Welfare League distributes more than $80,000

CHAD PLAUCHE-ADKINS The Marietta Times Members of Washington County's philanthropic community gather together at the Betsey Mills Club on Tuesday. They were there to receive their portion of the $81,018.35 in grant money given out by the Marietta Welfare League.

The Marietta Welfare League gathered 51 appreciative organizations at the Betsey Mills Club on Tuesday to provide lunch and more than $80,000 in grants to the groups that strive to make Washington County a better place to live.

Susan Barengo is the coordinator for Scholars on Fourth. Her organization is based out of the First Presbyterian Church on Fourth Street and offers after school tutoring for fourth and fifth graders in the county. Barengo said the $500 her group received will help pay for school supplies and food for the 12 children who currently attend the program.

Barengo said the league’s increased participation in helping organizations like her own is greatly appreciated.

“The amount of money they are now giving is great,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see them continue to grow.”

Trisha Miller, president of the Marietta Welfare League, said the 93-year-old organization uses money earned at the League Shop in Marietta Memorial Hospital as the main source of funding for the grants.

“We sell food, gifts, snacks and have a full coffee bar,” she said. “And we have the best hand dipped milk shakes since 1957.”

Miller said there are 26 volunteers and 10 paid employees who run the shop, which donates 100 percent of profits to the grant fund. Even though Miller said the guidelines to receive funding from the league aren’t as strict as most grants, there are still some rules to which applicants must adhere.

“The funding must be used in Washington County,” she said. “They must be a boots-on-the-ground, community-based organization.”

Miller said the funds given can’t be used for general operational costs like utilities or rent, but instead are meant for day-to-day requirements that help the philanthropic groups get to the front lines of need.

Tiffany Ferguson, director of child care at the Betsey Mills Club, said the $1,625 in grant funds her organization was receiving will be used to purchase much needed equipment for the children who attend the club’s child care programs.

“We received $625 for new life jackets for the pool,” she said. “We let the kids swim once a week.”

Ferguson said the other $1,000 was being used for a replacement kit for a six-child stroller that the daycare uses for transporting infants on walks. She said her staff comes up with suggestions for improvements to the club, but without support from organizations like the Marietta Welfare League, achieving funding for the ideas may never happen.

“Teachers get together and decide what we can make better,” she said. “But it’s hard to buy the high dollar items all at once.”

Miller said most applications in the past have been sent to the league via letter that explains the organization and its mission. She said a new process was in the works, though, and interested applicants should continue to check the league’s Facebook page and website for updates to the process. Miller said any organization that tries to help the people in Washington County should apply.

“We are a flexible group,” she said. “We want to do the most good.”

At a glance

•What: Marietta Welfare League’s community grants reception.

•Where: Betsey Mills Club on Fourth Street.

•Amount distributed: $81,018.35.

• Organizations that received funding: There were 51 groups and organizations that received grants to include: The Daily Bread Kitchen, Harvest of Hope, Marietta Ukulele Choir, The Castle, Habitat for Humanity of the MOV, Friends of the Hearing Impaired, Gowns for Your Day, Friends of Forgotten Felines, Washington County Special Olympics and High Schools that Rock.