In keeping with its motto "Service Above Self," the Fairfield Rotary Club awarded its Fairfield Rotary Club Foundation Grants to 15 organizations in the Greater Bridgeport community.
The pool of grant money totaled $21,000 this year, and the grants were handed out at the Club's annual grant presentation meeting in late November.
"We learned so much about the organizations and the great variety of people that they're serving," Rotarian John Hoover said. "All were very worth causes."
The following organizations were presented with grants:
- The Bridgeport Neighborhood Trust - $800. The funds will be used to expand the community housing and development organization's current office space.
- The Bridgeport YMCA - $1,700. The grant will be used for the replacement of sinks at Bridgeport's YMCA branch.
- The Caroline House - $2,000. The education and language learning center for low-income women and children will use the grant to purchase kitchen equipment and appliances to better serve hot lunch to the families who use the center.
- Center for Women and Families - $1,300. The grant will be used to purchase a defibrillator for the Bridgeport-based organization's safe house, which provides shelter, advice and counseling to victims of domestic violence and substance abuse.
- CLASP Homes, Inc. - $1,000. CLASP Homes, Inc. provides housing and opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in Fairfield County. The grant will be used to install a special swing set at the organization's Fairfield group home. In addition to the Fairfield site, there are group homes in Westport, Trumbull, Easton, and Wilton.
- Council for Children in Crisis - $485. The grant will be used to help facilitate counseling for children in the area.
- Discovery Museum - $1,500. The Park Avenue museum -- bordering both Bridgeport and Fairfield -- will use the grant to replace cabinets in its aptly named "Rotary Room," one of the museum's classrooms.
- Fairfield Follies - $2,500. The theater group will use the money to revive the program and make it available to Fairfield County youth for 2013.
- Fairfield Public Schools - $150. The school district will use the grant to continue its Scrubby Bear program, which teaches children in kindergarten through second grade the importance of hand washing during cold and flu season -- and year-round.
- Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti - $2,000. The hospital serves residents of Haiti affected by the January 2010 earthquake. The grant helps keep the hospital -- which covers a 600 square mile area of Haiti -- running.
- Junior Achievement - $500. The nonprofit will use the funds to revamp its social media presence to help raise awareness for the organization, which provides life skills and job readiness opportunities throughout southwestern Connecticut.
- Literacy Volunteers of FSW - $2,365. The program, which provides basic literacy and English as a Second Language services to students trying to earn their high school diplomas, will use the funds to buy curriculum and testing materials.
- Mercy Learning Center - $2,100. Bridgeport's Mercy Learning Center -- which is celebrating 25 years of service -- is expanding its programming and the Park Avenue site is undergoing renovations. The grant will help cover the purchase of furniture for the soon-to-be renovated, state-licensed facility. Mercy Learning Center provides literacy, life, and employment skills for low-income women.
- Operation Hope - $1,300. Fairfield's own answer to homelessness and hunger will use the grant to purchase a freezer, refrigerator, and electric range for the shelter on Nichols Street.
- Thomas Merton Family Center - $1,300. The nonprofit will use the grant money for upkeep and painting of the dining room in the "House of Hospitality" -- comprised of a soup kitchen, food pantry, medical clinic, and a center for low-income families. The center is located inside a church that underwent renovations and the organization would like to maintain the stained glass windows that their visitors have come to know and enjoy.