COLUMBIA CITY — United Way of Whitley County recently announced $65,000 in community grants for local programs and organizations serving residents of Whitley County.

Grant recipients are selected by community members and United Way of Whitley County’s board of directors after a comprehensive application and interview process. Thirteen program applications were submitted, totaling $116,350 in grant requests.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

• Education Impact: TROY School, Passages Inc., The Center for Whitley County Youth, Churubusco Community Child Care Center, Junior Achievement and Camp STEAM Ahead

• Financial Stability Impact: Mission 25, B.A.B.E. of Whitley County and Helpline of Whitley County

• Community Chest Impact: Northeastern Indiana CASA, The Salvation Army of Whitley County, Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana and YWCA Northeast Indiana

Grants were awarded to programs that play a critical role in reaching people in need and providing them with the means to create a better life for themselves. The grants provided are made possible through individual and corporate contributions made through United Way of Whitley County’s annual fundraising campaign.

“These grants will impact the lives of thousands of people in our community. There are significant needs throughout the county and United Way is grateful to work within the community to provide for those needs through the generosity of our gracious donors,” said United Way of Whitley County Executive Director Cindy Baker. “It is important for our donors to know they have the ability to make a profound impact on someone’s life through their financial contribution to United Way.”

An additional $17,987 in program investments and designated dollars will also be awarded to local organizations to continue their impact in Whitley County.

Grants will be used for a variety of programs in Whitley County.

From scholarships to staff training, Whitley County will see a great impact from these funds.

In the impact area of Education, The Center for Whitley County Youth is just one of the organizations serving residents that will benefit from grant funds.

Its After-School Central and After-School SERVE will both utilize funds to continue their programming. ASC provides affordable, safe and supervised after-school education, enrichment and recreational activities for Whitley County middle school students.

SERVE members are high school students that work alongside adult volunteers to coordinate, supervise, plan, implement and develop ASC; it is essentially a hands-on leadership and job development program.

Executive Director Jeff Wike said, “…the challenges that young people face today…are immense and widespread. [The Center] is actively working to build and/or restore a sense of belonging, wholeness and hope in the young people that allow us into their lives.”

In the impact area of Financial Stability, B.A.B.E. of Whitley County is one of three organizations that will receive grant funds. Funds for B.A.B.E. will be used to purchase diapers, wipes, highchairs, mattresses, bottles and several other infant/toddler related items.

“[Funds] will continue to allow B.A.B.E. to focus on the well-being and health of the families within the county,” says B.A.B.E. Executive Director Jacie Stahl.

As one of the four organizations to receive grant funds in the impact area of Community Chest, YWCA Northeast Indiana will use its funds for its domestic violence programs and services to support its program staff members who are present in Whitley County on a daily basis. YWCA is the only agency providing the full continuum of care and support for victims of domestic violence in Whitley County.

Director of Empowerment for the YWCA Jennifer Rohlf says, “Domestic violence can put families in crisis and isolate them from outside resources. Our case managers travel to Whitley County to provide individuals with direct support, education on healthy/unhealthy relationships and connect them with services that can help move them from crisis to self-sufficiency.”

“It is clear that there is no limit to how these community grants will benefit residents of Whitley County,” Baker said. “United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Whitley County. Join the fight! Live United.”