CHATHAMPORT — Thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists, 10 Lower Cape organizations are sharing $30,000 in grants to enhance the quality of life in Chatham.
The grants were announced at a reception last week held by the Cape Cod Foundation, which manages the Chatham Fund endowment. Recipients gathered at the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center to share their stories.
Theresa Malone of Monomoy Community Services praised the Chatham Fund for supporting not only “hot spot” problems but also initiatives that support long-term community needs.
“They have struck this ‘forest for the trees’ balance,” she said. As it has for 45 years, Monomoy Community Services provides affordable child care and other services for families, and is using its $8,700 grant to bring kids to the beach during the summer. Funds will also be used to provide backpacks filled with school supplies for local children.
The Marconi Center was awarded $2,000 to support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education programs. Board President Dick Kraycir said the funds allow scholarships for working families, offsetting the expense of hiring teachers and purchasing equipment.
The $5,000 grant given to the Family Pantry of Cape Cod will purchase 20,000 meals, Executive Director Christine Menard told the group. In Chatham, more than 70 clients are receiving groceries through a special van that visits the senior center, and most of those clients are new.
“We know the outreach is working,” she said.
The Chatham Orpheum Theater received $2,000 for monthly “senior movie days,” when residents of local assisted living facilities can visit and see a film for free. “It’s been a long, cold winter for all of us,” Executive Director Kevin McLain said. Without the occasional fun outing with friends, it would seem much longer, he noted. Seeing a film every month “really means a lot to these folks,” he said.
Another $2,000 grant benefits a different type of entertainment in town. First Night Chatham will use its money for its Children’s Button Fund, which provides First Night Buttons to needy local families, charging them only what they can afford to pay. Upwards of 170 adults and 100 kids received buttons through the program last year, First Night Chairman Ron Clark said.
The Homeless Prevention Council received $2,000 to support Chatham residents at risk of losing their housing. Board member Marcey Long said the funds would provide school supplies and backpacks for children, gifts during the holidays, and individual assistance to help families develop a path to self-sufficiency.
A number of Chatham families also receive help from the Lower Cape Outreach Council, which Executive Director Larry Marsland said provides “a full wrap-around service” for clients. The $2,500 grant will help support emergency mortgage, rent and other shelter costs for local families. The council has a new job center in Orleans, and helped 30 people find full-time jobs with benefits last year, he said.
“Best of all, we are sending people to school” to learn the skills for higher-paying jobs, Marsland said.
The $3,000 given to the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary will support a conservation science education program at Chatham Elementary School and will provide scholarships for local kids who could not otherwise afford to attend this summer’s natural history day camp. The funds help youngsters “explore some of the special places here in Chatham,” Executive Director Bob Prescott said.
In the same spirit, a $2,000 grant went to Pleasant Bay Community Boating, supporting its annual “first sail” program that brings third graders in the Monomoy and Nauset schools on a sailing excursion. The funds also help a joint sailing program with Monomoy Community Services and the popular “senior sailing day” for older adults.
The Creative Arts Center also received a grant of $800 to provide art classes for clients of Cape Abilities.
The Chatham Fund was created five years ago and has nearly grown enough to become a permanent endowment, Cape Cod Foundation Board Chairman Henry Holden said.
“We have almost $700,000 that we’ve raised toward our $1 million goal,” he said.
To support the Chatham Fund, call 508-790-3040 or visit www.CapeCodFoundation.org.