The Stanislaus Community Foundation gets great pleasure out of giving, such as the $10,000 it is granting to each of five programs to help low-income and at-risk youths. Its members also got great pleasure this week out of receiving -- to the tune of $1 million.
The $50,000 grant will be divided equally to help finance after-school activities, arts, crafts, tutoring, mentoring and other services for children age 10 to 14.
Leaders of the nonprofit foundation also announced it received a gift of more than $1 million from the estate of James McClatchy, who served two terms as chairman of the McClatchy Co., parent company of The Modesto Bee.
The money will go into an endowment with the payouts used to establish three funds:
The grants and endowment, called The Bee Fund, are a huge boon that will ultimately "help the population of our community" said Patty Stone, Stanislaus Community Foundation chief executive officer.
The allocation amounts from The Bee Fund haven't been determined.
The five $10,000 grants came from the James Irvine Foundation, a charitable organization established in 1937 to benefit Californians. Since its inception, the Irvine Foundation has provided more than $1 billion in grants to more than 3,000 California-based nonprofit organizations.
Stanislaus Community Foundation was one of many community foundations to receive money earmarked specifically to assist nonprofit and youth groups with after-school programs geared toward preteens.
Researchers, educators and law enforcement officials long have touted the importance of after-school activities for adolescents. They say after-school hours, when latchkey children of working parents are unsupervised, are peak times for juvenile crime, sex, and experimentation with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.
For their grant requests, applicants were asked to describe their proposed services and programs. The foundation received 11 applications. Bette Belle Smith, a member of the foundation's grant committee, said she and her colleagues agonized over their decision because all the applicants submitted worthy proposals.
In the end, the five grant recipients were:
Sandra de Alcuaz, director of Modesto's First Tee program, said she and her staff were excited to learn they would receive $10,000 to teach academically at-risk students critical life skills such as discipline, patience and self-esteem by learning the game of golf. The program serves more than 2,000 children in 48 after-school and youth agencies.
De Alcuaz said grant money will be directed toward the group's outreach program.
"The more opportunities we have to impact these young people allows us to develop more one-on-one mentoring," she said.
The grant couldn't have come at a better time for west Modesto's The Bridge Community Center, which came under the auspices of Sierra Vista Child & Family Services in January. For nearly 20 years, The Bridge has offered a number of services to Cambodian, Hmong and Laotian residents.
"It's exactly what we needed," said Kim Wood-Hiatt, Sierra Vista's clinical director. "We've had no funding for an after-school program for several years. The Bridge has been a magnet for Southeast Asian children, and the children always come whether there's funding or not."
One component of their proposal, called the Elder Treasure program, was designed to bridge older and younger Southeast Asian generations through music. In their grant request, The Bridge said immigrant parents have voiced concerns that their children are forgetting their heritage as they assimilate into the U.S. culture.
To strengthen those cultural ties between the generations, The Bridge will bring in musicians who will practice and play traditional instruments for the students. Organizers hope it will open an exchange for young people to discuss cultural issues with the elders.
The Stanislaus Community Foundation's Stone said the agency will issue another call for grant requests in the fall. Last year, the foundation awarded about $1 million in grants and scholarships.
For more information about Stanislaus Community Foundation, visit www.stanislauscommunityfoundation.org.
Bee staff writer Donna Birch can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2309.