Several community organizations in Bastrop County will benefit from the St. David’s Foundation Spring Scholarships 2021 to promote the health and wellbeing of residents.
Bastrop County organizations will receive 16% of the $ 24.5 million in grants the foundation made, according to its June 29 announcement.
One of the goals of the foundation’s spring funding is to “remove the systemic barriers that were exposed and tightened during the (coronavirus) pandemic,” the announcement said.
Kim McPherson, a senior program officer at St. David’s Foundation, said a key theme in many of the recent scholarships has been addressing the way the coronavirus pandemic is disrupting child development, which she believes is a child’s ability is to be strong, healthy, and stable, having relationships and routines that they can rely on.
“Loss of learning gets a lot of attention, but we know it is much deeper than loss of learning and children will not be able to learn until they feel safe, secure, engaged and motivated,” McPherson told The Advertiser.
“Much of the work that is reflected in the grants we’ve awarded this cycle is helping organizations provide the support and services that can get children and their families back on track. “
Of the 48 scholarship holders in this funding cycle, several have direct connections to the Bastrop district.
The City of Smithville received $ 220,000 for a number of initiatives, including supporting planning and development efforts to establish a “comprehensive workforce training center” and investing in an engagement coordinator to “strengthen community connections and accelerate collective efforts” for improvement of health in Smithville.
The Smithville Community Clinic received approximately $ 105,000 for several initiatives including purchasing dental equipment and continuing to develop the behavioral health capacity for people without health insurance.
Other significant grants included $ 150,000 to Bastrop County Cares and $ 100,000 to Austin Interfaith for the non-partisan, multi-faceted organization in support of Bastrop County’s workforce.
Abena Asante, a senior program officer for the St. David’s Foundation, told The Advertiser the foundation was “humble” to work with rural communities and small towns – such as those in Bastrop County – to improve local health and health efforts.
“We know there are pre-existing assets in Bastrop County and we want to build on those assets to build the community’s capacity to empower them with more resources to lead and drive change,” Asante said, adding that the St. David’s Foundation Foundation works with local groups before, during and after the grant is awarded.
“It was important for us to take advantage of the opportunities and dynamism of the county, which is run by residents who catalyze and drive health change in their community.”
Funding to set up the Smithville Workers Training Center will strengthen the existing link between health outcomes and economic self-sufficiency, Asante said.
As part of the focus on helping children, McPherson said some grants have been made to ensure child caregivers are given the right tools and knowledge to be successful, as carers have a direct impact on children’s well-being .
“The main goal we hope for is to create the social infrastructure to help the nonprofit community, help families, and help their children get back on track,” said McPherson.
Several Bastrop County nonprofits, including Bastrop County Cares, also received year-end grants from the St. David’s Foundation in December.
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