Impact 100 Owensboro officials revealed the names of eight nonprofits that will vie for a total of $254,000 in grants from the women's giving circle and its teen spin-off group named Impact 100 Next Generation.

In October, Impact 100 will announce the winners of two $100,000 grants and a $41,000 residual grant. On the same night, Next Gen will unveil the winner of its $13,000 award.

The five grant finalists for the $100,000 grants are Boulware Center, H.L. Neblett Community Center, Friends of Sinners, Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center and the Salvation Army.

The RiverPark Center and St. Benedict's Homeless Shelter are being considered for the $41,000 residual grant.

Next Gen's three finalists were Dream Riders of Kentucky, Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Kentucky and Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center.

Tuesday's announcement took place at Foust Elementary, which received a $100,000 grant in 2017 to create a playground all children could access. In the past, Foust's playground had raised sides and rough surfacing, which meant children using wheelchairs and walkers couldn't play with their peers.

In total, the school's new playground cost $258,000, said Janie Moseley, principal. The Impact 100 grant covered the cost of resurfacing only.

Before earning the Impact 100 grant, school officials had been trying for two years to raise money for a new playground, she told a room packed with finalists and Impact 100 members.

"(The Impact 100 grant) changed everything for us," Moseley said. "It was like a catalyst that brought together the entire community."

Impact 100 jump-started the project, she said. With that support, Foust officials were able to secure the rest of the funds needed to finish the playground.

"That's what we are looking for," said Mary Embry, Impact 100 board member. "We want to make transformational differences in our community."

Next Gen grant proposals for the $13,000 grant are:

• Dream Riders of Kentucky — The nonprofit that provides equine-assisted therapy for disabled residents needs a multipurpose area where its 14 horses can be bathed, get new shoes or visit a veterinarian.

Dream Riders' barn has a 20-foot-by-20-foot bay on the north side that would work well for that purpose. It needs to be built out.

"We need to be able to wash a couple of horses at the same time and for it to be safe," said Benny Clark, Dream Riders co-founder and president.

• Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Kentucky — The nonprofit wants to create and publish the second book in the Caring Bears series for children dealing with the death of a parent. Also, Hospice hopes to enhance its annual Camp Courage and install a playground at the Heartford House.

• Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center — The center needs seven donor beds.

Impact 100 proposals for the two $100,000 grants are:

• Boulware Center — The center's officials hope to replace sewer lines and renovate two restrooms used daily by 48 men. The nonprofit also wants to expand and renovate its common living area.

• H.L. Neblett Community Center — This nonprofit is developing the Western Academy at the Neblett, a project-based academic program that will teach young black boys STEM courses, robotics and life skills classes. The Saturday program is designed for children enrolled in third- to sixth-grade classes, said Olga McKissic, executive director.

The program is set to start Oct. 19.

"The center is bursting at the seams," McKissic said.

Last year, Owensboro Public Schools placed a Hager Preschool classroom in the community center. The after-school programs are drawing more children.

Also, churches, the NAACP, Owensboro Community & Technical College and many other community groups use the center as a meeting place.

"Sometimes, there are several there the same night," McKissic said.

The community center owns land across the street from its site. Neblett officials would like to buy a modular school unit with two classrooms and two restrooms to help meet the center's growing need for space.

"We're just happy that we are being considered," McKissic said. "That lets us know that what we are trying to do is perceived as being important to the community."

• Friends of Sinners — This faith-based residential substance use recovery program operates two facilities — one for men and another for women.

If it earns an Impact 100 grant, Friends of Sinners wants to open a Mommy and Me cottage for women who have children.

Director Joe Welsh said the nonprofit has been working on the project about a year.

A house that accommodates children a couple of nights a week will allow women in recovery to retain temporary custody of their children.

"We want our women to be good mothers," Welsh said. "We teach and preach good parenting. We want to focus on the family."

A three-bedroom house next to the Friends of Sinners' facility on Triplett Street recently went up for sale after its owner died. Welsh said heirs contacted him and felt the nonprofit should have first dibs on the property, which could hold up to three women and their children.

The Impact 100 grant would provide the finances to buy the home.

• Western Kentucky Regional Blood Center — This nonprofit was the only applicant to become a finalist for both the Impact 100 and the Next Gen grants.

The blood center needs funds to buy a new bloodmobile.

• Salvation Army — The kitchen at the Salvation Army needs to be remodeled and expanded to provide more meals and to expand its services to the community at large. Also, Salvation Army officials would like to renovate the gym in order to better serve local kids.

Impact 100 finalists for the $41,000 residual grant are:

• RiverPark Center — The live performance theater applied for a grant to replace 80 music stands, repair and enhance its Steinway piano, and install lighting and technical upgrades.

• St. Benedict's Homeless Shelter — Currently, this nonprofit provides a place for 60 men to sleep every night. The grant would provide a 24/7 facility for homeless women and their children.

Impact 100's annual meeting will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The winners of this year's grants will be announced that night.

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

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