Fresh Start for Women is one of 200 finalists nationwide in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist 2019 program.

If the Owensboro nonprofit is one of 40 winners, it will receive $25,000.

Fresh Start's ability to win depends on regional residents, who must vote online for the nonprofit.

Starting Aug. 14, people can cast 10 votes per day for 10 days at https://www.neighborhoodassist.com/entry/2023864. Voting ends at midnight Aug. 23.

Fresh Start is a transitional housing option for women who have completed an addiction recovery program. Since it started nearly three years ago, the nonprofit has provided housing to about 40 women and 70 children.

"We are overjoyed with the possibility of winning this national grant and are rallying the women who live in the Fresh Start community to get actively involved," said Carol Adkins, Fresh Start co-founder. "They have a vested interest in securing safe and affordable housing for themselves and their children."

At Fresh Start, clients pay a portion of what it costs to house them. Fresh Start kicks in the rest.

And there are other expenses besides, such as maintenance and renovations.

"The hardest money to get is general operational money," Adkins said. "A lot of grants want you to have a project. But these (State Farm grants) are unrestricted funds that could be used to help make the mortgage payment."

Drew Cunningham, a State Farm insurance agent in Owensboro, said the company accepts up to 2,000 submissions nationwide before choosing the top 200 finalists. He's pleased Fresh Start made the final cut.

"It's a great organization," he said. "What they do is awesome."

Voters must sign in, providing some information such as age and email address. Residents younger than 18 are not allowed to vote in the contest.

"You're not going to get a lot of spam or emails," Cunningham said of providing information on the website prior to voting.

State Farm provides its privacy policy on the contest website.

The company will announce the official winners on Sept. 25; however, when people vote, they will be able to see how Fresh Start is doing.

"Rankings are live every day," Cunningham said. "We'll know where we stand."

In the meantime, Adkins encourages people to like Fresh Start's Facebook page. A link found there will take them to the voting site.

"We're telling people to set an alarm on their phones to remind them to vote," she said. "This is really exciting."

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com.

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