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Germantown non-profits among 12 to receive holiday grants

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Twelve non-profit organizations in Shelby County will start the year with a budget boost after being selected to receive $2,500 grants from FirstBank.

“We wanted to support some of the many nonprofit groups in Memphis that are doing great work but don’t receive as much donor support as the larger, high-profile organizations,” said FirstBank Memphis President Jeff Hudson. “We thought it would be a good way both to support these groups and also to give them some well-deserved recognition in the community.”

Hudson invited several organizations to make grant requests, and hosted a pre-holiday reception at FirstBank’s financial center at 6482 Poplar Ave. An independent three-person selection panel made the decisions on which organizations would receive the $30,000 in grants.

Those selected are:

· Agape North, a Germantown cause-based custom clothing company with a nonprofit arm that donates school uniforms to local students in need. It will use its FirstBank grant to support its inaugural College Day event aimed at encouraging students from underserved neighborhoods to explore college as an option.

· ConnecTEFL, an educational program under the umbrella of the nonprofit Equipping Servants International, Inc. of Memphis, which trains teachers of English as a second language to serve the region’s immigrant and refugee communities.

· Crosslink Memphis, a faith-based organization that provides free medical supplies and small equipment to mission teams and local charity clinics, and offers high-quality, long-dated medicines at deep discounts.

· Dream Factory of Memphis, a Southaven, Miss.-based group that helps make dreams come true for critically and chronically ill children ages 3 to 18 in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.

· Family Promise of Memphis, a Memphis-based group that provides temporary shelter for families experiencing homelessness by partnering with local faith-based congregations. The goal is to keep homeless families stay together as a family unit while working to resolve issues relating to their homelessness.

· Forever Young Senior Veterans, a Collierville group that honors veterans, 65 and older, by fulfilling wishes, returning them to places they fought, and sharing stories of their sacrifices for the United States. The grant will be used to sponsor an Army Air Corps World War II veteran on a Trip of Honor to England in 2017.

· Kyle W. Kiihnl Memorial Foundation, a Collierville nonprofit raising awareness of the dangers of driving while drowsy and advocating for victims of drowsy-driving crashes. It was formed in memory of Kiihnl, a 17-year-old who was killed while walking on a sidewalk in his neighborhood by another teenager who dozed off while driving.

· Mid-South Therapy Dogs & Friends, a Germantown volunteer organization that provides human–animal bond therapy teams that visit children at grief camps, literacy programs and health care facilities, and visit adults in health, memory care, rehabilitation and nursing home facilities.
· National Ornamental Metal Museum, which advances the art and craft of fine metalwork through exhibitions, collections, studio practice and education programs. Located adjacent to Chickasaw Heritage Park, it is the only institution of its kind in the United States.

· Old West Special Trails, a full-service equine facility in Collierville dedicated to improving the lives of special-needs and at-risk youth who don’t have the financial resources to attend summer horse camps and take riding lessons. The grant will support the facility’s spring Trailblazers Class for 20 children.

· Page Robbins Adult Day Center, a 21-year-old independent organization in Collierville that provides nonresidential care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss, and also provides respites for family caregivers. The grant will fund replacing aging furnishings in the center’s art room.

· Service Over Self, Inc. (SOS), which coordinates volunteers who renovate homes of economically disadvantaged residents in Memphis. In addition, it provides leadership and mentoring programs for urban youth in the Binghampton and Orange Mound neighborhoods, and internship programs for college students.
“These organizations are doing outstanding work in our community, and all of our FirstBank associates are so proud to recognize and support them,” Hudson said. “It was a highlight of the holidays for me to inform the leaders of each group that they would receive a grant.”
In addition to its branch office on Poplar Ave. in East Memphis, FirstBank has a financial center at 8398 Highway 64 in the Wolfchase area.