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More than $100K awarded in Hudson-Ellis funds: Blue Grass Community Foundation supports students, charitable organizations with endowment

Jaden Mays said when her name was announced during awards night that she won the Hudson-Ellis Scholarship for Danville High School, she was in shock. The scholarships were awarded through the Blue Grass Community Foundation (BGCF).

“I thought maybe I didn’t hear them right,” she said. Mays was one of three high-school students — one each from DHS, Boyle County High School and Kentucky School for the Deaf — to receive the $2,500 renewable award this summer, which will keep on giving as long the students keep the required GPA.

Photo contributed Stephanie Overing, left, interprets for Lunch with the Arts presenter,Johann Van Niekerk Wednesday at the Community Arts Center. CAC was one of 17 local nonprofits awarded a grant through the Hudson-Ellis Fund, and will use the money to continue offering interpreting during its art programs.

Mays is in her first year at the University of Kentucky, majoring in chemistry on the pre-medical track to become a pediatrician. She said the $2,500 scholarship has been extremely helpful to her, and her parents after she received a full-ride to UK.

“The biggest thing for me was seeing it on my parents’ faces. They were so happy and relieved, they were over the moon,” Mays said. “College is expensive — especially at UK.” She says after receiving the $2,500, she didn’t have to apply for any loans.

“I had applied for a ton of scholarships … It felt so good to have worked so hard and made these accomplishments. I really didn’t think I’d get it — so many other people applied. I was in shock when I heard my name,” Mays said. She thinks that being senior class president helped her application stand out.

This month, BGCF also awarded 17 charitable organizations for projects it says will improve the quality of life for children and adults in Boyle County  — a total of $99,000. The winners applied for funding through the Hudson-Ellis Competitive Grantmaking Program, made possible through the bequest-established endowments from Lottie B. Ellis.

The Community Arts Center was also a recipient of a grant through the program, which they use to support ASL interpretation for activities they offer.

“The grant will enable us to provide interpretation at all of our Lunch with the Arts events during this season, basically through June 2019,” said Kate Snyder, CAC’s marketing and development director. It also enables the Arts Center to use interpreters at exhibit openings and public gallery talks.

“We will also have funds to provide an interpreter for several art classes and camps, but we’re still figuring out exactly which ones. If anyone has a particular class they’re really keen on, for which they would require interpretation, they’re welcome to reach out to us and suggest it,” Snyder said.

For the past three years, CAC has been facilitating field trips for students at KSD, using interpreters for those visits, Snyder said. “And this summer, we welcomed a deaf student to art camp, thanks to the efforts of volunteer interpreters. It was that experience that inspired us to request this funding from the Hudson-Ellis Fund. We’re very excited to be able to make the Arts Center a more inclusive place for all art-lovers.”

The Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County was also a recipient.

“The grant is in support of the Youth Art Fair, in March, and for a program which we provide three arts activities to Holland Farm participants,” Becker said, referring to the non-profit, parent-based adult day training program for disabled adults. She said the funding helps the Arts Commission with staffing for the activities, materials for the exhibits and projects, and coordination with the schools’ art staffs throughout the year in preparation for the Youth Art Fair.

Lottie Ellis was a lifelong Danville resident who “had a passion for Boyle County, which led her to establishing the legacy gift when she passed away in 1999,” a release from BGCF says. In accordance with Ellis’ wishes, two permanent endowment funds were established by BGCF — the Hudson-Ellis Discretionary Fund and Hudson-Ellis Scholarship Fund.

Photo contributed
Jaden Mays was the Danville High School winner of the Hudson-Ellis Scholarship.

To date, the discretionary fund has awarded more than $1.1 million in grants to 160 local nonprofits; the scholarship fund has awarded a total of $320,000 to 131 students.

The rest of the winners

Madeline McWhorter was awarded the 2018 Hudson-Ellis Scholarship for Boyle County High School; Jemima Chong was awarded for Kentucky School for the Deaf.

The remaining organizations that won grants include:

Assisting Deaf Adults to Participate Totally, to support the Safe and Healthy Living Project;

Boyle County Education Foundation, to provide scholarships for preschool students;

Camp Horsin’ Around, to support the cost of a new archery deck;

Danville Schools Education Foundation, to support “Parents as Teacher” services to identified families through “Cradle School” with the goal of strengthening families;

Danville/Boyle County Happy Feet Equals Learning Feet, to purchase new shoes and socks for underprivileged children in Boyle County;

Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens, to help support free transportation provided to Boyle County Senior Citizens for activities of daily living, such as doctor appointments, trips to the pharmacy, etc.;

Family Services Association of Boyle County, for emergency housing assistance for residents of Boyle County;

Grace Café, to support the operating costs of the pay-what-you-can café;

Kendyl and Friends Foundation, Inc., to support ASL interpretation for deaf and hearing impaired students participating in the Overcomers Baseball League Fall/Spring sessions;

Kentucky School for the Deaf Charitable Foundation, to purchase a one-year subscription to Junior Library League, which will add 310 new books to the library;

McDowell House Museum, to support upgrade of technology that will allow the museum to accommodate visitors who have mobility issues and/or are hearing impaired;

New Hope Food Pantry, to purchase food that is distributed free to Boyle County residents who are in need;

Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church, to support the Soup’s-On-Us program that provides meals for those in need;

Special Persons Advocacy Network (SPAN), to support Camp Hope 2019; and

Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, to refresh and upgrade supplies utilized in occupational, physical, and speech language therapies.

Online: bgcf.org