Neighbor to Neighbor receives $20,000 grant
For the second year in a row, Neighbor to Neighbor has received a major grant from the Kansas Health Foundation.
The center for women in downtown Concordia is the only organization in Cloud County to receive funding this year from the statewide organization.
The grant of $20,175 will help pay for programs at the center, which is operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia and does not charge for any of its services, classes or workshops.
A year ago, Neighbor to Neighbor received a grant of $24,988 from the foundation to help with its start-up costs. The center opened at 103 E. Sixth St. in May.
The “Recognition Grants” from the Kansas Health Foundation are designed to help nonprofit organizations throughout the state as they do “meaningful work” toward “improving the health of all Kansans,” according to the grant announcement,
For Fall 2010, the foundation announced grants to 59 organizations across the state. Grants typically range from about $1,500 to a maximum of $25,000.
Meanwhile, Neighbor to Neighbor has also launched a fundraising drive to help pay to expand its services by renovating the second floor of its historic downtown building.
Since it opened this past spring, local women and their young children have made more than 1,800 visits to the storefront center. But such success has a downside: The center that opened with community fanfare in May is proving too small to contain the growing array of programs offered and women taking part.
So construction began this week to double the center’s space and add an art room, a private counseling or small meeting room, two more bathrooms, lots of storage space and a kitchenette that will look out over a large play area for children.
As with renovation of the first floor, Motherhouse employees are doing the bulk of the work, which keeps the labor costs for the project low.
But Neighbor to Neighbor’s fundraising drive will pay for materials and furnishings. A donation of $24.33 will pay to renovate one square foot of the upstairs space; a donation of $48.66 will pay for two square feet, and so on.
“We hope this will truly give people in Concordia and Cloud County a sense that they are investing in what we’re doing here,” said Sister Pat McLennon, one of the three women who operate the center. “Neighbor to Neighbor is for the women of Cloud County, and this is a way for individuals to help us by paying for a piece of it.”
The fund drive began Dec. 1, with the hope that people throughout the area will consider tax-deductible donations before the end of the year.
Greg Gallagher, facilities manager for the Sisters of St. Joseph, expects the work on the upstairs to be completed next spring.
To learn more about Neighbor to Neighbor, call the center at 785/262-4215 or visit any day. The center is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursday from 1 to 9 p.m.
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