Local efforts win 3 grants

July 19, 2004

Local efforts win 3 grants
Three non-profit groups developing area programs have been awarded $50,000 each for continued local efforts.

The Public Welfare Foundation, a private charitable organization based in Washington, D.C., approved the grants Friday to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy.

The $50,000 grants will supplement funds which the three groups received from The Harvest Foundation in May for their local efforts.

"We're absolutely delighted ... we think it's a pretty exciting thing," said Harry Cerino, executive director of The Harvest Foundation, who announced the Public Welfare Foundation grants on Sunday.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which received $450,000 over three years from The Harvest Foundation, plans several historic preservation and heritage efforts with Martinsville area partners. It is looking at the former Henry County courthouse, the Fieldale region and other areas for their historic and tourism potential.

The Southern Environmental Law Center, which received $50,000 from The Harvest Foundation, plans to meet with area residents and launch a regional organization to develop the community's environmental resources.

The center proposes to identify local conservation leaders and form an organization to work on the environment and its connection with economic development. It plans to do that through education, strategic planning and institutional support, and build on the work of existing local conservation groups, including the garden clubs of Martinsville, Trout Unlimited and other fishing and hunting groups, it stated in the proposal.

The Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy, which received $212,220 over two years from The Harvest Foundation, is working to further develop the Fayette Street area historical initiative.

Information on how the groups will use the Public Welfare Foundation funds could not be determined Sunday.

This is not the first time that foundation has contributed to groups in Henry County and Martinsville. In 2000, it gave $40,000 grants to each of five area organizations -- the YMCA, Citizens Against Family Violence, Family Life Services' Free Medical Clinic, Patrick Henry Community College and For the Children -- which serve the area's unemployed residents.

So far in 2004, the Public Welfare Foundation gave 148 grants totaling $9.7 million, according to its Web site.

The foundation is a private group which makes grants primarily to community-based organizations worldwide. It was founded in 1947 by the late Charles Marsh, who owned a chain of newspapers and was the father of Antionette Haskell and the grandfather of Robert Haskell, both of Martinsville.

Antoinette M. Haskell of Martinsville is a retired board member of the Public Welfare Foundation and Robert H. Haskell, publisher of the Martinsville Bulletin, is vice chairman of the board.


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