Two local groups in the running for up to $250,000 in grants

Published 11:16 pm Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Credit cards are notorious for eating up money, high interest rates and a whole long list of things especially in tough economic times. This week Chase, a major credit card company, announced that it will give away $5 million dollars in grant funding to local charities, and if all goes well with online voting — that money could go to two charities in Selma.

More than 130 charities were nominated to receive the grant funding in Alabama and more than 30,000 non-profits were nominated nation-wide.

Two Selma non-profits were nominated, The Central Alabama Animal Shelter and the Black Belt Community Foundation. Beginning on Sept. 6 and lasting through Sept. 19, anyone can vote for these, or any other charities they feel are deserving. Chase customers can also vote on the Chase website. The Chase Community Giving program will allocate grants totaling in $5 million to 196 charities that receive the most votes. The top charity, they will receive $250,000 in funding, the next top ten will receive $100,000, the next 35 with the most votes will receive $50,000 and the next two winning categories will receive $20,000 and $10,000.

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The President of the Board of Directors for the Central Alabama Animal Shelter, Cindy Utsey, said she had no idea that the shelter had been nominated, but was excited that someone must have kept them in mind.

“We have a huge intake and very, very low adoption,” Utsey said. “Being a southern town, we have a lot of people who don’t believe in spraying and neutering their animals so with the grant money we could start a program that would educate people on why its important.”

She also said even just a tiny slice of the Chase Community Giving program funding would go a long way. When asked what the grand prize of $25,000 would do for the shelter, she said it would be unimaginable.

“We could set up programs and go into schools and train pets to go to nursing homes and hospitals. But right now we just don’t have the money or man power to do that,” Utsey said.

The directors of the Black Belt Community Foundation were unaware they were nominated as well, but were just as excited to hear the news.

“Wow, we would put the money right back into the Black Belt and we would give grants to other organizations,” Felecia Jones, Director of the Black Belt Community Foundation said about what the non-profit would do with the grant of $250,000. “On an annual basis we award $200,000 in grant so we could double what we have been doing and make a greater impact on the community.”

To vote for The Black Belt Community Foundation and the Central Alabama Animal Shelter, visit from Sept. 6 until Sept. 19.