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Hands On Newton receives $10K grant from state

COVINGTON - Hands On Newton has received a $10,000 grant from the state to further its cause of pairing volunteers with community service organizations and projects.

The nonprofit organization was recently awarded a 2008 Hands On Georgia State Challenge Grant. Seven local banks are providing a 100 percent match, bringing the total award amount to $20,000.

The money will be used to fund operational expenses for the organization, including the salary of Director Doug Bolton, and maintenance of an office at the Cousins Center on Geiger Street.

Since its formation in 2007, Hands On Newton has paired 1,500 volunteers with 30 projects. Recent projects include a playground built at the YMCA's new outdoor center, Habitat for Humanity constructions and a park and cemetery cleanup.

The organization often recruits volunteers from local colleges, churches and businesses.

"There's a whole lot of people in Newton County that want to do things to help the community," Bolton said.

In addition to the recent grant, Hands On Newton received a $10,000 start-up grant in 2007.

The state challenge grants are allocated by the Georgia General Assembly and distributed by Hands On Georgia and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. During the 2008 fiscal year, $200,000 was available to Georgia communities to build sustainable volunteer programs. Recipients are required to match 100 percent of the grant award amount with locally raised funds.

During the last three years, Hands On Georgia Challenge Grants totaling $500,000 have been awarded to 32 communities.

In addition to grants, Hands On Newton relies on donations from the local community and businesses.

For more information, e-mail handsonnewton@yahoo.com or call 770-330-7405.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.