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More than $80,000 in grants awarded by BBCF

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Groups spanning 11 counties received some financial assistance from the Black Belt Community Foundation at its arts grants ceremony Saturday morning in the Hank Sanders Building of Wallace Community College Selma.

The BBCF, committed to enriching and supporting areas throughout the Black Belt, hosts this event every year. For the 2018 ceremony, 29 groups received more than $80,000 in grants for their projects and day-to-day operations.

The 11 counties with groups rewarded were Dallas, Bullock, Choctaw, Greene, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Pickens, Sumter and Wilcox. Additionally, there was a 12th category for organizations specializing in arts education.

For Dallas County, five organizations received grants from the BBCF.

ArtsRevive received $2,500 to go toward bringing storytellers to Selma City and Dallas County schools as a part of its Tale Tellin’ in the Schools program.

Family Affairs was awarded $2,500 for the use of media arts to support and heal victims of sexual abuse and/or domestic violence.

Kids 1st Disability Resource Center received $2,500 to provide art activities for the children and young adults with disabilities in the area.

Orrville Volunteer Fire Department was awarded $1,500 to support children’s art making activities and to help with stipends for demonstrating artists at the West Dallas Antique Tractor, Car, Gas Engine and Craft Show.

Selma Police Athletic League got $2,500 to build relationships among kids, cops and communities through landscape art. It will also provide kids with physical activity.

Two art education grants, totaling $10,000 a piece, were handed out to the Coleman Center for Arts and to Tuskegee-Macon County CDC to bolster their education programs, summer camps, scholarships and more.

For the recipients of the grants, the excitement of getting help could be seen on their faces. Some of them were first-time grantees of the BBCF, which made the moment all the more special.

First-time recipient Hightower Memorial Library of York received $2,500 to go toward visual arts and summer programs.

“We are first-time grantees, and we appreciate the help so much,” Laura Graves of Hightower Memorial Library said. “The reception today was very educational. I am excited to see how we and the other groups use this money.”

At the reception, each group took their turn getting called up by master of ceremony and BBCF community associate Chris Spencer and board member Darlene Robinson.

As each organization proudly accepted their certificate, the audience applauded while Robinson soaked in their excitement.

Somebody who loves giving back, Robinson was delighted to see how she could make an impact in people’s lives. All she asks in return is they use the funds to the best of their ability.

“I want you to take the money we just gave you and go do what you said you would use it for,” Robinson said.

With a large variety of programs and topics covered in their grants, the BBCF hopes to see a variety of change throughout Black Belt communities.

For more information about the Black Belt Community Foundation, go to their website at www.blackbeltfound.org.