Budding out of the Central Kansas Community Foundation, the affiliated Newton Community Foundation began to form a few years ago and was officially established in 2018. After a year in existence, the NCF saw its fundraising labor bear fruit last week, with its first round of grants handed out on June 6.

Recipients of the first round of grants included Newton Meals on Wheels, Health Ministries Clinic, Peace Connections and EmberHope Youthville.

The Newton Kansas Health Foundation Fund was originally made possible as a result of the GROW II matching grant program CKCF organized for the Newton community. The general purpose of this fund is to underwrite solutions to local issues, as well as the protection and promotion of the health and well-being of individuals and their communities through the encouragement of healthy lifestyles, behaviors and environments. Now, that grant service falls under the jurisdiction of the Newton Community Foundation — supporting community service and programs for charitable purpose through competitive and designed grants.

For the grant recipients, wherever the assistance comes from is greatly appreciated, but especially if that funding comes from within its hometown.

"These local dollars mean a lot because they mean you're being supported by your community and that's very much appreciated," said Matthew Schmidt, executive director of Health Ministries Clinic.

Money from the grants will be put to various use by the recipients, whether purchasing new medical equipment for Health Ministries, helping cover costs for the Newton Meals on Wheels program, allowing the implementation of a salad bar at weekly Circles of Hope meals put on by Peace Connections or supporting foster families — a large part of EmberHope's support services (which includes therapy counseling, residential care, foster care, adoption service, etc.) offered to more than 2,000 children.

"Foster care families, they're making a big commitment and this is a really nice way we'll be able to pass that on so that they can continue to bring these kids into their homes," said Matt Hein, director of development at EmberHope Youthville.

All of the grant funds will help meet needs around the community, an act that is not taken for granted. From providing additional medical services to just providing a balanced meal for those in need, representatives of each organization noted just how much the impact of those grants is felt among the clients they serve.

Executive director of Newton Meals on Wheels Tamie Larez said the program now accommodates 90-plus different diets for clients around the community. Both she and the volunteers who deliver the meals see from those clients' reactions just how much being able to provide that service means — something that wouldn't be possible without the support of organizations like the Newton Community Foundation.

More information on the Newton Community Foundation and its mission can be found at https://centralkansascf.org/affiliate-foundations/newton-community-foundation-newton/.