Wednesday, October 31, 2001

United Way names grant winners

Money comes from dropping N.Ky. center

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — The United Way has announced the winners of the $171,000 in grants that formerly funded a center geared to helping the black community.

        Two Greater Cincinnati non-profit agencies and two collaborative efforts will receive $171,167 in United Way funds that the charity chose not to award to the Northern Kentucky Community Center.

        The money will fund health education, youth mentoring, substance abuse, emergency services, after school care and young adult mentoring for East Covington residents.

        Through two public community forums and 900 door-to-door surveys, the United Way determined that those were East Covington's top needs, said Carol Aquino, United Way spokeswoman.

        Last May, the United Way announced it was cutting funding to the Northern Kentucky Community Center, located in the heart of Covington's African-American community.

        The center, which was criticized for late audits, unpaid utility bills and poor management, lost $171,167 in United Way funding, or about half its annual budget, in July.

        On Tuesday, the United Way announced those funds will now go to two Greater Cincinnati nonprofit agencies and two collaborative partnerships, beginning this Thursday. Nine proposals were submitted.

        Rollins Davis, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Community Center, said that his agency did not apply for the funds, even though it was eligible. He said the center, based in the former Lincoln Grant School, continues to offer day care, after-school activities, a commodities program, homeless prevention and community outreach.

        “We'll work with anyone who's working in the sincere interest of the people of East Covington,” Mr. Davis said Tuesday.

        Funded agencies include:

        • The Avondale-based Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, which received $16,083 for youth mentoring and job training and placement for residents 13 to 24.

        A community health educator also will be made available to advise East Covington residents on health concerns and refer them to the appropriate provider, said Sarah Shell, the Urban League's director of development. There will be monthly workshops on eye care, dental care, exercise and nutrition, cardiovascular care and diabetes.

        Although most of the organization's direct services have been concentrated in Hamilton County, Ms. Shell said the Urban League is excited about helping Northern Kentucky residents.

        “We haven't provided direct services in Northern Kentucky, but we have served Northern Kentuckians who've been willing to come to us at our job fair and other programs,” Ms. Shell said.

        • The Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, which received $20,069 for senior services and emergency services case management.

        The money for senior services will be used to hire a home care assistant who will provide light housekeeping to low-income seniors in East Covington, said Jennifer Shofner, the group's director of program development. Of the 31 seniors the agency now serves in Kenton County, 19 are in East Covington.

        The agency's United Way allotment also will be used to recruit East Covington residents 55 and older into its training and employment program, with the goal of helping them find jobs. It also will be used to improve the agency's emergency assistance efforts, when it comes to helping low-income residents pay utilities, or obtain food, clothing or shelter.

        “We'll be spending a lot of one-on-one time with residents to make sure they're receiving all the services they're eligible for, in hopes of promoting self-sufficiency,” Ms. Shofner said.

        The two collaborative efforts funded are:

        • The OASIS (Offering Assistance, Subsistence, Information and Support Inc.) program at Ninth Street Baptist Church in Covington which is receiving $31,841 for community-based substance abuse treatment. It will add a licensed clinical counselor and family programs.

        Family Services of Northern Kentucky, which has its main office in Covington, will get $18,240 to work with OASIS and provide a part-time staff member at Ninth Street Baptist Church for counseling families affected by substance abuse.

        • Youth Enrichment Services (YES), a partnership of six entities, is receiving a total of $84,934 for after-school care and young adult mentoring, tutoring, character development and youth leadership training. Services will be provided at Thomas Edison School, the Kenton County Public Library in Covington, and the Housing Authority of Covington at Jacob Price Homes.

        Members of the collaboration and their allocations are Children, Inc., $14,611; the city of Covington recreation department, $10,500; Covington Community Center, $32,205; Covington Housing Authority, $15,957; Kenton County Public Library, $4,500; and Literacy in Northern Kentucky, $7,161.

        “We will make sure that everybody gets the help they need, so that we can be answerable to the community and to the United Way,” said Tom DiBello, executive director of the Covington Community Center, which is the coordinating agency for YES.


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