This month the Placer Community Foundation awarded $260,000 to nonprofits in support of community wellness, $23,890 in grants to support youth development and launched a donation drive to fund laptops for foster youth. Through a competitive bidding process, the $260,000 in grant funding went to 17 nonprofits to support community-based projects and programs to promote overall wellness and address needs of underserved populations residing along the western slope of Placer County, according to a press release. Funding came from the California Department of Mental Health, Mental Health Services Act. Placer Community Foundation was contracted by Placer County to manage and administer the grants. One of the grant recipients was the Lincoln area’s Emmaus Church Community, which received $5,000 to support an organic community garden. Emmaus started the project with 10 garden plots, which were filled in less than a year. “We know that tasks associated with gardening have a healing component,” said Lori Tracy, who overseas the garden. “But we had no idea that our community had such a need for this type of gathering.” The agriculture program has struck a chord in the community and Emmaus currently has a waiting list for its garden plots. “The success of the community garden project with Emmaus and the impact in this and other grassroots projects is exactly what we were hoping to accomplish,” foundation CEO Veronica Blake said in the release. “The growth we are seeing and the request for increased funding is a direct reflection of the critical need to invest in our region.” Other grantees included A Touch of Understanding, KidsFirst, Latino Leadership Council, Lighthouse Counseling and Family Resource Center, Lilliput Children’s Services, Placer Counseling Center, Placer County Peer Court, Golden Sierra Life Skills, Seniors First, Sierra Forever Families, Sierra Vista Community Center, The Soldiers Project, The Gathering Inn, Roseville Home Start, Granite Springs Church and Community Recovery Resources. The youth development grant, jointly funded by Umpqua Community Bank and Placer Community Foundation’s Advisor Giving Circle, went to five nonprofits. The grants, ranging from $4,000 to $5,000 were awarded at a reception recently at Roseville Arts’ Blue Line Gallery. Funding was awarded to projects that demonstrate a positive impact on the needs of economically disadvantaged and underserved youth ages 14-21. One of the recipients was PEACE for Families, which received $5,000 in support of its My Strength Program. It is a violence prevention program for young men and designed to teach them healthy ideas about masculinity. “Over time, our intent is that the participants will replace unhealthy ideas of masculinity with a non-violent model,” said Louise Czopek, community affairs coordinator at PEACE for Families. “This is our third year receiving a grant from Placer Community Foundation to support this program,” said Michelle Coleman, PEACE for Families executive director. “We are incredibly grateful that we can continue to provide this type of much needed service to the young men in our community.” Other grant recipients were Rotary Club of Roseville Foundation for its youth leadership awards camp; ReDirect Nuevo Camino, for its division program for boys and girls; Placer Dispute Resolution Service, for victim/offender mediation; and Child Advocates of Placer County, for its adult-to-youth mentors program. Laptops for foster youth Placer?Community Foundation’s donation drive to purchase laptops for foster youth is in partnership with iFoster and Placer County. The Robert Kemp Community Fund at the foundation will match contribution up to a total of $30,000. Contributions of all sizes are welcome and are tax deductible, officials said in a press release. In Placer County, there are 287 children in formal foster care. Statistics show that without sufficient resources, 45 percent of them will need to repeat a grade or be placed in special education classes. Forty-six percent will drop out or fail to get a GED by the time they are 19. Seventy percent will access public welfare benefits within the first four years of becoming an adult. Fifty-one percent will be homeless at some point, 25 percent will be incarcerated and less than 3 percent will earn a college degree, the release said. For about $200, one foster youth can receive a laptop computer and have the chance to create a positive path for the future. Laptop computers provide these youth the ability to do school work, search for jobs and stay connected to family and friends, officials said in the release. For more information and to make a donation to the laptop program, visit www.placercf. org/giving/give-online.