Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama awards more than $500,000 in grants

Big checks for big amounts.{} Making a big difference.

The Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama awarded more than $500,000 in grants Thursday morning.

"It's pretty remarkable to think that a half-million dollars is going back into the community," Tommie Goggans said.

"We are just delighted and so thankful for those non-profit organizations that really are in the trenches day by day helping those that really have the most need in our community."

Two grants went to 2nd Chance, a Anniston-based shelter for victims of domestic and sexual violence that serves several counties.{} Executive Director Susan Shipman applied for a grant to help replace the siding on the building.

"The first take on the shelter on a victim is really important for her to think that it is a place she would like to enter, and that it doesn't look crummy, and it's important for staff morale to have our facilities looking nice," Shipman said.

The shelter also received a grant for a much-needed new telephone system.

"We have a 24-hour crisis line and we need for our phones to operate properly.{} The system that we've got right now, one of the physical units just keeps dropping calls and that just won't do," Shipman said.

Many grants went toward operating expenses for programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters, Salvation Army, and American Red Cross.

"Red Cross is a national organization so we sort of spread the wealth around to make sure that we have chapter representation all over the country," Calhoun/Cleburne chapter executive Joe Jankoski said.

"This will help us stand up for ourselves a little bit.{} We try to be as self-sufficient as we can in some smaller areas or areas that don't have much as the resources as other parts of the country where it's a little bit tougher.

"This helps us carry our own load and it comes from where we work and where we do our operations.{} It really means a lot that we're able to get support from the city of Anniston."

The Community Foundation also provided funding for a splash pad at Zinn Park, which is across the street from Anniston's police station.{} Parks and Recreation director Steven Folks said the splash pad is the final phase of an all-inclusive play area for families, which is handicap accessible.

"It's just going to really enhance the quality of life for our youth, for our senior citizens, for our mentally and physically challenged population," Folks said.

"Have family play time together, and just actually do some great things for the city of Anniston so we're moving forward."

Folks said the splash pad should be open in Summer 2014.

The funding for many of the grants came from donations which did not specify a recipient.{} The Community Foundation has a panel of about 30-people which reviews the grant requests, and decides which ones{}can best benefit the area for the immediate future.