Chukchansi grants announced

The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians announced Tuesday nearly $1 million in community grants to 31 organizations throughout the county. The awards were announced by Nancy Ayala, tribal quorum council chairwoman, at a regular meeting of the Madera County Board of Supervisors.

Supervisorial District 5 received 17 grants and District 1 received two, giving Eastern Madera County 19 of the 31 grants totaling $623,000. Last year, nine of 24 grants totaling $408,000 were awarded for the Mountain Area.Nearly 100 grant requests, totaling $7.1 million, were submitted for consideration this year.

Last year the grants were announced on May 1. This year, due to tribal leadership conflicts and litigations, meetings with county supervisors and staff were delayed or postponed several times by tribal representatives.

The two largest grants were $90,000 to Denel (formerly Chukchansi’s Tiny Acorn organization) and $80,000 to the Community Medical Foundation for the Chukchansi Immediate Care Center at Oakhurst Community Health Center (Mike Bartell - 269-7275).

Coarsegold Elementary School will receive $60,000 for its “Computers for Kids” program and the Eastern Madera County SPCA is getting $50,000 towards the organization’s planned no-kill animal shelter in Ahwahnee, Sharon Fitzgerald, president of the organization was happy to hear the news.

The EMC SPCA will soon take the first step in building the Animal Care and Adoption Center by drilling our water well,” Fitzgerald said.

“Although our focus is on our planned shelter, we want to make sure that anyone with animals needing spay/neuter surgeries is able to have them done. Even though the Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter a received large grant for free spay/neuter, the EMC SPCA decided to pay the local veterinarians the difference between the amount the Friends of the Madera Animal Shelter will pay and their regular fees.”

Fitzgerald said 1,700 vouchers have been mailed to Eastern Madera County residents since Sept 14.“We will be paying some very large bills for spays and neuters done locally and the $50,000 which was granted from Chukchansi will allow us to continue our important assistance program.”

Coarsegold Elementary School received $49,000 for a summer Chukchansi language and culture program — and Minarets High School will get $46,000 to develop an on-campus Native American Cultural Center to educate students, parents, and community members about the contribution of area tribes and their culture.

The Madera County Library will receive $40,000 for a Native American history digitization project. The Wild Wonderful Women will receive $35,000 for a pet food bank.

Colette Goga, owner of Oakhurst Feed & Pet Supply was thrilled with the news. “This community needs a pet food bank so badly that I am absolutely elated.”

June 2014 is the scheduled opening for the pet food bank.

The Golden Chain Theatre was awarded $31,000.

Mary Lou Finley, president of the theatre’s board of directors said the theatre is in dire need of a facelift.“These funds will go along towards improving and maintaining the exterior and interior of the facility, including sound equipment that will help the overall quality of the productions,” Finley said. “We feel so fortunate to receive this grant that will help us in so many ways.”

Another Oakhurst non-profit, the Children’s Museum of the Sierra, received $30,000. he grant request for improved facilities and exhibits according to Steve Montalto, museum director.

Saint Ann’s Chapel in Raymond will be able to remodel the church’s 100-year-old bathrooms and make other other improvements with its $25,000 grant.

Sally Bomprezzi, business manager for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, said the church is thrilled to receive grant funds.

Also receiving $25,000 was the Sierra Senior Center in Oakhurst, the Positive Living Center, the Sierra Historic Sites Association, Friends of the Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park, and the Madera County Film Commission.

Dwayne Turpin, president of the Sierra Historic Sites Association, said the organization was very appreciative of the generosity “bestowed upon us through this Chukchansi Community Grant.”

Caring Vets of America will get a storage building and forklift with the $15,000 they will receive.

“The Chukchansi people are proud to be able to offer such significant help to our neighbors all across Madera County,” Ayala said. “This $1 million will mean a lot to so many people — it makes what we do at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino even more meaningful. We look forward to working with the county and with so many great organizations to improve life in our region.”

Twenty-one of the grant requests made this year were between $100,000 to $150,000 including the Tiny Acorn of the Picayune Rancheria ($150,000), Oakhurst Elks Lodge Disaster Center ($146,000), Madera County district attorney’s office for a back-file conversion project ($142,500), Madera High School for a robotics regional competition ($141,750), Cornerstone Family Counseling Service of Oakhurst for equipment and crisis intervention ($140,000), Madera County Fire Department for training ($139,000), Spring Valley Elementary School for “math counts” program ($139,000), Madera Community Hospital for birthing beds ($130,000) and the Coarsegold Community Park ($125,000).

Seven year totals:

In the past seven years, county school districts lead the benefactors of grants with a combined $1.8 million. The Yosemite Unified School District has received $571,573 in grant funds and the Madera Unified School District has collected $408,100. Other districts seven year total include Chowchilla Elementary ($246,000), Bass Lake Joint Union ($217,198), Chawanakee ($213,000), Alview Dairyland ($57,000), Golden Valley ($49,000), Raymond-Knowles ($25,000), Sherman Thomas Charter School ($25,000), and Chowchilla High School ($10,000).

County medical facilities who have benefited over the past seven years are Children's 's Hospital Central California ($421,069), Madera Community Hospital ($202,000) Camarena Health Centers ($145,696), and Community Medical Foundation ($80,000).

Madera County has received $262,100 over the seven years and the cities of Madera and Chowchilla have received $165,000 and $255,849, respectively.

Since 2007, the tribe has been awarding grants to government, schools and non-profit organizations through a negotiated 10-year agreement with the county. The program will continue for another three years.The community grant awards dinner will be held at the casino at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6.

Applicant Project Award
Positive Living Center Community Outreach Center $25,000
Sierra Senior Society Sierra Senior Center Repair & Improvement $25,000
Madera Co. Workforce Investment Corp. Computers - Madera County Workforce $25,000
Yosemite/Sequoia Res. Con. & Dev. Council Mountain Marijuana Clean-up $25,000
Comm. Action Partnership of Madera Co. Victim Services Aftercare Program $20,000
Sierra Historic Sites Association Fresno Flats Historical Village & Park Rest. $25,000
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1981 Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1981 $38,000
American Legion Post 110 American Legion Concession Trailer $20,000
Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno St. Anne's Chapel Capital Improvements Project $25,000
Madera Rescue Mission Madera Rescue Mission - Transportation needs $30,000
Spring Valley School Spring Valley Elementary Classroom Computers $27,000
Madera County Library Digitization Project - Native American History $40,000
Community Medical Foundation OCHC & Chukchansi Immediate Care Center $80,000
Caring Vets of America Caring Veterans Storage Building & Forklift $15,000
Eastern Madera County SPCA Eastern Madera County SPCA Compassion Fund $50,000
Denel (Formerly Tiny Acorn) Building Stronger Communities $90,000
Comm. Action Partnership of Madera Co. Fairmead Community & Friends Work Truck $34,000
Minarets High School Native American Cultural Center $46,000
Coarsegold Resource Conservation District Kinsman Flat Wildlife Area Handicap Trail $5,000
Coarsegold Elementary Computers for Kids $60,000
Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Regional Park $25,000
Golden Chain Theater Golden Chain Theater $31,000
Madera County Film Commission Inc. Madera County Film Commission $25,000
The Salvation Army Salvation Army Madera Family Services & Military Center $25,000
Camarena Health Panoramic X-ray Machine $31,000
Children's Museum of the Sierra Children's Museum Tech. Update Program $30,000
Chowchilla Union High School CUHS Redskin Band Revitalization Project $10,000
Coarsegold Elementary School Coarsegold Elementary Summer Language & Culture Program $49,000
Economic Dev. Corp. of Madera Co. Work Where You Play $25,000
Wild Wonderful Women Pawsitively Full Food Bank $35,000
  2013 Award Banquest $9,000
TOTAL   $1,000,000.00