Spark joy, receive a project grant

Giving circle has $12K up for grabs

PORT TOWNSEND — Real joy, real money: For the Better Living through Giving circle, they go together.

That circle, a group of 13 Jefferson County residents who pool their money to support local projects, is starting a “Spark Joy” grant program, with $12,000 to back it up.

That’s the total amount Better Living through Giving, a giving circle working with the Jefferson Community Foundation, has set aside for grants to be made this spring and summer. Individual awards can be as much as $1,500 for projects that generate joy, noted Rena Murman, a member of the circle.

Applications will be accepted this Saturday through June 1, with awards to be announced June 15. Youngsters are encouraged to apply with the support of a parent or guardian sponsor, and the details can be found at JCFgives.org/spark-joy.

“We would love things that are youth-oriented and intergenerational,” Murman said.

A joy-sparking activity could be a gardening project with young people, she added, or a project that engages and highlights a particular facet of the community.

Funded projects must take place in Jefferson County, “and we’d especially welcome proposals from our west end,” Murman said.

This effort is modeled after a Greater Tacoma Community Foundation program that made grants to fund musical events, for example, as well as a dinner organized by the Filipino community there.

“We want to hear those ideas [that] engage the imagination,” Murman said, while celebrating diversity in Jefferson County.

Since the Better Living through Giving circle began six years ago, it has granted a total of $53,750 to support Jefferson County programs.

Awards include $10,000 to the Community Boat Project’s internships for 18- to 25-year-olds; $20,000 to the Northwest Watershed Institute to establish its YES! (Youth Environmental Stewards) program; $10,000 to the Port Townsend Library to establish the Girls Create camp; $11,000 to the Northwest Maritime Center to launch its Real World Readiness program for adjudicated young people; and $2,750 to Blue Heron Middle School’s summer rocketry camp.

For more about giving circles — like-minded people who pool their charitable donations to have a bigger impact in their community — visit JCFgives.org or phone 360-385-1729.

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Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected] news.com.

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