GJ Lions Club gives $75,000 to local nonprofits

The Grand Junction Lions Club announced the recipients of its 2009 carnival and raffle proceeds Monday morning.

The money was given to only eight organizations to help fund their capital improvement projects. In previous years, the money was given to twice as many recipients.

“We really try hard to find organizations that do the most good for the most people,” said Josh Aubert, president of the club.

The recipients were chosen by a Lions Club committee in the fall who carefully considered many grant applications that were submitted last year.

“We make sure that all of the dollars raised in our community stay in our community and these were the projects that we felt would help the most people,” said club member Denise Richardson.

The largest grant, $35,000, was given to Strong Families, Safe Kids to help purchase a building that would serve as a headquarters for the nonprofit organization, which has been working out of the basement of the U.S. Bank Building for the past several years.

A $15,000 grant was given to help with the construction of the future Fruita Community Center. The center was awarded a grant by the Gates Foundation, but had to earn matching dollars from the community as a contingency in keeping the grant.

“These are substantial investments into the community and we thank you,” said Fruita Mayor Ken Henry as he addressed the crowd on behalf of city of Fruita.

Aubert said that despite the hard economic times in 2009, the Grand Junction community came together to help the Lions Club help others. “We couldn’t do this without the support of this community,” he said.

The Center for Independence was given $4,000 to purchase appliances in its new training kitchen. The kitchen will be used to teach clients valuable job skills, which they can use to find jobs within the community.

The other recipients were:

- Kids Voting of Mesa County, $1,400

- Child and Migrant Services, $2,600

- Colorado DiscoverAbility, $5,000

- Hospice and Palliative Care of Western Colorado, $10,000

- Orchard Mesa Middle School, $2,000

This year’s grants, combined with previous charitable contributions, makes over $4 million that the club has given to the community in the past 80 years.

The Lions Club will kick off the 2010 carnival raffle and ticket sales at noon Tuesday at Two Rivers Convention Center. More than $40,000 in prizes are available so far.

“We’ve got a lot of big cash prizes, a big screen TV, jewelry, furniture and even a fly-fishing trip this year,” said club member Brad McCloud.

The 81st annual Lions Club Parade and Carnival will take place Feb. 20. Tickets are available for purchase from any Lions Club member or by calling 248-9376.


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