State Farm Neighborhood Assist is a program that awards $25,000 grants to 40 different causes across the United States. Applicants submit causes they think deserve a $25,000 grant. Those applicants are then narrowed to top 200, which are then put to a public vote, where the top 40 will receive a $25,000 grant.
Junior Achievement of West Kentucky (JA) is one of the 200 finalists, making them eligible for the voting, which will begin Wednesday and run through August 24. Voters are allowed 10 votes per day and JA is rallying the Owensboro community for support.
Development Manager Kristi Harrison said the funds will be used for financial literacy, work-readiness skills and entrepreneurship programs, which are the pillars of JA curriculum.
JA currently sends out 600 trained volunteers to teach students at all grades the skills they need to “own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices,” according to the JA website. Those volunteers serve 840 classrooms across 25 counties, with each class costing $500. According to Harrison, the number of classrooms requesting JA is steadily growing.
Daviess County makes up nearly half of the classes taught by JA, with 429 classrooms served across the county, city and Catholic school systems.
“We are just on fire in Daviess County,” Harrison said. “The more they see it, the more they want it.”
But because JA is a non-profit organization, Harrison says financially meeting the demand is difficult. She says there is no state funding or United Way contributions to JA, therefore a $25,000 grant is crucial.
The community is encouraged to cast their vote daily. Information on voting can be found on the JA of West Kentucky Facebook page or website.