By Marlana Ward
A large group of residents, county and city representatives and several Johnson County High School students attended the annual Johnson County Community Foundation (JCCF) grant reception and scholarship awards ceremony last week. According to JCCF Board Chairman Carol Stout, the reception for students who received scholarships and the 17 local organizations who received grants at the Johnson County Public Library meeting room in Mountain City, boasted of giving back to the community nearly $40,000. Since 1999, more than $1.3 million has been awarded in grants and scholarships.
“It is an honor to work with the members of the Johnson County Community Foundation Advisory Board,” said Trudy Hughes, Vice President of Regional Advancement.
Hughes emphasized that community leaders and volunteers serve tirelessly, securing contributions to increase the endowed funds so that the investment income is available for grants to deserving community organizations and projects.
“Funds are also made available by this means for scholarships for students pursuing post-secondary educational opportunities,” Hughes said, adding, “Johnson County is certainly one of the lead affiliate funds in our region and one which I am most pleased to serve.”
The Dry Run Volunteer Fire department was awarded funds to purchase protective gear for use when responding to house fires. The Friends of the Johnson County Library received funds to assist with their Read to be Ready program which will be bringing children’s author Jessica Young to Mountain City for programs for the county’s elementary students as well as a special training session for county teachers and parents. Heritage Hall was given monies to improve the security of the theater for performers and audience members.
A fall concert and summer day camp will be the goal for the money awarded to the Johnson County Arts Council’s Junior Appalachian Musicians
(JAM) program. The council also received funds for a marquee sign to be placed outside the Johnson County Center for the Arts. Additional funds were given to support the council’s Long Journey Home Celebration. The Johnson County Farmers Market was given funds to assist their efforts with the GoJoCo Kids Club. The market and community supporters intend to use the money to encourage kids to make the right nutritional decisions.
Johnson County High School had four programs awarded funds. The school’s Skills USA involvement was supported with an award for future travels to and participation in the national competition. The FFA was given money to add Virtual Reality capabilities to the classroom. The school’s Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) received money to allow four qualifying students to travel to the HOSA International Leadership Conference in Dallas, TX. The JCHS volleyball team was given the needed funds to finish purchasing team uniforms for away games.
The Johnson County Middle School’s VEX Robotics Team received money to continue the team’s participation in robotics competitions. Johnson County Humane Society was also supported with funds to continue their Spay and Neuter Incentive Program. Funds for an Outdoor Socialization
Project sought by the Johnson County Senior Center was also awarded. The money will be used to build an area for outdoor gathering that would benefit the senior center, Masons, Shriners, and Eastern Star all of which are in need of additional space.
The Mountain States Foundation’s plans to install three “Little Free Library” in local elementary schools, was funded to encourage healthier living
with literacy. Second Harvest Food Bank’s Food for Kids Backpack Program was awarded money to continue efforts to ensure at-risk youth do not go hungry during weekends and holiday breaks. The 4-H Camp Scholarship Program was given funds to allow students to attend 4-H summer camps and conferences at a discounted rate. JCCF was pleased with the total of $39,202.50 invested in the community through the various program and organization awards.