The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham has announced the launch of a program designed to help local residents pay off their payday loans and get back on a path to good credit and financial success. The Lighten Up program, a partnership between the foundation, Gateway Financial Freedom, and the Alabama Central Credit Union, will provide free financial counseling, a comprehensive credit review, and a budget plan courtesy of Gateway Financial Freedom. The credit union also will issue twelve-month loans to participants to pay off their existing payday loans, with participants then making affordable monthly payments to the credit union. In contrast to payday lenders, who can legally charge interest of up to 456 percent in Alabama, Lighten Up participants will pay 15 percent and receive a share in the credit union at no cost.
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation has announced grants totaling more than $2.4 million in support of organizations working in the areas of economic security, immigration reform, and out-of-school education in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Recipients of the grants, which ranged between $10,000 and $250,000, include the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley, Upwardly Global, City Year of San Jose/Silicon Valley, and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
The Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties in West Palm Beach has announced the ten winners of its Forever Arts and Culture Endowment Challenge. Each winner will receive a dollar-for-dollar matching grant of $25,000 to establish a permanent endowment fund at the foundation. Selected for their institutional readiness, financial stability, and fundraising maturity, the recipients include the Center for Creative Education, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, the Palm Beach Symphony Society, and Youth Singers of the Palm Beaches.
The Cambridge Community Foundation has announced that two of its grantees, Food for Free and the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program, are merging. Both organizations find ways take extra food that might otherwise be discarded and put it to use: Food for Free rescues fresh food and distributes it through the local emergency food system, while CWBP sends meals home on Fridays to Cambridge Public School students who rely primarily on the school cafeteria for nutrition. The merger will enable Food for Free, which has hired the head of CWPB as its first program director, to engage more schools and expand its programming.
The Kalamazoo Community Foundation has announced a $250,000 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund in support of an initiative launched by Family & Children Services to provide crisis support and stabilization to children and youth in the community with serious emotional disturbances. The grant also will support the agency’s Children’s Trauma Treatment program for children in foster care.
The Cleveland Foundation has announced January grants totaling $2.1 million. Recipients include the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, the Cleveland International Piano Competition, Stepstone Academy, and the Kent State University Foundation.
The Seattle Foundation has announced that Jeanette Lodwig, its general counsel, has been honored as the Outstanding Chief Legal Officer — Nonprofit Organization by the Puget Sound Business Journal. The foundation, with guidance from Lodwig, has become a specialist in executing complex asset transactions that, in turn, provide much needed philanthropic resources in the community.
The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has announced that it awarded more than $44.8 million through its grantmaking and donor-advised fund programs in 2015, the foundation’s centennial year. Approximately 22 percent of grants made were awarded through a competitive grants process, while 78 percent were awarded through DAFs and other types of donor-advised vehicles.