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City grants total $725,000, support 34 agencies

By: Lauren Weber, The Press-Tribune
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Every year the city of Roseville allots thousands of dollars worth of funding to be distributed among a variety of nonprofit organizations and schools to improve the quality of life for citizens. This year’s city grants will help educate people about challenges disabled people face and will help provide nightly shelter for the homeless and hopefully transition many into housing – all with Roseville’s help. $725,000 will be granted to 34 agencies July 16 with funding from three sources: the Citizens Benefit Fund, the Roseville Auto Mall Community Fund and Roseville Employees Annual Charitable Hearts Fund, according to Kelly Wickline, commission secretary for the city of Roseville. CBF provides the most funds, and the money is held through an interest bearing account that was formed in 1993 when the city-owned Roseville Hospital was sold to Sutter Health. Since it’s establishment, CBF has awarded more than $11 million in grants. Two of this year’s recipients include A Touch of Understanding in Granite Bay and The Gathering Inn in Roseville. A Touch of Understanding will receive $42,500 from the city toward hands-on disability programs for students throughout Placer County. The grant money is one of the primary funds that supports the organization and because of the money, A Touch of Understanding is able to bring their program to many Roseville schools, said Leslie DeDora, founder of A Touch of Understanding. The programs include a first-hand glimpse into the life of a disabled person through a brief video, the use of wheelchairs, artificial arms and legs and canes and volunteers who talk about their disabilities. “It’s absolutely wonderful,” DeDora said of the feedback they receive regarding their program from students, teachers and parents. The Gathering Inn will also be a grant recipient of $30,000 that will provide housing for homeless people within South Placer County hosting churches. “We provide emergency overnight shelter for over 60 people a night,” said Suzi deFosset, executive director with The Gathering Inn. The grants The Gathering Inn receives are what help support the organization; assisting with general operation funds and showers, clean clothes and counseling to homeless people. The nonprofit has been receiving the city’s grants since its beginning about four years ago, deFosset said. It began with a group of South Placer County pastors who “saw that the homeless people had no place to go” and has resulted in the placement of 38 percent of its guests in permanent housing. Roseville Home Start, Inc. will also receive a $30,000 grant that will transition homeless families into affordable and permanent housing. The organization has renovated a former Roseville motel into 27 apartment units for families where they live for a year while getting assistance with resume writing, job searching and landing a career, said Ann Engelbrecht, executive director with Roseville Home Start, Inc. Of the more than 30 organizations that were awarded funds, the top grant recipient is the city of Roseville’s Parks and Recreation Department for a universally accessible playground at Mahany Park for $100,000. Other recipients include the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Placer County, Performing Arts of Roseville, Saint Vincent de Paul of Roseville, Sun City Roseville Foundation, The Keaton Raphael Memorial for Neuroblastoma, Inc. and the Placer County Office of Education, foster youth services. Grants are awarded every year based on applications submitted by the organization and are the decision of the City’s Grants Advisory Commission. For more information on the city’s grants, go to www.roseville.ca.us/citymanager/grants.