Nevada County literacy programs supported by Bessie Minor Swift Foundation |

Nevada County literacy programs supported by Bessie Minor Swift Foundation

The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation, formed by the owners and founder of Swift Communications, awards grants to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing skills as well as programs that focus on languages, sciences and interdisciplinary areas.

Since 2008, more than $530,000 has been awarded to deserving organizations in the communities where Swift Communications, the parent company of The Union, conducts business.

“This year, applications were of exceptional quality and $80,986 has been awarded to 36 deserving organizations,” a news release states. “The Bessie Minor Swift Foundation thanks the many groups that took the time and energy to apply and encourages those that were not selected to submit applications in the future.”

Among the programs receiving support in 2018 are the following from Nevada County:

Chicago Park School, Grass Valley: $3,000 — A Sierra Streams Institute program that will provide experience for three 3rd through 5th grade classrooms in creating and answering their own research questions. Funds will be used for pre-trip classroom visits, class visits to the Woolman Research site and post-trip creation of posters and letter writing that can be shared with other classes. Students will learn to formulate a testable question, collect data to answer the question and summarize their findings. Knowledge sharing will occur with Clear Creek Elementary School.

Clear Creek Elementary. Grass Valley: $3,000 —A Sierra Streams Institute program that provides 2nd through 5th grade classrooms experience studying water quality, riparian plants and aquatic insects. Students will visit a local river where they will rotate through science stations and collect samples to be studied in a microscope lab at the school Funds will be used for instruction, educational materials and teacher curriculum guides. Lastly, $700 in matching funds will be added to the program and knowledge sharing will occur with Chicago Park School.

Grass Valley Charter School, Grass Valley: $3,000 — This grant will be for the incorporation of computer coding into the STEM curriculum for K-5th graders. Funds will be used to purchase robot activity sets and puzzles that will be utilized by 240 students in weekly STEM classes. Students will, for example, create a path and then use coding cards to code a robot to navigate the path or play “games” that focus on coding, math or color theory as they enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The Friendship Club, Nevada City: $1,125. — Books and snacks to be used as part of the Book Friends weekly reading club will be covered by this grant. The Book Friend program strives to keep girls intellectually engaged, curious and learning through the summer. The group also visits the local library and closes out the summer with a Literary Lunch. The Friendship Club engages, educates and empowers at-risk girls in a year-round prevention program designed to increase their academic, social and emotional skills.

The deadline for 2018 grant applications was Feb. 15 and 163 applications were received. The foundation grant criteria calls for detail about the number of people who will be impacted by the organization’s project and how significant a role the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation will play in the program. Recipients will report on their results and insights from their program once the projects are completed.

Applications will be accepted again starting Jan. 1, 2019 with a deadline of Feb. 15, 2019. For more information, visit the Bessie Minor website at

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