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RF Community Foundation marks 20 years with 4 new grants

Center front – Michelle Rinehart (RFCF treasurer) with representatives of the four organizations that received grants: The Assistance & Resource Center (ARC), Our Neighbors’ Place, The River Falls Sunshine Fund, and St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team (S.A.R.T.) Submitted photo

The 20th anniversary celebration for River Falls Community Foundation took place recently in conjunction with the announcing of current grant recipients.

RFCF friends, donors, current and past board members and grantees all gathered at River Falls Golf Club on Oct. 16 to celebrate the lasting impact RFCF grants have made in the community over the past two decades and to announce the latest grant recipients.

RFCF President Melissa Kolb provided a recap of RFCF's accomplishments of the past year, such as the success of RFCF-supported Sporting World.

Carole Mottaz, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin/St. Croix Valley, detailed the impact that the $10,000 Big Idea Grant from RFCF has had. The grant was used to open Sporting World, a used sporting goods store (707A N. Main St.) that provides free or reduced cost sporting equipment to River Falls community members.

Current grant recipients

Cindy Kleven, RFCF Grant Committee Chairperson, presented new grants to four local programs — all supporting people in need in the area.

• The Assistance & Resource Center supports families and individuals in the River Falls and Ellsworth communities with short-term financial issues to help meet basic needs such as housing, utilities and transportation. ARC received a $2,000 grant for general operations and transportation support. Transportation support helps clients with vehicle registration and maintenance costs ensuring a reliable vehicle for employment and other transportation needs.

• Our Neighbors' Place offers support and services to families and individuals impacted by homelessness and poverty in our community. A grant of $1,000 will support the Backpack Program which provides 7-9 pounds of non-perishable food and a voucher for perishable food items - all sent home weekly via backpack with any River Falls School District student whose family is enrolled in the program.

• The River Falls Sunshine Fund is a student-originated/student-led organization with a goal of giving back to individuals and families facing hardship. A $500 grant will help the students to support families or fellow students affected by loss or hardships within the River Falls School District.

• St. Croix Valley Sexual Assault Response Team provides free forensic health examinations and advocacy services to victims of sexual assault and interpersonal violence as well as community outreach. SART received a $1,500 grant for clinical skills lab training for three nurses. The Skills Lab will increase the nurses' skill and confidence with performing medical forensic examinations of the adult or adolescent sexual assault patients.

Established in 1999, the RFCF serves the greater River Falls area by encouraging residents to invest in their community and by utilizing philanthropic assets to enhance the community's livability and the quality of life for individuals and families in the area.

RFCF is an affiliate of St. Croix Valley Foundation, which provides guidance and support to affiliates with the aim of strengthening communities and enhancing quality of life throughout the St. Croix Valley.