The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Heidi Zemach
For The LOG 

Grants help enhance life in Seward


Heidi Zemach | For The LOG

Marathon Wrestling Club Coach Art Osborne stands with Jewel Williams, his daughter and major club supporter as they thank Seward Community Foundation for its support in providing new wheels to transport participants to practices and meets.

Correction: He Will Provide serves 150 families per week.

Financial help is flowing again to help indigent residents get their prescriptions filled, provide temporary safe shelter to victims of domestic violence, and encourage people to spay and neuter their pets. The Seward Community Foundation announced 18 projects to be funded in its new cycle of grant awards at its annual grant ceremony May 8 at Seward Brewing Company. This cycle's funding, totaling $63,000, is higher than any other year, as the endowment and its interest continues to grow.

The philanthropic group's permanent endowment provides funds to assist local needs and enhance the quality of life in the area. The grants go to well-conceived projects that benefit a diverse cross-section of the community and support ideas that are self-sustaining. Board members thanked the private donors for contributing, as well as the 69 who selected SCF on the "Pick Click Give" option on the Alaska Permanent Fund form, and whose contributions represented a 23 percent increase over last year.

A group of youngsters, some playing ukulele, performed a Thank You song on behalf of Seward Band and Choir Booster Association (Seward Music Association). Its $2,500 SCF and Rasmuson Foundation match funding will go to purchase a variety of new instruments for local schools including traditional band instruments, keyboards, drums guitars, and a large set of ukuleles for fifth graders who will be losing the school band program to the expanded middle school.

Clients and supporters of the Independent Living Center performed an original rap thanking the foundation for its grant of $4,750 for its T.R.A.I.L.S program, which provides recreational opportunities for 25 people with disabilities. Their props helped demonstrate some of the things they do, and included a helmet, snow shoes, and fishing pole.

Members of the Ocean Sciences Club helped accept the Alaska SeaLife Center's $7,000 grant to run their educational after-school club. They talked about how much they appreciated the guest talks from so many of ASLC's researchers and husbandry staff, and behind-the-scene experiences. The club facilitator said it was incredible how many good questions they ask, and how quickly they absorb the hands-on science.

Marathon Wrestling Club Coach Art Osborne shed tears as he hugged his daughter and great helper Jewell Williams, and presented her with flowers. The wrestling group had between 25-40 young wrestlers in this, its first year, and recently hosted a large regional wrestling tournament. The $900 SCF grants, with partial help from the Larson Family fund, will enable the club to purchase new tires for its van, and transport participants to practices and meets.

Through SCF and the Seward Wellness Fund Seward, PTA received $2,204 to help the elementary school purchase snowshoe trekking poles, thus enhancing the ski program. Another $2,300 went to the Moose Landing 4-H Club to continue and expand its competitive Lego Robotics Program.

A $5,000 grant to Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance will help local efforts to accomplish the Seward Schoolyard Habitat program's second phase, with the actual work done by volunteers. The work includes continuing to improve the native plant garden, creating a new trail between the elementary and the middle schools, and upgrading the existing trail.

The Seward Boys & Girls Club received an ongoing $5,000 grant forward-funding its summer Da'Vinci Science and Arts Camps, allowing them to continue over a period of years. The grants come from SCF and the Margaret Anderson Fund. Rather than the group's staff spending weeks and months writing each SCF grant, the funding for the proven summer arts program will be guaranteed in advance, enabling the staff to focus more time on writing additional grants, and on the program itself, said SCF's Madelyn Walker.

Some grants went to programs helping those in need and those in dire straits.

SeaView Community Services received $10,000 in unrestricted funds from SCF and the City of Seward to help provide temporary safe shelter within the community to victims of domestic violence. Last year many clients in need could not find shelter locally due to either lack of funding, or lack of available space.

Seward Ministerial Association received $2,000 to help pay medical prescriptions for indigent members of the community through its "Vicar Fund."

He Will Provide, Inc. (the food pantry), which serves 150 families a week, received $5,000 to purchase a freezer and three stainless steel tables. The freezer will allow the pantry to store bulk food that it can get at lower prices, and volunteers will use the tables to divide the food into smaller portions, so that people can pick up amounts that they will use.

S.O.S. Pets received $2,000 to help the Seward Animal Shelter further defray the cost of spaying and neutering pets before allowing them to be adopted. An additional $1,000 grant to SOS Pets provides vouchers to individuals to help defray the cost of spaying or neutering their pets.

Seward Mariner's Memorial will receive another $10,000 from SCF, with partial help from the Kaanta Fund, to construct an artistic "wave wall" and benches at the scenic location.

Heidi Zemach | For The LOG

Young musicians Tessa Polasek, John Van Buskirk, Abigail Doepkin, Katie Van Buskirk, Bethany Doepkin and Nia Kim, led by Moriah Doepkin (unseen), perform Thank You Song at Seward Community Foundation Grant Event at Seward Brewing Company May 8 on behalf of the Seward Music Band & Choir Boosters (Seward Music Association).

A $5,000 grant to Seward Arts Council will allow the group to match its own funds to temporarily hire a general director, music director and logistics coordinator to plan the annual Seward Music and Arts Festival, which has grown to 10,000 attendees. The festival has help from 100 volunteers, and in turn, raises money to enhance other arts events in the community. Longtime festival organizer Gail Burnard, who regularly volunteers more hours on each event than a full-time job, cannot do it alone anymore.

Another $1,500 grant to the arts council will go to create period costumes and construct sets for a new drama on Rockwell Kent, produced by Doug Capra for the Alaska Historical Association Conference being held in Seward in October. Part of the money came from the Paul Rupple Fund.

Prior to the awards presentations, Bethany Waggoner showed a short film that her Seward High School graphic arts students produced critiquing their town. Most praised the area's rural qualities, its quiet, natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities, but added they would like their town to offer more clothing stores, an arcade, a skating rink, bowling alley, movie theater, better concerts, more year-round jobs, and affordable housing. The donors and nonprofit representatives attending the grant event may be able to accomplish these things, commented a community foundation board member.


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