The New Albany Community Foundation has given nearly $300,000 back to the community in 2010.

The New Albany Community Foundation has given nearly $300,000 back to the community in 2010.

One project funded in part by the foundation has an official debut this week.

A grand opening celebration for the homework help center at the New Albany branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is slated for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 9.

The foundation donated $16,500 to help establish the homework help center.

The center, which is similar to those opened at other branches of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, was open to students the first day of school Aug. 30 and hosted 11 children the first day.

"They are areas of the library that where children can go after school to get help with their homework," said library spokeswoman Kim Snell. "They are staffed by library workers and volunteers."

Cate Daily will supervise the branch's homework help center.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library opened its first homework help center in 2004 in the Linden branch, Snell said. The New Albany branch was the second-to-last in the system to open its center.

"Because of the need, we've done our best to get them in all the local libraries," she said.

The first homework help centers were funded by the library system. Most recently, the centers have been funded by donations from the community.

New Albany's center was funded through donations raised through the New Albany Community Foundation, the New Albany Women's Network (NAWN), the Rotary Club of New Albany and members of the community.

The $16,500 donation is not the first time the New Albany Community Foundation has supported the local library branch.

Craig Mohre, executive director of the foundation, said the group contributed more than $1-million when the branch opened in 2002. The funds paid for books and material to stock the library's collection.

The New Albany Community Foundation was established in the mid-1990s and now has assets of more than $6-million. The organization is affiliated with the Columbus Foundation, which helps it cut costs, Mohre said. The Columbus Foundation handles the New Albany Community Foundation's financial reporting, he said. It houses the funds, invests the funds and works with the auditors.

This year, the New Albany Community Foundation contributed money to several projects, many of which benefitted students.

One of those is a NAWN scholarship fund that benefits local students. NAWN raises money annually and turns it over to the foundation, where it is distributed at NAWN's request. One such fund was established by Jon Pryor's family, in his name, and benefits a student who has graduated from the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools' environmental science education program in New Albany. That scholarship fund and others have helped five students this year, Mohre said.

Education is important to the foundation, Mohre said, as its four goals are to support education, the arts, health initiatives and environmental initiatives.

The foundation supported New Albany Elementary School this year by providing $1,300 for an artist-in-residency program. The Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts also received $150,000 for its programming. Mohre said the foundation helped raise more than $2-million to build the McCoy center, a collaborative effort between New Albany, Plain Township and the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Mohre said the foundation also helps with funds for programming and holds its annual fundraiser, "A Remarkable Evening, in conjunction with the McCoy center to raise money for its programming. This year's fundraiser is Wednesday, Nov. 17, and will feature James Bradley, a New York Times best-selling author and historian.

The foundation has awarded significant grants over the years, Mohre said, noting that arts programming and the McCoy center have received some of the largest grants.

In the future, the foundation will continue funneling money back into the community, Mohre said. Recently, it has formed two committees that could help shape the future of New Albany.

An environmental committee and a healthy initiatives committee both have had initial meetings, Mohre said, which will continue throughout this year and the next. The committees will seek to establish programs to help realize the goals that are being generated by each committee, he said.

lwince@thisweeknews.com

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