PORT TOWNSEND — Having supported the feeding and sheltering of our bodies, the Jefferson Community Foundation now seeks to bolster those who feed our souls.
That’s the message from foundation staffers Siobhan Canty and Jen Kingfisher. This week they’re issuing a call for grant proposals from local arts and culture organizations, especially those with projects that contribute to community recovery from the pandemic.
Presenters of music, theater, dance, visual art, community festivals and gatherings are all eligible for grants of up to $15,000 each, said Kingfisher, the nonprofits relations manager for Jefferson Community Foundation (JCF). Event spaces and libraries are also potential grant recipients, she added.
Applications are due July 2, noted Canty, the foundation’s president and CEO. Forms and more information can be found at JCFgives.org. More than $100,000 in funding is available to the arts and culture sector, she said.
This is to be the last round of COVID Response & Recovery Fund grant awards.
In April, JCF began the transition from emergency funding to the support of cultural groups. Grants were made, for example, to Key City Public Theatre, where $17,000 helped fund a new ventilation system and hands-free restroom fixtures, and to Port Townsend’s Quimper Grange, which received $4,900 for modern air filtration equipment.
The grange hall is now available for rental again, and it will host a public open house from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 1219 Corona St.
“With public health reporting that over 60 percent of Jefferson County’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, restrictions on gathering are beginning to lift,” Canty noted, so JCF is eager to help the organizations that hold those gatherings.
“This is about reviving connections that had been severed by the pandemic,” she said.
“Arts and culture organizations can create spaces where people can connect, reflect on what we’ve been through in the last year and a half — and think about our future together.”
“We want people to think creatively,” Canty added about the arts not only as a means of attracting tourists but also of building community here.
“Our arts and culture organizations are such an important part of who we are … It’s time for them to come front and center,” Canty said.
From March 2020 forward, JCF allocated more than $700,000 through its COVID Response & Recovery Fund.
Those grants supported local human services organizations across the nonprofit spectrum: Dove House, the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, St. Vincent de Paul, Bayside Housing & Services and the Cedarbrook Early Learning child care center were among the 34 groups to receive aid.
The money helped local residents pay rent and utilities, help their children in school and access meals on weekends and during the summer.
People who had lost jobs because of the pandemic received crisis assistance, as did people who needed emergency shelter throughout the winter.
Donations to the COVID Response & Recovery Fund are still being accepted, Canty said.
The JCFgives.org site is the place to make an online contribution, while the Jefferson Community Foundation address is P.O. Box 1394, Port Hadlock, WA 98339.
To reach the staff by phone, call 360-385-1729.
Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]