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Do grants from the Greater Polson Community Foundation make a difference? The answer is a resounding “Yes!”

Here are comments from some 2014 grant recipients:

• Matt Bishop, advisor to the Polson Ski Club, which serves 102 student members, says, “Thanks to GPCF, more kids are having more smiles on the slopes.” Even with unseasonably warm winter temperatures since late January, there has been a 17 percent increase in riders on the Saturday ski bus: 305 student trips in 2015 vs. 259 in 2014. The grant enabled 38 more students to purchase discounted lift tickets. Grant amount: $2,287.50

• The Polson Youth Soccer Association leaders are meeting with City officials to work out infrastructure details, and then heavy earthwork of leveling the fields will begin. GPCF grant will pay in part for the excavators and contractors to begin the first crucial and exciting first step in creating new soccer fields. Grant amount:  $2,500.

1609802_714199901973635_584483078694598484_n• New stage curtains have been hung in the Polson High School auditorium, replacing the originals put in place when the auditorium was built 40 years ago. Polson School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Reksten said, “Even though more updates are needed, the new royal purple stage curtains have improved the appearance of the auditorium 100 percent!” Grant amount: $2,500.

• Bryan River of the Loaves and Fishes food pantry reported that the new stand-alone outside storage container is a spot to keep seasonal maintenance equipment, hazardous materials such as gasoline along with bulk supplies such as cartons of plastic bags, etc. all benefiting the volunteers who keep the food pantry operating. Grant amount:  $2,000.

• SAFE Harbor, a shelter for victims of domestic violence, used its grant money to purchase two body cameras for police to wear when they are responding to domestic violence calls. Polson Police Chief Wade Nash says, “One of the biggest benefits has been capturing the natural state of the victim as well as the suspect in domestic situations.” He went on to say that he has gotten such positive feedback, cameras have been issued to all officers who have used them in a variety of crime scenes. Grant amount: $1,500.

• The Flathead Lake International Cinemafest (FLIC), the third year for this wintertime event, brought an increase in audience size and enthusiasm as well as a diverse program of international independent films to the Mission Valley. This year, 82 films were screened from 13 different countries that informed, inspired and entertained. The FLIC committee is hard at work on FLIC 2016. Grant amount: $2,500.

• Mission Valley Aquatics used its $2,500 grant to partner with the Polson chapter of the Boys and Girls Club so that all Polson B&G Club students can take swimming lessons if they choose to do so. The club brings 10 students each month for an eight-class swim lesson session two nights a week. Students learn to float, kick, swim and dive, plus they have lots of fun! Ali Bronsdon, MVA director says, “We are so excited to be able to give these students such an important gift and hope they have learned valuable skills to keep them safe in and around the water. So far, more than 45 students have taken advantage of the great opportunity this year.”

Picture2• Sonora Grill owner, Rick Moreno, assisted by staff and volunteers, taught Boys and Girls Club members the art of salsa making. In the process they learned that fresh, unprocessed food is a great healthy choice, and they also learned a bit about food safety and food preparation. They were thrilled to be able to take home a pint of salsa they had help make. They will learn more about fresh food grown locally when they go on farm field trips this summer. Grant amount: $2,500.

• Polson Fairgrounds improved the concession stand with a new eight-foot island counter/cabinet and new storage space. Grant amount: $2,500.

• Dayton-Proctor Park used its $797 grant to insulate the park maintenance building making it more energy efficient and usable in winter.