Crucial grant keeps Bigfork after-school program going

Print Article

Bigfork ACES recently got a boost with a $30,000 grant from the Laura Grace Barrett Living Arts Foundation Fund, which will make an impact in securing the future of the after-school program after a longtime federal grant was not renewed in June.

The non-renewal of the federal grant left the nonprofit figuring out how to recoup the roughly $75,000 needed to continue operating without impacts to programming and staffing. Bigfork ACES Executive Director Cathy Hay didn’t lose hope. The Bigfork ACES board had the foresight to set aside money that would get them through this year and Hay went to work on securing other donations and grant opportunities.

“The community of Bigfork always comes together. This is an incentive to move us forward along with other private donations to secure what we do,” Hay said.

The mission of the Laura Grace Barrett Living Arts Foundation Fund is to support projects that create opportunities in the arts, culture, entertainment and education in Bigfork and the surrounding area.

Hay said the new grant is an affirmation that after-school programming focused on serving low-income families is essential in communities. Currently, Bigfork ACES has a roster of between 95 and 100 kindergarten through eighth-graders and 75 percent of them are from low-income families.

The funding will help secure the future of the after-school program. The Bigfork ACES board has decided to put a majority of the foundation grant into a capital building fund for the future.

“The board of directors and I have been talking about establishing a permanent location,” Hay said.

Bigfork ACES currently rents a building at 801 Grand Dr., and the basement of the adjacent building that also houses the Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre. The locations are in close proximity to Bigfork schools.

In the immediate future, funding will be used to strengthen the after-school arts program and purchase materials in honor of Laura Grace Barrett, who was a Bigfork resident and started the Collage Gallery of Fine Art in 2014 with her husband.

“The board of directors and myself would like to thank Laura Barrett and her family for the generous donation to ACES. I have known Laura for the past 35-plus years and have loved her and her giving, artistic spirit. We have decided to honor Laura’s memory by naming our art room at ACES the Laura Barrett Art Room,” Hay said.

Bigfork ACES is also gearing up to expand its offerings by introducing 4-H and Girl Scouts in January, according to Hays. Additionally, a mentoring program is in the works to pair Bigfork High School students with ACES youth.

While there is enough funding to cover costs this year, Bigfork ACES had to think about next year. Although the hope was not to charge fees, the difficult decision was made to implement a $30 registration fee across the board to produce income. If a child doesn’t meet the free- and reduced-income threshold, which is based on a family’s income, then the program costs $90 a month during the school year.

However, Hay said, “our motto is we’re never going to turn a child if they can’t pay for something.”

For more information visit www.acesafterschool.com, call 837-3414 or email bigforkaces@gmail.com.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

Homicide suspect was ex-girlfriend, mother of victim’s child

March 23, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The Polson woman accused of murdering Thompson Falls resident Matthew George LaFriniere in May 2018 was LaFriniere’s ex-girlfriend and had a child with him, according to charging documents filed this...

Comments

Read More

Interest high in proposed changes to benefit Lincoln Co., state

March 23, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Lincoln County residents nearly filled the conference room at the Red Lion Hotel in Kalispell — joined by other parties from around the Columbia River Basin and a retinue of Montana legislators — f...

Comments

Read More

FVCC student earns esteemed academic award

March 23, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Flathead Valley Community College student Isaac Neumann has been named a 2019 New Century Workforce Pathway Scholar. Neumann was selected for the esteemed award based on his academic accomplishments ...

Comments

Read More

Columbia Falls Special Olympics athlete wins at World Games

March 23, 2019 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Special Olympics Montana athlete Sylvester Vermillion II of Columbia Falls returns home today with four medals — two gold and two silver — he won during the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games i...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2019 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X