WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Several local organizations recently received $8,300 in grant money, thanks to the Greater Williams Community Fund (GWCF).
Linda and Chuck Eaton started the GWCF in 2005 in memory of their son Kevin Twitty, who died three years earlier at age 25. The GWCF is an endowed fund that started through an agreement with the Arizona Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that manages the money.
The GWCF doesn't use the fund's principle, but can use about 5 percent of the interest each year for grants, explained Kristine Vasquez, chair of the GWCF steering committee.
"It will always be here for the people of Williams and that's why it's really important," she said.
This year the following 10 groups received grant money:
Coconino County Community Services: $1,700 for Senior Center lunches and the Meals on Wheels program;
Civitan Foundation: $1,350 to offset some of the cost for the fire suppression system in the kitchen at Camp Civitan;
Special Olympics Arizona: $500 for the Williams Special Olympics team to travel to the state competition;
St. Vincent de Paul St. Joseph's Conference: $1,500 for assisting the poor in Williams, Ash Fork and Seligman with utilities, food and shelter costs;
Williams Area Habitat for Humanity: $1,000 for insulation costs for the home on Wells Fargo Drive;
Veterans of Foreign Wars Matthew James Broehm Post 12128: $700 for a generator to be used for grilling during community events;
SAVE-Meant to Rescue: $500 to offset spay and neuter costs;
Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council: $250 for one Girl Scout event to take place in Williams;
Friends of the Williams Aquatic Center: $500 to offset some of the cost for free swim days;
And Williams Alliance for the Arts: $300 for software for the art center computer system.
GWCF Steering Committee members awarded the grants to the recipients on June 20. Vasquez said local organizations have a tremendous need for the GWCF. The steering committee was not able to award the entire amount of grant money the organizations asked for this year, which was $17,767.
"If you have the funds you can do wonderful work, like possibly starting Girl Scouts back again here in Williams and keeping the seniors fed...and the Special Olympics," Vasquez said. "If it hadn't been for us they wouldn't have gone to Phoenix."
While the goal is to build up a fund balance of $1 million, the fund currently has about $200,000. Since 2005, the GWCF has provided $43,700 in grant money.
"Basically what we look for is that their program is sustainable," she said. "In other words that it's really helping others."
Vasquez encouraged people to donate to the fund, regardless of the amount they are able to give.
"It all goes in your name for Williams, and you know that you've given it and that you're helping Williams grow," she said.