Spring grant recipients announced

Submitted by Tory Jost

Spring is in the air, and the Nemaha County STEP Foundation Board of Directors has announced recipients for the first-round of 2021 grants. The grants are awarded for charitable purposes to enhance and improve the quality of life for the residents of Nemaha County. Requests totaled close to $80,000 for this round of grants, with the STEP Foundation awarding $24,250.

The City of Sabetha will be receiving an award of $4,000 to create an outdoor basketball court for people to gather and play ball for free. Two thousand dollars will come from the STEP General Endowment Fund and $2,000 from the Glen J. Meyer Advisory Fund. Community member Nathan Bauman shared in the grant application that, “In Sabetha, we do have an indoor basketball court in the Wellness Center, but there is a cost to use it. The only other place to play ball is the old Midtown building. However, that building is going to be torn down. This leaves nowhere for kids to go if they can’t afford to go to the Wellness Center.” Bauman went on to say, “This court would be located at the Old Legion Field (Field 4).”

Friends of the Mary Cotton Public Library will also be receiving $4,000 for the spring grant cycle. Again, $2,000 will come from the STEP General Endowment Fund and $2,000 from the Glen J. Meyer Fund. Sophia Bennett, president and grant writer, explained in the grant application that, “The Friends of the Mary Cotton Public Library is spearheading an extensive interior redesign of the Youth Library at the Mary Cotton Public Library. Rethinking the space to be more accessible to all, the new environment will support the evolving needs of the library and the community it serves. It will include age-specific zones, a variety of soft-seating options, more visible navigation and a safe, interactive area for toddlers.”

Bennett further shared, “Project R.E.A.D. (Reach, Engage and Discover), as the renovation project has been named, is focused on enhancing these five key areas: accessibility, safety, navigation, engagement and comfort. By thoughtfully addressing each of these, the new space’s design will better serve our community’s kids and families. Age-specific zones upstairs include a Toddler Area, Intermediate Area, Junior Area and a Junior STEM Zone. The Young Adult books will be moved downstairs to create a more mature area targeted to pre-teens and teens.”

Accuracy in weighing patients during their home care experience will be a wonderful improvement at the Nemaha County Home Health and Hospice thanks to the $1,250 being awarded from the STEP General Endowment Fund.

“In Home Health and Hospice, accurate patient weights are important. We provide services to several patients who are wheelchair bound or even bed bound [particularly hospice]. Having a portable wheelchair and bed scale will allow us to safely get accurate weights on our patients and allow us to monitor their weight throughout their home care experience,” said Jennifer Ploeger, director.

The final grant award will go to the Sacred Heart Baseball and Softball Association in Baileyville. The Glen J. Meyer Fund will award $15,000 to purchase a new light and power supply. Currently, there are several pending grants from the Glen J. Meyer Fund, so once those have been disbursed, the remaining balance will be disbursed to the Sacred Heart Baseball and Softball Association as well, closing out the fund.

Jennifer Rusche, softball director, explained in the grant application, “We are planning to update the outdated and no longer available lights at the ball field with cost-efficient lights and power supplies. New lights will help reduce the running costs for the Scared Heart Ball Association and the year-round lighting of the flag and Sacred Heart sign running along Highway 36. Along with replacing the lights since the current lights are non-replaceable, the cost of running the lights would be lowered.”

Congratulations to these grant recipients and for making Nemaha County a great place to live and work.

Grants are awarded twice a year through the STEP Foundation, with the next deadline being July 15, 2021. Online applications are accepted at www.nemahastep.org.

Executive Director Tory Jost is happy to assist with any questions at 785-294-0312. For the latest updates, like and follow the Nemaha County STEP Foundation on Facebook.



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