Palmer Community Foundation is pleased to announce the six recipients of our 2022 competitive grant program. PCF awarded $15k to promote arts, health and wellness, wildlife, and youth in the Palmer area. PCF uses proceeds from its permanent endowment to award grants that support charitable organizations and programs in Matanuska River communities. Thanks to our many generous supporters for making these grants possible!
$5,000 was awarded to The Palmer Arts Council for the restoration of the Bailey Piano. The 1949 Baldwin D concert grand piano has a rich history in Palmer and is believed to be the first grand piano ever in the Mat-Su Borough. It originally traveled from the Baldwin factory in Ohio as a gift for Dr. Clarence Bailey’s fiance. When the Baileys left Alaska in the 60s, the piano was given to The Palmer Independent School District. The piano has done some traveling between school buildings, churches, and the fairgrounds. It has been used for numerous performances throughout the years from community choir performances to Miss Alaska pageants. It was even played by Three Dog Night, Johnny Rivers, and Ronnie Milsap during performances at the Alaska State Fair. The piano needs significant restoration work due to the years spent in non-climate-controlled spaces. The Palmer Arts Council will use grant funds from PCF along with other money raised to begin the restoration process. Once restored, the piano will be housed at the Palmer Senior Center, where it can be enjoyed by a wide range of community members during special events and performances.
Alaska Family Services runs the only domestic violence and sexual assault shelter in the Mat-Su. Women and their children seeking safety from domestic violence and sexual assault stay in the shelter before transitioning to more permanent housing. PCF awarded $3,500 to Alaska Family Services to extend the fenced area in their shelter yard as far as possible. The outdoor space offers opportunities for reflection, connection with nature, privacy, and healthy activity.
The Friends of Sutton Library yearlong Youth Arts and Wellness Program is ramping up for summer activities. The program expands to include activities twice a week during the summer focusing on outdoor activities and arts. It offers area youth the opportunity to connect with their community while learning skills that promote a healthy lifestyle and benefit their community. $3,000 was awarded to Friends of Sutton Library to buy supplies and cover activity fees.
Bright Lights Book Project (BLBP) distributes free books throughout Palmer and Sutton. Books are salvaged from schools, libraries, and recycling centers and distributed to bookcases in various locations. BLBP received $1,500 to create 12 new bookcases that will be placed in high-traffic areas in local schools. Students in Mat-Su Career and Technical High School shop classes will build the bookcases for BLBP. Bookcases will be monitored by school librarians and stocked by Bright Lights Book Project volunteers.
The Forget Me Not Quilters of Alaska consists of volunteer quilters and veterans who make and award Quilts of Valor for Mat-Su area veterans. The quilts provide comfort, often very late in the life of older veterans. It offers them the opportunity to
tell stories they have never shared with their families. For the recipients who are being treated for PTSD, having a tangible, comforting object can help them through difficult times. $1,000 was awarded to Forget Me Not Quilters of Alaska Mat-Su group to purchase materials for the Quilts of Valor.
The Alaska WildBird Rehabilitation Center rescues and cares for injured, orphaned, and sick wild birds from Palmer and the Matanuska River area. The birds are released to the same area once they are healed. The Alaska WildBird Rehabilitation Center also conducts education programs in Palmer and Sutton for schools, libraries, local events, and at the state fair. PCF awarded $1,000 to Alaska WildBird Rehabilitation Center to predator-proof their outdoor flight cages. The outdoor flight cages are used for final strengthening and flight development of birds following rehab, or for baby birds who are ready to fly.