the Harris Fund for Washington County’s 2013 grant awards Tuesday at the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough.

The Harris Fund presented a total of $61,000 in grants to 13 nonprofit organizations to initiate and expand programs that improve the quality of life for Washington County residents.

The grants included $10,000 awarded to the town of Jonesborough for a new partnership between the Jonesborough Yarn Exchange and WETS. Town Administrator Bob Browning said the grant will allow the public radio station at East Tennessee State University to broadcast the Yarn Exchange’s monthly productions of stories of Jonesborough.

Browning said the Yarn Exchange grew from a 2011 town initiative “to collect the stories of our community,” particularly stories from Jonesborough’s African-American community, and present them in a production titled “I Am Home.” Following the production, the “I Am Home” cast became the Yarn Exchange and continued to collect stories of Jonesborough and compile them in radio scripts that have been presented on stage monthly or in the past year. The Harris Fund grant will allow the productions be broadcast by WETS.

Legal Aid of East Tennessee was awarded a $10,000 grant to support its Access to Civil Justice Project for low-income women who lack the financial ability to access civil courts. Because one in four women are abused in their relationships and because many women go without the benefits, including health care coverage, they are entitled due to their inability to hire an attorney, the $10,000 Harris Fund grant “will serve 25 women in critical situations,” a representative of Legal Aid said.

Catholic Charities of East Tennessee received a $6,000 grant for its Appalachian Family Housing program that assists homeless families with children as they transition out of homelessness. Suzi Burrows with CCET said the grant will allow the program to provide services such as child care that allow parents to work and regain their ability to provide a home.

The Johnson City Area Arts Council was awarded $6,000 to support Arts Corps, an after-school program for at-risk youth in the Johnson City area. The program serves up to 450 homeless and low-income children annually by providing them will instruction and opportunity to express themselves through the arts and to gain communications skills, confidence and cultural enrichment their families otherwise could not afford.

The River, a downtown ministry of First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City for homeless and low-income women, received a $5,000 grant for its new diaper subsidy distribution program. Stacy Larsen, executive director of The River, said the grant will the ministry’s “Changing Lives from the Bottom Up” program to provide mothers with weekly allotments of diapers their infants otherwise would not have.

The East Tennessee Regional Symphony received a $4,900 grant to support Link Up, a partnership between the symphony, Carnegie Hall, Milligan College and Washington County Schools. Link Up is currently training 1,000 students in grades 3 to 5 to play the recorder and to join the symphony in in-school, fundraising performances of seven specially composed pieces to be presented this spring. Proceeds from the concerts will be used to perpetuate the program.

Girls on the Run of Northeast Tennessee received a $4,000 grant to expand its after-school fitness and character development curriculum to Mountain View and North Side elementary schools.

The Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council, founder of the Tennessee’s Quilt Trail tourism project, was awarded $3,600 for its Friends of Washington Agriculture group that works to strengthen the agricultural economy of Washington County.

The Crumley House Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center in Limestone received a $3,500 grant to support its the Opportunities Together program that works in partnership with Milligan College graduate students to provide occupational therapy for people who have suffered serious head injuries.

The Green Interfaith Network was awarded a $3,000 grant to support the “Cool Congregations” program that provides energy efficiency education and incentives to Washington County churches and their members.

Girls Incorporated of Johnson City/Washington County received a $2,000 grant to support its Achieving Success Through Resources & Independent Development program to enhances girls’ perceptions of themselves and their community through philanthropic service.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee received a $2,000 to support its Food for Kids Backpack Program that provides chronically hungry school children with backpack-size packages of nutrition-rich snacks and entrees to take home every other weekend throughout the school year.

And the Tipton-Haynes Historical Association received a $1,000 grant that will be used to create a new graphic panel titled “Wind and Water Power” for the permanent exhibit at the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site museum. Penny McLaughlin, executive director of Tipton-Haynes, said the panel will include illustrations of the windmill that was located on the historic site in the 1830s, the many flour and grain mills that operated in the region and work of millwright David Haynes.

Tuesday’s reception offered the grant recipients an opportunity to share the stories of their programs, and Terry L. Holley, the foundation’s senior vice-president for programs and regional development, began the program by telling the stories of the East Tennessee foundation and the Harris Fund.

The Harris Fund was established in 1994 in memory of the flooring manufacturing Harris family of Johnson City to provide support for innovative programs that encourage the use of area resources to enhance to the quality of life for Washington County residents. Since 1995, the fund has awarded more than $527,400 to organizations and initiatives serving the county.

Established in 1986, the East Tennessee Foundation is a regional foundation serving 25 counties in East Tennessee through the administration of 13 affiliate funds that provide grant funding to programs and projects that benefit the region and its people.

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