MUSCATINE — Several Muscatine County organizations, offering everything from citizenship classes to puppet shows, received a financial boost from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine this week.
On Wednesday, the Community Foundation doled out $51,719 in checks to 22 different projects and organizations, according to Kelly Rushford, with the foundation.
Along with three other funds, Rushford said the majority of grants were awarded through the statewide county endowment fund program, funded by a percentage of the state's commercial gaming tax revenue. Rushford said the funds are distributed annually to qualified community foundations in counties that do not have a state-issued gaming license.
Among the recipients was the West Liberty Citizenship Program, which received $2,910 to help residents pay for citizenship application fees.
"The West Liberty Citizenship Program helps community members with the process of attaining U.S. citizenship," West Liberty teacher Dan Stevenson said. "Around a dozen teacher and community volunteers work with around 30 immigrant community members on the language skills and civics knowledge needed for the naturalization interview and exam."
The program also helps participants complete applications and offers referrals to other community partners, he said, adding the grant would fund one-half of the $725 citizenship cost for eight participants.
A Wilton group also received funds from the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, according to Project Lead Grant Harkness. He said the Wilton Observatory Project received a $3,678 grant for the development of a STEAM program, connecting the science and math fields with art education.
"We are delighted to have been chosen by the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine for their generous grant," Harkness said. "We look forward to demonstrating to them, as well as the community as a whole, that their funds have been well placed. Exciting times lie ahead and we couldn't do it without amazing supporters."
Part of the Muscatine County Endowment Re-granting Program, he said the funds will go toward planning and building an observatory in Wilton.
Also Wednesday, West Liberty League of United Latin American Citizens President Ed Moreno accepted a check on behalf of West Liberty Dream Catchers, which provides mentoring and college scholarships for first-generation college students. The Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre, along with other groups, also received funding.