It doesn't have to be the Christmas season for the St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation to be in the spirit of giving. They will be awarding grants to area organizations for their annual luncheon of giving next week.
The St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation Grant Awards Luncheon will take place Wednesday at the Grand Hotel starting at 11:30 a.m. and finishing at 1 p.m. They will be granting more than $600,000 to 75 organizations located in the foundation's 11-county area.
New to the luncheon this year will be an invitation to the public. For $20, individuals can attend the luncheon and find out what the St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation is all about. Shelly Weppler, president of the St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation, said there had been many people asking if they could attend the luncheon even though they hadn't received any money and thought the public would be a great addition to the event. It would also give the public an opportunity to learn about projects in the region, she added.
On the menu will be chicken Veronique, which is chicken with fettucini noodles, vegetables and strawberry shortcake for dessert.
Some of the area organizations receiving grant awards include food pantries, nursing scholarships, Bottineau Park District to help with the baseball fields, Christ Lutheran Church for flood recovery, Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Minot Optimist Club for the playground at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center, Dreamcatchers, the Minot Family YMCA and the Minot Y's Men's Rodeo. Also included will be Garrison Memorial Hospital for their emergency room renovation, Weppler said. The St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation will be giving very large gifts to organizations this year, she added, several for $10,000 and a few in the $20,000 to $30,000 amount.
Weppler said the foundation has a grant application process that starts in October and that gives them a good look at the region and their needs. The foundation's whole reason for giving the grants, aside from it being their mission, is to help an organization's impact on mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being of people in the region, she continued. It's not certain if there will ever be enough money to give to every organization that applies for grants through the foundation, but Weppler said, "We certainly will try."
This is the 15th year that St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation has awarded grants, but Weppler said they didn't award the same amount of money then as they will on Wednesday. This will be the first year that the foundation will be able to give this amount of money, she added. The first grant the foundation awarded in 1998 was given to the Ward County Sheriff's Department for defibrillators in responder vehicles.
"We hope to see more people (at the luncheon) so they have an idea of what we're about," Weppler said.
People interested in purchasing tickets for the grant awards luncheon can call St. Joseph's Community Health Foundation at 837-1726 or go to their website at (www.communityhealthfoundationnd.com) and click on "donate" and make a notation that it's for the luncheon. Tickets can also be purchased by going to the foundation's Facebook page.