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Several non-profits awarded needed grants
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A group of Newton non-profits received a significant financial boost Thursday morning. The Newton Fund, a group that supports non-profits and philanthropy in general, held its annual grant reception and awarded $18,000 to seven needy and deserving local organizations.

This year’s winners were the Willing Helpers Food Pantry, Washington Street Community Center, Salvation Army, FaithWorks, Friends of Newton Parks, Newton County Special Olympics and Newton Mentoring.

Some groups like Washington Street and the Salvation Army have been around for several years, while newer groups like Newton Mentoring are still in the fledgling stages.

With the economy struggling and philanthropic giving at all time low, most organizations said they need the money just to cover operational expenses, including items like staff salary, rent, utilities and insurance.

Newton County Special Olympics’ representatives said they would be using the money to go toward more adult athletic programs. Children are the traditional focus of Special Olympics, but adults are often overlooked.

The Salvation Army representatives said they would be using some of the money to help residents cover the cost of their prescriptions. More and more residents are finding themselves unable to afford health insurance, which makes necessary prescriptions unaffordable.

Newton Fund Chairwoman Barbara Morgan said the recipients were selected after a careful process, where the fund reviewed applications and conducted site visits with all finalists.

"If you’re receiving a grant you’re very special and, we believe in your potential," Morgan said. "We may not have a lot of money to give out, but we give in a lot of areas."

In addition, former Newton Fund employee Tamara Richardson also contributed $5,000 to five local non-profits of her choice. The money was actually given to Richardson by the Newton Fund’s founding chair, Pat Patrick, who awarded the money to Richardson at an award ceremony in November.

Richardson, who has worked closely with many county non-profit groups over the years, said choosing only five groups to donate to was difficult.

In the end she chose five groups near to her heart: Newton County Arts Association, FaithWorks, Newton County Miracle League, Newton County Foundation for Excellence in Education and Washington Street.