Special to The Explorer

A new community foundation has been launched in Oro Valley, and it has made three initial grant awards.

The Oro Valley Community Foundation starts off during a time of financial and economic strife, its organizers acknowledge.

"Is it a bad time to kick off this foundation?" asked General John Wickham, foundation board member and President Reagan's Army Chief of Staff.

"It's during these times that the community's needs are more obvious," Wickham said. "Schools need help, the elderly need support and we'll see people willing to dig deeper in their pockets to contribute."

The new foundation plans to help fund food programs or transportation for the elderly, as well as keep "a focus on the brighter side of life through grants to art and music programs for school children," a release said. As a nonprofit philanthropic organization, it aims to support charitable organizations that focus on the arts, education, social services and the environment. It is "devoted to the long-term commitment of building a permanent endowment of funds to improve the lives of residents of Oro Valley and the surrounding areas," a release said.

"Oro Valley has the potential to be one of the most dynamic communities in America," said founder and board president Dick Eggerding. "It has great natural beauty. And the people here are truly committed to creating a better quality of life for everyone.

"The foundation can fill the voids created by funding cuts to provide grants to athletics, art, reading programs and more," he added.

The foundation is inviting individuals, families and corporations to consider a bequest or monetary gift to provide for their community's future "long after they're gone. The foundation provides a structure that allows donor contributions while giving maximum tax advantages."

The Oro Valley Community Foundation was originally established as the Oro Valley Community Endowment Fund in 2002. It has moved from administering funds solely for public art, into establishing grants and gifts to services that support youth programs, sports scholarships and community food programs, among other services.

Oro Valley Community Foundation has been established in partnership with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona, which is certified under the National Standards for U. S. Community Foundations.

Its board of directors is all volunteers.

The Oro Valley Community Foundation

Its mission: To seek and provide resources that contribute to improving and sustaining the quality of life primarily for the citizens of the Oro Valley area.

It is a nonprofit, community corporation created by and for the people of the Oro Valley area. "We are here to help donors make a positive impact on our community," its Web site indicates.

The Oro Valley Community Foundation has partnered with the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona to streamline processes and reduce overhead expenses.

To reach it:

Phone: 547-5954

The Web site: orovalleycf.org

E-mail: info@orovalleycf.org


Oro Valley Community Foundation

c/o Community Foundation for Southern Arizona

2250 E. Broadway Blvd.

Tucson, AZ 85719

Three get funds from foundation

Recipients of new grants from the Oro Valley Community Foundation are:

• The "Teens Sew Cool" program, which teaches sewing skills to students from sixth to ninth grade at Catalina's Coronado K-8 school and San Manuel Middle High School. Through a grant, the Foundation is providing money for new sewing machines and supplies.

Teens Sew Cool students live in single-parent homes, or are from families that have fallen on hard times because of the demise of mining in San Manuel and lost jobs. The sewing classes teach useful skills and increase the students' self-esteem, a release said;

• The Greater Oro Valley Arts Council, so it can continue its "Musical Gold in the Mornings" program. At the beginning of the school day, an administrator reads a short summary of a classical composer's life or works over the school intercom. Then the children listen to Mozart, Beethoven or Haydn.

"It settles them down and helps them focus on their schoolwork. And it introduces many children, for the first time, to the world of classical music.

"In one Amphitheater school classroom, when the principal walked in with her team to observe the class, one of the students who was listening to the music turned around and asked the adults 'to pipe down' so he could hear the music," GOVAC co-founder Bob Weede said.

• Interfaith Community Services, which uses funds to provide summer programs for low-income children. The grant helps pay for athletic fees, summer camp or arts classes, or other activities that will provide "enriching opportunities that can be life-changing for the children," according to ICS Executive Director Bonnie Kampa.

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