The McConnell Fund at the Shasta Regional Community Foundation was established in 2001. The McConnell Foundation directors chose the Community Foundation as a funding partner because of its connection and widespread involvement in the communities they serve. The McConnell Fund accepts grant requests up to $50,000 from eligible organizations in Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama counties and up to $30,000 in Trinity and Modoc counties. This fund is another way The McConnell Foundation furthers its mission of helping building better communities through philanthropy.
"We are excited to see the progress being made through this project," Hutchings said. "The Tehama County Museum put together a well thought out, integrated three part project with a multi-sourced funding plan to bring new life to an important piece of Tehama County history, and we are pleased to be able to support this effort through The McConnell Fund of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation."
"The board room of the museum was electrically charged as board President Chris Bauer announced that the museum's project to re-point the bricks was funded,"said Vice President Darrell Mullins. "That building was built in 1859-60 as a school house and Masonic Lodge, and is very important to the education component of our mission in the community. One might say that this is a very concrete expression of support for the museum, and we are very grateful to the Shasta Regional Community Foundation and The McConnell Fund."
This attitude is common amongst the youth at the Center. On average CBYCC holds about 16 minors per day. These young people range in age, ethnicity and socio-economic background but a common need is that of learning and healthy interaction. Thus the idea of a therapeutic garden came about.
A garden is a powerful experiential tool that can connect people with science, nutrition, food production, ecological responsibility and community beautification. Realizing all these positive benefits the educational team at J. Everett Barr School (the school associated with CBYCC) worked with their partners at the University of California Agricultural Extension, to bring a specific curriculum called Teams with Intergenerational Support to their students. TWIGS focuses on hands-on learning through the use of senior citizen advisors. This interaction between the generations not only proved to produce good plant life but it produced healthy interaction for the students. Bethany, age 17, remarked "What really amazed me was how well my peers were able to get along. We were able to use teamwork and we were able to build up our relationships through working on projects together. "
Stacey Jackson, CBYCC Superintendent, spoke about the garden "The garden project is special because it gives the youth the ability to see things grow and connect with the earth. It gives them a sense of life. Through a garden, the whole life cycle is shown to them." Stacey told an especially poignant story about a group of minors who planted some Morning Glories in the hard soil by the fence. The students were sure the flowers would not thrive in the unfriendly soil. Yet, sure enough, the flowers bloomed and filled the garden with color. The students were amazed at the idea that things can grow even in the hardest of circumstances.
Today, with the help of an $11,000 grant from The McConnell Fund at the Community Foundation, the Charlie Byrd Youth Corrections Center has a fenced in garden area with raised fruit, vegetable and flower beds, and a greenhouse equipped with electricity and plumbing. Because of this program youth who have ended up on the tougher side of life have been given a thing of beauty. Often, students who spend a great deal of time with the garden get to take a plant home with them as a reminder of the patience and persistence it takes to make something beautiful where there was once nothing before.
Today the library is busier than ever with patronage jumping from around eight people a day to over thirty! A recent addition of an outdoor reading garden and a beautiful mural painted by Patricia Carlson and provided through grants from the Community Foundation enhance the library even more. The mural weaves its way arounding the outside of the library with the words "Libraries are for reading, gardens are for growing, grow and learn with us!"
The Community Foundation has awarded over $46,000 in grants to the library find it a privilege to join with the library to bring the joy of reading and art to East Shasta County.
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