In what Ramona Community Foundation Board Chair John Degenfelder called “another first for Ramona,” the fledgling organization presented a total of $30,200 to eight nonprofits in the community at its Inaugural Grants Award Ceremony on Saturday evening.
The Ramona foundation, an affiliate of the San Diego Foundation, made the presentations in the Ramona Library Community Room after an estimated 70 guests sampled wine from Ramona vintners and were treated to catered hors d’oeuvres.
The organizations receiving grants for 2012 are:
•Alliance for Music Education, $2,250;
•Community Development Institute—Ramona and Nuevo Head Start Programs, $2,800;
•Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center, $3,000;
•Ramona Community Emergency Response Team (Ramona CERT), $4,000;
•Ramona Grange 632, $1,700;
•Ramona Pioneer Historical Society, $6,700; and
•San Diego Hippotherapy, $5,000.
Memberships in the Ramona Community Foundation are the framework for charitable grants that are given to organizations and schools that demonstrate a need and an ability to use the funds in an effective way to make Ramona a better place to live work and play. One hundred percent of the donations go for charitable purposes in Ramona.
This year, additional grantmaking dollars came from the Matt McLaughlin Endowment Fund, established at The San Diego Foundation to benefit the North County region. The Matt McLaughlin Live Here, Give Here Matching Program will allow the Ramona Community Foundation to double its impact over the next three years by matching the grantmaking portion of all membership dollars.
All funds benefit nonprofit programs that serve Ramona residents, and grantmaking decisions are made by the Ramona residents who participate as foundation members. Foundation members donate $1,000 a year, and their membership dues are split between immediate grantmaking and an endowment that will serve Ramona future causes.
“We’re extremely honored to support projects that advance our wonderful community,” said Degenfelder. “The RCF grants support activities and programs that will serve Ramona residents of all ages, abilities, and interests. The foundation is enabling us to come together to support Ramona.”
Before the award presentations, Stacey Nelson, executive director of San Diego Hippotherapy introduced one of her clients, 5-year-old Samantha Gray, whose mother Marie discussed what the program has meant to Samantha. She shared an album with photos of Samantha’s first day of hippotherapy treatment on May 10. The joy was evident on Samantha’s face.
Ramona Community Foundation provided a brief description of each grantee and how the organizations will use the money:
Performing Arts Center Revitalization
Alliance for Music Education Formed in 2004, the mission of the Alliance for Music Education (AME) is to provide financial and volunteer support to the Ramona Unified School District music education programs. More than 130 students receive a top quality music education that enhances their critical thinking skills and self-efficacy while culturally enriching the community. The grant will support the revitalization of the Charles R. Nunn Performing Arts Center, which is on the campus of Olive Peirce Middle School and adjacent to Ramona High School and serves a hub of cultural activity in Ramona. In particular, the grant will fund the purchase and installation of new theatrical lighting for the center’s stage, which is used by Ramona schools and organizations year-round.
ArtReach ArtReach takes professional artists into K-6 schools throughout San Diego County to provide standards-based visual art education workshops. ArtReach places an emphasis on providing free programs to schools that have few or no art resources and no ability to pay. The RCF grant will allow ArtReach to provide eight hands-on visual art education workshops to all fourth- and fifth-graders (160 students) at Ramona Elementary School between September 2012 and June 2013. The grant will also fund a student art display and an art activity at the Ramona Community Library. This will expand the current ArtReach program in Ramona (previously three workshops during the year) and add a community involvement component.
Ramona and Nuevo Head Start Gardens
Community Development Institute Ramona and Nuevo Head Start Programs Head Start is a federally-funded, nonprofit, comprehensive, free preschool program that serves low-income children and children with special needs. In Ramona there are two Head Start programs, serving more than 200 children and families. The RCF grant will support a garden project to address the impact poverty has on the nutrition of Head Start children and families. The organization will build seven classroom garden plots. Each classroom of 20 children will have the opportunity to grow vegetables from seeds to harvest. Teachers will educate the children on the environment, microorganisms, and how to grow and eat vegetables. The project will include educational curriculums and will promote ecological friendly methods to instill in children the importance of a green world.
Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center Cornerstone Therapeutic Riding Center (CTRC) offers equine-assisted programs designed to enrich the lives of adults and children in Ramona who are living with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. CTRC is also the first program in San Diego to offer programs and services to combat injured soldiers who are in their recovery process at San Diego Naval Medical Center Balboa. The grant will be used to hire a part-time, Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) certified riding instructor. The CTRC expects to increase clientele by 15% with the addition of a new instructor and to start serving the many people on the center’s waiting list.
San Diego Country Estates Disaster Trailer
Ramona Community Emergency Response Team The Ramona Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is an emergency response team of local citizens who respond to large-scale disasters when local professional responders are overwhelmed. Staffed by 30 volunteers, the team recently activated for more than nine days during the Witch Fire and most recently activated during the county-wide blackout. CERT team members checked on the physically challenged and delivered emergency generators for those needing power for medical equipment. The RCF grant will allow CERT to purchase an additional emergency supply trailer to station in San Diego Country Estates, to provide equipment and supplies in case closure of San Vicente, Old Julian Highway, or Wildcat Canyon, prevents CERT team members from accessing equipment in downtown Ramona.
Ramona Grange 632 Grange is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1867 to promote Community and Agriculture, and Ramona Grange is the oldest agriculture organization in San Diego County, with its first charter dated 1914. The RCF grant will go toward renovations and improvements of the Grange Community Meeting Hall, which is used by organizations and clubs from across Ramona. Specifically, the grant will allow the purchase and installation of fencing and gates around garden, play, and parking areas. The new fence will improve the safety in the Hall’s external areas and allow for more security.
Guy B. Woodward Museum Self-Guided Tour Implementation
Ramona Pioneer Historical Society Ramona Pioneer Historical Society was founded in 1962 to perpetuate and preserve the region’s history. The mission of the historical society is to discover, collect and preserve artifacts and memorabilia to establish and illustrate the history of California, San Diego County and the Ramona area. Thanks to the RCF grant, the Ramona Pioneer Historical Society will install 17 self-guided tour stations throughout the Guy B. Woodward Museum, with audio equipment and recorded exhibit information from museum docents. The addition of this technology will allow the museum to triple its operating hours, thanks to the information provided by the stations, and will allow more visitors to learn about Ramona’s history, regardless of the number of docents available for tours.
San Diego Hippotherapy
The mission statement of San Diego Hippotherapy is to provide the highest-quality equine-assisted therapies and services to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities. Currently 40% of clients are Ramona residents, with diagnoses including MIDAS Syndrome, Prune Belly Syndrome, multiple disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, and developmental delays. Many clients are medically complex and fragile, and require the services of a licensed, skilled therapist for equine-assisted activities.
The RCF grant will provide scholarships for four clients residing in Ramona. Each client would receive once-a-week hippotherapy sessions over a 36-week period.
In addition to Degenfelder, foundation members are Karla and Wesley Brustad, Arvie Degenfelder, Carolyn Hope Hoffos, Neil Ray Krenzel, Charles LeMenager, Marta P. Zarrella, and Donna Zick.
Ramona resident Jeanne Cannon became a foundation member Saturday evening, Degenfelder noted.
For more information about the Ramona Community Foundation, contact Trudy Armstrong at email@example.com or 619-764-8602.