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Ten local nonprofits participating in GoodGiving Challenge

It’s the time of year when everyone remembers to express gratitude for what they have and feel charitable to those in need.

Participating organizations in the Blue Grass Community Foundation’s GoodGiving Challenge hope some of that charity can come their way.

The GoodGiving challenge is an online fundraising effort at bggives.org that lasts from 9 a.m. Nov. 29. through 11:59 p.m. Dec. 31. Individual links for the challenge won’t go live until the day of the event, but all participating organizations have been encouraged to use social media heavily.

The Challenge started in 2011 for nonprofits in central and eastern Kentucky to help them generate funds by spreading their messages to people who might not normally be able to find out about them. Almost $6 million has been raised since it began.

There are 10 nonprofits in Boyle County participating in the challenge: the Boyle County Education Foundation, Camp Horsin’ Around, CASA of the Bluegrass, the Community Arts Center, Family Services Association of Boyle County, Heritage Hospice, Holland-Farm, KyADAPT, The Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County and the Wilderness Trace Child Development Center.

All of the Boyle County nonprofits can earn extra money through their fundraising efforts thanks to the Hudson Ellis Community Fund. If an organization can reach $1,000 in contributions, Hudson Ellis will match 50 cents for every $1 up to $5,000. The Hudson Ellis funds donated could reach $30,000 across all participating nonprofits. Last year, not every Boyle County organization qualified for the chance obtain those funds, and the funds that were available went within an hour of the launch.

The nonprofits are also available to win additional prizes thanks to the Blue Grass Community Foundation and supporters. Those prizes also go quickly when they become available.

Here is more information on each of the participating nonprofits from Boyle County:

Boyle County Education Foundation

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The Boyle County Education Foundation began several years ago “as a response to unmet needs in our public school system,” foundation board member Alane Mills said.

“It is no secret that our public schools often struggle to meet growing demands without cutting what some might deem ‘nonessential programs,’” Mills said. “The board of directors for the foundation recognizes that our families have a strong desire for their children to have diverse educational opportunities, but not all families have the means to provide for extracurricular enrichment.”

Since the foundation began, it has been able to grow and support programs that the district otherwise wouldn’t be able to support, she said.

That includes offsetting the costs of the district’s large summer program, the Black and Gold Academy; providing plays and visiting artists for students; offering teachers mini-grants; paying for archery equipment, band instruments, art clubs, dance, and field trips; and much more.

To help cover these costs, the Foundation works to partner with local individuals, businesses and booster club organizations. This partnership has also enabled large projects, such as lights at the baseball field, resurfacing the track, turf for the performance field and construction of the greenhouse.

Donations are the only form of funding for the Foundation.

By obtaining their goal of $10,000, the Boyle County Education Foundation would be able to continue funding its TEACH mini grants, which Mills said would be “providing seed money for innovative projects.”

Camp Horsin’ Around

facebook.com/camphorsin

camphorsinaround.org

“We’re the best kept secret,” said Executive Director Julie McAllister. But the organization doesn’t want to be a secret any more and has been working to get more notoriety through social media, she added.

Camp Horsin’ Around, located in western Boyle County, was dreamed up in the early 2000s as a facility for children who were “health compromised” or have special needs. It’s a place where these kids can go and just be kids, McAllister said. The concept was thought of by a group of individuals who helped construct the Ronald McDonald House in Lexington, and understood what effect childhood cancer could have on families, she said.

“They thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to have a place for these kids to be kids and just play?’” she said.

In 2002, Camp Horsin’ Around was incorporated and organizers began searching for land, settling on 191 acres in Boyle County. By 2009, they had built a medical clinic, three cabins and an open air pavilion. It operated as a day and overnight camp, and visitors had to eat in the pavilion. About 300 campers attended the first year. 

The medical clinic allows children undergoing chemo to attend camp while receiving treatments.

In 2014, the dining hall and two more cabins were built, making 2015 the first full season for the camp. More than 1,100 campers visited last year. The camp also has a pond, a pool, trails, a fire pit, a swinging bridge and other touches to make the camp experience complete.

Camp Horsin’ Around does not staff the camps, with the exception of the cafeteria. Instead, it operates as a facility for organizations to use for camps for kids and teens.

There is one camp a year staffed by Camp Horsin’ Around staff and volunteers and is open to children who qualify, but may not belong to another organization that uses camp.

Camp Horsin’ Around has a fundraising goal of $18,000.

“That’s a lot of resources,” McAllister said. “… The $18,000 would definitely go toward underwriting that camp.”

So far, she said, the camp has survived on small, individual donations. While it would be nice to get a large $20,000 donation, they’re just as grateful for the $20 donations usually seen, she said. No grants or other funds have been used to support the camp.

This year, the members of the board of Camp Horsin’ Around have pledged to match donations up to $1,200.

Besides underwriting camp, funds raised would go toward purchasing a six-seater golf cart for children who are unable to get around easily on two feet; a putt putt course; and a horse stable and horses.

CASA  of the Bluegrass

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casaofthebluegrass.org

CASA of the Bluegrass works on behalf of children in the family court system. CASA stands for court-appointed special advocates. The national CASA program has been around since the 1970s.

Laura Guerrant, director of the local CASA, said CASA volunteers work with children where there are allegations of abuse, dependency and neglect.

“We meet with families,” she said. “We are the eyes and ears for the judge.”

CASA is volunteer-based and each volunteer is assigned to one case. That volunteer stays with the same case throughout the entire process as much as possible. The volunteer meets with teachers, social workers, medical personnel, family members and anyone involved in the child they are assigned to. They advocate for the child’s best interest during court appearances.

Sometimes, that means encouraging specialized family therapy and sometimes that means encouraging adoption by another family member or a foster family, Guerrant said.

CASA would love to hit $10,000 in donations from the GoodGiving Challenge, she said. This is the organization’s first year participating in the challenge.

“We want to set up an endowment. We do not have one and we want to start one,” she said.

The organization does receive state and federal funding, funding from the Boyle County Fiscal Court and the Danville City Commission, and funding from United Way.

In recent years, the heroin epidemic has created a bigger need for CASA and training for the volunteers. More children need the help that CASAs provide, she said.

“It’s really important for these children to have a voice,” Guerrant said.

Ultimately, she said, the goal is for every child to have a safe and permanent home.

“Whatever is best for the child, that’s what we push for,” Guerrant said.

Community Arts Center

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communityartscenter.net

The Community Arts Center began 11 years ago with a mission to create transformative arts opportunities for every member of the community.

“We are raising funds for three of our most critical arts programs,” said Kate Snyder, associate director for Marketing and Development at the Community Arts Center.

First, the center wants to be able to fund field trips from local schools to the arts center. In the fall, second-grade classes from Danville Independent Schools visit the facility; in January and February, third grade classes visit. All of the district’s special education students visit as well.

Initially, schools had to cover costs themselves, but as school budgets got tighter over the years, the Arts Center was able to receive a grant to help fund those trips, Snyder said. Now, more than 400 students are able to come each year.

The second big project the district has is the class scholarship fund, which enables students to take classes at the arts center.

“A lot of families can’t afford the classes,” Snyder said. “We want any child who wants to take art classes to be able to take them. We don’t want funding to be the reason you don’t take art.”

Funds will also be used for outreach programs. Someone from the center takes weekly trips to Burgin Independent School and Ads Adventure Academy, an after school program at Jennie Rogers Elementary School. They also work regularly with Pioneer Vocation Services participants and with the “grand buddies” program, in which Woodlawn kindergartners and seniors make art together.

“All of these programs have been growing, but funding has not kept up. Funding for the arts is actually down. We are facing this reality where we have a waiting list for our outreach programs. We have families calling for scholarships, but there’s no funding available,” Snyder said. “We realized that all three of those were critical programs for us and all of those are underfunded for 2017.”

The Community Arts Center’s goal is $20,000.

Snyder called arts opportunities for children “really powerful,” because it can impact their critical thinking skills, their cross-cultural understanding, and their grasp of trial and error.

Family Services Association of Boyle County

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Located on Third Street in Danville, the Family Services Association of Boyle County is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. That’s proof of its staying power, board member Joni Morgan said.

The association focuses on those with one-time needs, such as a family not being able to afford an electric bill because they had to spend too many trips going to and from Lexington with a sick child; or for an elderly person who is in need of a Life Alert type setup in their home.

The Family Services Association can cover payments toward housing, essential utilities, medication and more, as funding allows. Requests must be an emergency.

The association can also point people to other organizations that can best suit their needs at the moment, Morgan said.

Association Director Crystal McPherson meets with clients in need, interviewing them prior to handing out funds.

“She gets to the root of the problem,” Morgan said. “We don’t encourage a chronic problem.”

McPherson also teaches a money management class to those who receive funds and anyone else who wants to take it.

The program receives funds from the Boyle County Fiscal Court and the Danville City Commission, as well as Heart of Kentucky United Way and donations from local churches. But there has been a rise in needs, Morgan said, as the costs of fuel and electricity continue to rise.

Morgan said they would be “happy for anything” that can be raised through the GoodGiving Challenge.

“Hopefully, we’ll be very successful so that we can continue doing what we’ve always done,” she said. “Maybe we can help more people.”

Heritage Hospice

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heritagehospice.com

Heritage Hospice has been around since 1980 and strives to provide end of life care for terminally ill patients in Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties.

“We don’t just care for patients,” said Matt Baker with the organization. “We care for patients and their family — care for the whole family through an inter-disciplinary approach.”

Patients are given a team of people — nurses, social workers, chaplains, hospice aides and volunteers — who work with them and their family during the final days, weeks and months of their lives.

“There are so many things that families are going through at that time. We take the stress off that family,” he said. “We’re specialists; this is what we do.”

Patients are seen in their homes, in nursing homes and in assisted living facilities; Heritage Hospice does not have inpatient facilities.

The goal is to make things easier and ensure that no one dies alone.

“Our team is here to help them through that journey,” Baker said.

Care is provided even if a family is unable to pay. That’s why donations are crucial, so that Heritage Hospice can continue caring for everyone, he said.

“We’re all very appreciative of the support we get. Every penny is going into patient care to people in Boyle, Garrard, Lincoln and Mercer counties,” Baker said.

A computer will be set up at Heritage Hospice on Lebanon Road during the GoodGiving Challenge and someone will be available to assist those who aren’t comfortable navigating the system, Baker said.

Holland-Farm

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hollandfarm.wordpress.com

Holland-Farm is in its first year of operation as a day training program for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have aged out of school, said Abigail Overstreet.

Overstreet’s brother Cabe is part of the inspiration for the organization, which she and her mother Helen helped form.

“As individuals with disabilities get older, programs get harder and harder to find. They leave school and their learning and socialization disappear,” she said.

The entire organization consists of parent volunteers, parents whose adult children have aged out of school and were not connected to any other organization.

“We are not competing with other programs. Our kids were involved in one, so we created one,” said Helen Overstreet. “We love Cabe and his friends and they deserve a program.”

Holland-Farm hosts book clubs and social events at the library and open gym times at the Salvation Army. Individuals are encouraged to attend and participate with Holland-Farm clients.

This year, they said, the clients were able to raise a garden and make salsa. Everyone got to take some salsa home.

A loose goal is $10,000. Currently, clients receive funds from some existing sources, but Holland-Farm would like to also help individuals who don’t receive those funds. The money received from the GoodGiving Challenge would enable Holland-Farm to cover program costs, facility rentals and more.

This year, the Knights of Columbus have helped the organization with funding and the American Legion has allowed for rental of their space.

“They have adopted us. They’ve been so accommodating,” Helen Overstreet said.

But more funding is needed to do more things, such as offer classes for clients. A handwriting class has been something clients have asked for, for example.

KyADAPT

facebook.com/kyadapt

kyadapt.org

KyADAPT was founded to serve individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing and have other disabilities, helping them to live as independently as possible, and to help dispel the loneliness that those who are deaf or hard of hearing and also have another disability often experience, said Dahlia Haas, program manager and client services manager.

KyADAPT stands for Assisting Deaf Adults to Participate Totally.

There are currently four residents and 15 non-residents participating in KyADAPT, Haas said. Her son John is one of the residential clients. 

KyADAPT is partnering with area businesses that will match the funds donated on various days during the GoodGiving Challenge.

Currently, clients of KyADAPT participate in monthly activities to help build language and social skills. Donations would go to help cover the costs of the monthly activities, Haas said.

KyADAPT has set a goal of $18,000. Funds raised would also:

• provide group independent living skills classes, such as money management, home and community safety, job readiness skills, CPR, cooking, simple maintenance, and health and physical fitness.

• provide clients with in-home training to develop and enhance independent living skills. Cooking is something that scares some of the clients, Haas said, and will be something they hope to teach in homes.

• pay volunteers who transport KyADAPT clients to activities, events, volunteer work and medical appointments.

• provide assessments and independent living skills training for non-residents who wish to move into their own apartments.

• purchase interpreter services for clients so that they can be more involved in community activities of their choice and do business with local merchants.

“I’m excited about the interpreters,” Haas said, explaining that it can make a big difference in communication and confidence. “Our clients want to be independent and we want to help them achieve that.”

The Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County

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dbc-arts.org

The Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County has been in existence since the late 1990s. Its purpose is to promote art, artists and art education throughout Boyle County.

“Our unspoken goal has been to bring arts to the entire county. That is important. We don’t ever want people to be limited by money or location,” said Mimi Becker, executive director of the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle. “We want to make arts available without restriction.”

Getting art into the county is a future goal of the commission, which is located in Fishers Row in Danville. 

The commission works in various ways to bring art to the public. Gallery hops are hosted each year, thanks to partnerships with local businesses to display the art. The art, like all that the Arts Commission displays, is sold commission-free. Exhibits are hosted regularly for artists.

The Arts Commission has also arranged for student exhibits to be hosted, such as a September exhibit at the Boyle County Public Library featuring Danville High School art students, and an upcoming exhibit, also at the library, featuring Boyle County High School art students.

Anyone who wants to can become a member of the Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County. That’s a primary source of funding for the organization’s scholarship fund, which provides private lessons for students who not otherwise be able to afford them.

Anyone who donates through the GoodGiving Challenge becomes a member, Becker said.

The commission also receives grants, as well as appropriations from the Boyle County Fiscal Court and the Danville City Commission. 

“We are very appreciative of donations,” Becker said. 

The Arts Commission also uses donations to help bring arts to students in schools.

Of the money raised through the GoodGiving Challenge, more will be designated for the scholarship fund. This year, it has been fully depleted, she said, because of the number of children wishing to take lessons or take part in activities. 

Wilderness Trace Child Development Center

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wtcdc.org

The Wilderness Trace Child Development Center works to benefit children birth to five years old who have some type of developmental delay by introducing them to typically developing children in playgroups and preschool classes. 

“It’s good modeling behavior for those kids,” said Libby Suttles, director of the center. 

It’s good for the typically developing children, too, she said, because it helps them become comfortable with children who are unique, especially equipping them to be around children in wheelchairs. 

Thanks to funds raised through the GoodGiving Challenge, 14 children have been able to attend the Wilderness Trace facility. And more people have become aware of the non profit and what it does, Suttles said. 

Suttles said there is a waiting list of children who want to come to the center, something that they never wanted to happen.

“It was part of our mission to never have a child waiting,” she said. 

With that in mind, the Wilderness Trace Child Development Center has a plan for expansion and Suttles said they hope the funds raised from the GoodGiving Challenge can help kick off the center’s capital campaign. Plans include adding two more classroom, a bigger cafeteria and a bigger therapy space.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.