Fund Distribution Grants

funding dreams

Soroptimist International of Saratoga County announces the availability of $25,000 in grant funding for organizations that serve the needs of women and girls in Saratoga County. These awards, given by the club each year, seek to improve the lives and quality of life of women and girls in our local community. A list of grants awarded in 2017 appears below.

Download the 2018 grant applicaton here.
Completed applications must be received by January 31, 2018. Email (preferred) to: deesarno@earthlink.net or

Mail to:

Soroptimist International of Saratoga County
c/o Dee Sarno
44 Pamela Lane
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

 

 

2017 fund distribution grants

Grants for 2017 were awarded to Saratoga County-based organizations working in a variety of ways to improve the quality of life for women and children in the region. The total amount of grants awarded was $45,090 to 22 organizations. The organizations include Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council, Ballston Area Community Center, Bridging People and Places, Camp Abilities, Dance Alliance (MOVE), Fast Break Fund, Franklin Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, Jr Achievement, Literacy NENY, Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Saratoga Center for the Family, Saratoga County EOC, Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning, Saratoga Regional YMCA, Saratoga War Horse, Shelters of Saratoga, Soul Saving Station, To Life! Inc., Wellspring, and Wilton Wildlife Preserve. More details about these organizations and how they will use their grants are provided below. We also support Wellspring with Project Hope and Power program, a financial literacy program which has been shown to be successful in empowering women and increasing their ability to reach their goals. Our $5,000 grant provided to Wellspring in 2017 will enable them to continue to their important work resulting in the improvement of the lives of so many women and girls from our commnunity. 

Adult and Senior Center of Saratoga

The Senior Center offers about 80 classes per month, including ceramics, stained glass, carving, mosaics, aerobics, painting, Pilates, yoga, Zumba, rug hooking, knitting, crocheting and more. The Center tries to keep class costs as low as $10-20 per month as otherwise low or fixed income senior would not be able to afford to participate. Last year 243 seniors took classes in and of these 198 were women, and they were able to provide 56 scholarships and purchase much needed class supplies using funding provided to them previously by SISC. Our grant of $2,000 will continue to help provide scholarships to women for classes, programs, and membership, plus help support the Center’s senior shuttle. Every Wednesday the senior shuttle is used to transport a number of homebound senior women to Center. The shuttle gives them a much-needed opportunity to get out of the house. Lack of transportation leads to isolation and a decline in socialization, which has negative effects on the senior’s physical, emotional and mental health.

The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council of Saratoga County

“Reconnecting Youth” is a drop-out prevention class with a peer-group approach to building life skills with high-risk students. The first workshop will teach “How to calm oneself down when angry at school” and the second will focus on dealing with anxiety in today’s teen world. The course is designed to foster personal and social skills such as self-esteem, healthy decision making, personal control and interpersonal communication. Our grant of $725 will help provide these two workshops to approximately 40 at-risk high school females from Glens Falls High School. The workshops will be facilitated by Harriett Rubenstein, LCSW who has over 30 years of experience working in mental health. Rubenstein will be providing coping skills and strategies students can use while in school and throughout their lives. Prevention Council staff will be involved in all aspects of the workshop preparation and delivery and will reinforce with students during the year.

Ballston Spa Area Community Center (BACC)

The BACC’s On The Go! travel program is an eight-week summer program for youths aged ten to 16 years old.  The program gives children the opportunity to travel all around New York, Vermont and Massachusetts to experience some great activities such as museums, beaches, outdoor adventure sports, theme parks, the New York State Fair, etc. Because BACC promotes positive peer relations, the youth learn healthy ways to resolve conflicts, express feelings, and how to be an effective team member.  The youths are given a chance to explore new interests and challenges offered by the program and staff, who are highly trained in not only how to properly supervise the children, but also how to be positive role models and mentors. Our grant of $1,720 will help cover the costs for one child or several children attend this program from households headed by single mothers.

Bridging People and Places

Our grant of $750 will go towards the purchase of 200 teddy bears for this organizations Bear Hugs program. Volunteer knitters from all over the area and beyond, knit or crochet and donate sweaters and hats that are used to dress the bears before they end up in the arms of children at a critical time in their lives. The bears are dressed, hugged and filled with love by local children, Girl Scouts doing service projects, seniors, and residents at nursing homes. Bridging People and Places is an all-volunteer organization. The bears will be made available to a variety of organizations that serve women and children. In 2016 2,000 “Bear Hugs” were distributed to organizations, such as Double H Ranch, Project Lift, and Hospice who serve women and children throughout the area. A teddy bear for some women or child going through a crisis is their lives is a welcome diversion in their life.  

Camp Abilities, Saratoga A Service Project of Lions Club

Camp Abilities is a residential sports camp for youngsters between the ages of ten and 18 years old who are visually impaired, blind, or deaf. Each camper participates in different sports activities with the aim of introducing them to something they may have never engaged in before. The mission of this camp is to empower the campers to develop their self-esteem, coordination, agility and their appreciation of different sports. The camp seeks to change what it means to be blind and is driven by a part of its motto: A loss of sight, never a loss of vision. Camp Abilities is held at Skidmore College and provides the campers a weeklong break from a world designed for sighted people. They become familiar with many sports and development activities, such as paddle boarding, track & field, judo, and self-defense. Our grant of $7,000 will help provide support for two female campers and two female counselors who will be assigned to assist the special needs campers.

Dance Alliance, Inc.

MOVE is an Outreach Dance Program for at-risk and Special Needs teenagers who attend high schools and BOCES programs in the Saratoga Springs School District. Of the current group of 35-40 teens, 85% of the teens are students with Downs Syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, brain injury, or who are wheel chair bound. The dance teachers, choreographers and Skidmore dance students who work with these students are dedicated to providing a safe, interactive, creative dance experience. The improvement physical coordination, collaboration with others, positive self-esteem, and spatial awareness that occurs through original choreography is evident in this dance experience. Our grant of $1,000 will be used to help MOVE celebrate their 15th Anniversary in 2018. There will a free performance at the Saratoga Springs High School Auditorium with four original works choreographed by four female dance choreographers. The MOVE teens will perform in one of the dances and also have a personal tour of the National Museum of Dance with NYC Ballet dancer Savannah Lowery with a Master Class and then a trip to SPAC to see Lowery on stage with the NYC Ballet Dancers. Our grant will help pay for SPAC tickets for the MOVE teenagers and cover fees for choreographers, teachers, and the Master Class Teacher.

The Fast Break Fund

There is a huge need in the greater Saratoga area to provide summer opportunities for underprivileged youth and children with special needs who cannot afford to go to camp. With exposure and participation in sports, children gain valuable lifelong skills. The Fast Break Fund basketball camp provides an atmosphere that teaches and enforces development in areas of responsibility, dedication, time management, teamwork, physical fitness and discipline. These are all important qualities that help build self-esteem and leadership in today’s youth. The average cost to send a camper for a week is $300. Our grant of $1,000 will help send three to five young women to summer basketball camp.   

Franklin Community Center (FCC)

The FCC’s Project Lift Program provides a safe and secure environment for at-risk students to learn and have fun after school. Project Lift is in all six elementary schools in Saratoga Springs School District. There are currently 57 young girls attending. The program is based on evidence-based programs & strategies and positive outcomes include: productive, independent and confident girls, improved school performance and self-esteem, decreased reports of violent and problem behavior at school and at home. Our grant of $2,000 will be used toward purchasing socks, underwear, clothing and warm items for winter, hygiene items, healthy snacks, and canned goods. These items will not only benefit the girls who attend Project Lift, but also their female siblings, their mothers or female caregivers (currently 43 single moms). In addition the grant will help with cover the costs for a year-end picnic at each of the six elementary schools.

Habitat for Humanity Northern Saratoga, Warren, and Washington Counties

A dilapidated home was acquired by the City of Saratoga Springs and working in conjunction with the city, Habitat for Humanity received the property from the city with the stipulation that two qualified families would be able to purchase the home under the supervision of Habitat. Our grant of $3,000 will help the Caprood family, who are one of the selected Habitat Family Partners, to complete the work still needed at their home. Hope, her two oldest children and Hope’s mom have been working diligently every Saturday on their new home: installing insulation, hanging sheetrock and more to put in 500 hours of work equity on the house.

Junior Achievement (JA) of Northeastern New York, Inc.

The purpose of the JA’s Elementary School Program is to show K-5 students the relation of education to the workplace through sequential business and economics programs. With a variety of hands-on activities, delivered by a role model (volunteer), students will better understand the relationship between what they learn in school and their successful participation in the economy. Students who participate in JA’s elementary school program have a greater comprehension of economic and business concepts that strengthen their problem solving and critical-thinking skills.

Program themes are designed for each grade level: 

  •     K-Ourselves; Engaging stories and dynamic activities to install values.
  •     1st – Our families: Focusing on the roles people play in their local economy.
  •     2nd – Our Community: Understanding how life outside of home and school begins.
  •     3rd – Our City; Designed to inspire student exploration of jobs people perform.
  •     4th – Our Region:  This program introduces students to entrepreneurship.  
  •     5th – Our Nation:  The concept of business globalization is explored as it relates to business resources and careers.  Through engaging activities students learn about STEM skills, resources and job skills. 

Our grant of $1,000 will help underwrite the cost of the materials needed for the curriculum for each of the 10 classes that take place in schools located in Saratoga County.

Literacy NY Greater Capital Region

Many of the adult learners who participate in programs are ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse. 90% of the students are women. Literacy programs not only help individuals improve their literacy skills, but also to develop life skills to help them become contributing members of our community. Literacy programs have lost significant support and funding from the state, and our grant of $1,000 will help sustain the ongoing literacy programs in Saratoga Springs including Program Coordinator training and Tutor Training. 

Rebuilding Together Saratoga County

Rebuilding Together Saratoga County recruits and manages volunteers, plans and oversees the project, and purchases materials and supplies. There is never a cost to the homeowners they assist, due to the hard work of the unskilled and skilled volunteers in the community. In order to be eligible for services homeowners must have a household income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income (considered low-income).

There are currently 100 homeowners on waiting list. In 2016 Rebuilding Saratoga served 120 households. Our grant of $1,500 will help cover the costs associated with a “light” project of home repairs and/or accessibility modifications for a low-income female head of household.  Actual project costs for a “light” project will fluctuate based on the degree of repairs necessary. Our Soroptimist grant will go towards materials and contracted labor, transportation costs, and general operating costs.

Saratoga Center for the Family

Our grant of $1,845 to this organization will be used to support their ‘Heel to Heal’ program. This successful program was originally designed for teen-aged girls to increase self-esteem, confidence, coping skills and physical activity. The Center counseling staff determined that the same program, with a few small changes, would be beneficial for women experiencing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and trauma. The goal of the program is to serve 12-15 women per session, offering 2 sessions per year for a 10-week program.

The first hour for group is a psychotherapy session.  The second hour of the group will be a one-hour structured endurance workout that includes: a Safe injury reduction, efficiency warm-up, review of Good Form Running, a light, slow workout building in quarter mile increments each week. The goal is to train for a 5K Goal Race at the end of the 10 weeks. The use of “run therapy” is documented as offering physical and psychological benefits for women with depression, anxiety, etc. Objectives of “Heel to Heal” include helping women to manage emotional and physical boundaries, express feelings and improve communication skills, deal with stress, learn new coping skills, and strengthen overall functioning.

Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council (EOC)

Personal care products, diapers and household cleaning products are items that are asked for daily by EOC families and are necessities that families struggle to afford. These items cannot be purchased using food stamps, and not having access to these items causes not only health issues, but, also self-esteem issues to an already vulnerable population. Often, with food insecurities, people have to choose between living expenses and needed personal care items. They will use water alone to clean themselves and baking powder under arm pits. Our grant of $2,000 will help EOC to provide that hand-up and can go far toward eliminating the problems that have been identified with improper hygiene.

Saratoga Foundation for Innovative Learning (SFIL)

The purpose of the 2017 project is to create an engaging environment for children in grade levels 1 through 7, by providing engineer-based activities at the Saratoga Springs High School through the Educating Young Engineers (EYE) program. The project is organized and led by female high school students, and they have attracted more girls into this project by their enthusiastic role models.

New themes such as Architecture & Design have been added to the program in pursuance of complex challenges and games. Through activities, such as building and designing sustainable bridges catapults, planes, etc., the younger children discover the fun of engineering. EYE meets directly with the students four times a year to hold Saturday engineering programs at the high school. Our grant of $1,000 will be used toward the purchase of toy car motors, electric circuit supplies, wood and plastic building materials for the EYE program.

Saratoga Regional YMCA

YMCA of Saratoga is dedicated to strengthening community and focuses its work in three key areas: Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility. The YMCA nurtures the potential of every child and teen by supporting their unique youth development journey through holistic programming. Camp Together Outdoors, Great Adventures (TOGA) runs for nine one-week sessions in the summer for 1st grade through 10th grade children. Campers can participate in a variety of activities including sports, team building, nature activities, trips, swimming, and new in 2017 is the high ropes course, a new archery range, along with more gaga pits and a new bouldering wall. While Camp TOGA does provide necessary programming that helps working parents, it is much more than a summer activity for kids. It is a place for values, learning, skill building, self-confidence and fulfilling dreams. It is a place where campers practice social and emotional skills. There is an elementary program and middle/high school program. According to the YMCA they are one of the only day camps in Saratoga County that provide scholarships for low income families or families who have extreme hardships. Our grant of $2,000 will be used to help provide camp scholarships to girls in our community.

Saratoga War Horse Foundation

Our grant of $3,000 will help cover the costs of meals, travel, and lodging for one local female veteran to attend a three-day equine assisted experience offered by this foundation. Female veterans who are suffering from invisible, psychological wounds and want to get their lives back on track are provided support by this foundation. Saratoga War Horse provides a three-day confidential peer-to-peer action based, equine assisted experience, in an emotionally safe environment, that initiates immediate and long-lasting empowering changes. By utilizing the silent language of the horse, a mutual trust and profound bond is established that goes beyond verbal communication.

Shelters of Saratoga (SOS)

The Code Blue Saratoga program is a winter weather dependent emergency shelter that serves anyone in need of safe shelter. The needs of the women served by Code Blue are more basic in nature. Items commonly purchased for this program include: feminine hygiene products, underwear, bras, boots, warm clothing and backpacks. The SOS year-round, two day per week drop-in program provides a safe, warm and dry environment for chronically homeless individuals to do laundry, take a shower, get a meal and connect with critical resources. The needs of women staying in the case-managed shelter and affordable housing units are typically more specific to their given situation and are generally goal oriented.

Our grant of $3,000 will be used to help support the Women’s Emergency Fund Project. Some examples of expenses that have been offset include medical co-pays, transportation fees, personal identification, and specific clothing items. When funding has been a concern, the emergency fund has effectively made up for these gaps. Regardless of which SOS program a woman is accessing, the stress and anxiety endured by women experiencing homelessness takes its toll.

Soul Saving Station

The Mother Susan Anderson Emergency Shelter at 60 Caroline Street is run and owned by the Soul Serving Station Church. For 30 years they have supported homeless women and children in this facility. The kitchen in the facility is in great need of repair and needs to be redesigned and upgraded. Our grant of $2,550 will be used to help cover the costs of kitchen cabinets, countertops, and flooring. Most of the labor costs are being donated. They are governed by the NYS Fair Housing Act as well as Equal Housing Opportunity policies and procedures.

To Life! Inc.

As a provider of support services for families affected by breast cancer, To Life!, is acutely aware of the importance of education and its effect on quality of life. The mission of To Life! Is to educate the community about breast cancer detection, treatments and related health matters. Our grant of $1,000 will help To Life! to do outreach in Saratoga County. Statistics indicate that Saratoga County is a High Priority area, the second highest number of breast cancer patients in our region. Their outreach will include their largest breast cancer educational forum, the 19th Annual Beat the Odds, taking place in Saratoga Springs in August 2017. The program will address the latest information in breast cancer research, diagnosis, treatments, and survivorship issues. It will feature three expert speakers representing the medical and wellness communities. The event will be filmed for viewing through public access television.

Wilton Wildlife Preserve & Park (WWP)

WWP is concerned about statistics that prove “social and environmental factors” contribute to the under-representation of women in science and engineering. A recent study of 4th graders showed that 66% of girls and 68% of boys reported liking science. But that ratio goes down when girls get older and are influenced by the stereotypes of only men working in laboratories and only men developing scientific experiments. Educational programs at the WWP are rooted in the sciences and are designed to foster an atmosphere of discovery, encourage on-going exploration, and to instill a sense of wonder in the diversity of the world in which we live.

The WWP Executive Director, the Environmental Education Interns, and most of the educators are women and they serve as role models to children interested in the sciences. They bring their programs to local elementary schools and to Project Lift. Their weekend school vacation programs and nature walks are all free and open to any participant. Our grant of $1,000 will be used to help cover the cost associated with the WWP’s Environmental Education and Conservation Internship Program, which they hope to continue offering for free to all participants.