St. Benedict’s, Girls Inc. receive $100K Impact100 grants – Messenger Inquirer Article

Girls Inc. and St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter each received $100,000 grants Thursday night after being selected by the members of Impact100.

Five finalists, who were in the running for the two $100,000 “transitional” grants, gave presentations during the ceremony that was held at the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

After the presentations, the Impact 100 members voted to give Girls Inc. and St. Benedict’s the $100,000 grants.

“I wish we had enough money to fund everybody,” Impact100 President Linda Wahl told the finalists shortly before the grants were announced. “Everybody has such wonderful dreams and you all have such passion.”

Thursday was the 16th Impact100 grant cycle, with the organization raising $256,500.

“We ask them to dream big, because $100,000 is a lot of money,” Wahl said. “We look at the impact (the grant) will have now and in the future.”

St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter’s “Living with Dignity” project includes the renovation of the facility’s bathrooms and upgrading washers and dryers.  The West Seventh Street men’s shelter still has some of the original bathroom fixtures from when the building was constructed in the 1960s.  “We have two sinks, four toilets and two very tiny showers” for the 64 men who stay at the shelter each night, AmeriCorps volunteer Renee Beasley Jones told Impact members.  Local jail inmates enjoy better bathroom facilities “than men experiencing homelessness in Daviess County,” Jones said.  Jeff Berry, program director for St. Benedict’s women and family day shelter, said the new bathroom facilities will reduce shelter utility expenses and will be more efficient.

Berry added that having better bathroom and laundry facilities will help St. Benedict’s clients as the get ready for work in the morning, and will aid them as they prepare to transition into housing of their own. “It really helps these guys out and shows the community really loves them,” Berry said. “We are very honored to get this.”

Girls Inc.’s “Getting Grounded and Safe” project is aimed at upgrading and repairing old equipment and furnishings to create a safe and enriching environment. Girls Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tish Correa Osborne said the organization will do renovations at both its Rolling Heights and New Hartford Road locations, including fixing walls and ceilings, replacing carpets, installing better lighting and upgrading security.

“It’s bittersweet,” Osborne told the audience after the grant was announced. “I’m thrilled for the girls … but sitting here and listening to (the other finalists), they’re incredible.” After the presentation, Osborne said, “I’m so grateful to Impact100.” Security upgrades will be a priority, “so we can feel more comfortable that the girls are safe and secure.”

Fresh Start for Women and Cliff Hagan Boys & Girls Club were the recipients of the $29,750 “residual” grants.

Fresh Start for Women will use the funds to complete renovations on a home on West Second Street that will serve as additional housing, and community space. The Boys & Girls Club is planning a teen center expansion to offer youth a safe and supportive environment to pursue educational opportunities.

Kentucky Wesleyan College received the $11,000 Impact100 NextGen grant for its “Build A Bed” project.

“It has been a very successful 16 years,” Wahl said. “We have given out over $3.5 million in that time.”

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, [email protected], Twitter: @JamesMayse