$20,000 grants help two agencies serve.


Byline: Anna L. Griffin

FITCHBURG - Two checks, each for $20,000, were handed out Friday afternoon to local agencies working to make a difference in the Twin Cities.

The awards came from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and were given to the Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network, an organization based in Fitchburg but providing services throughout the Montachusett region, and to the Latino Youth Program at Elm Street Congregational Church. The presentation was held at the MIHN headquarters on Summer Street.

"This is one of the really happy days, when we get to give out these grant awards," said Thomas F. Bagley III, chairman of the board of trustees for the foundation.

The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts, with more than $18 million in

assets, was created in 2001 to serve the charitable interests of donors in Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Ayer, Barre, Devens, Erving, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hubbardston, Lancaster, Leominster, Littleton, Lunenburg, New Salem, Orange, Pepperell, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Shirley, Sterling, Templeton, Townsend, Warwick, Wendell, Westminster and Winchendon.

Since its inception, the foundation has awarded nearly $12 million in grants and distributions from 77 funds that were established by individuals, families and organizations.

Mr. Bagley noted that this is the seventh year awards have been given out. The first year, approximately $45,000 was handed out.

The $20,000 grant to Elm Street Congregational Church will fund a five-week program for high-risk young people to attend camp on Wyman Lake, Westminster. The program started last week.

The purpose of the camp is to develop leadership, so young people can sustain their efforts at developing a neighborhood youth leadership team and continue to run the summer camp program yearly.

The program is part of a larger program that has been running at the church for two years, according to the Rev. Stephen D. Mayo, pastor.

He said the church's youth programs have become a driving force behind the marked decrease in crime in its neighborhood.

Rev. Mayo said he is pleased the money will be used for a program that serves high-risk youths. The church is an anchor for the Tri-City Anti-Gang Initiative.

Montachusett Interfaith Hospitality Network will use its $20,000 grant to house and feed about 20 homeless families with children. MIHN, a coalition of congregations in the Fitchburg, Leominster...

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