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County gives to charities

By Ed Brock

Clayton County has opened up its coffers to almost 20 charitable organizations, government agencies and professional service providers.

During Tuesday night's Clayton County Board of Commissioners meeting, the commission voted to approve a resolution to enter into Articles of Agreement with the agencies and organizations, clearing the way for about $2.3 million in grants and payments.

"As soon as we get the contracts signed we'll start disbursing the money," Commission Chairman Crandle Bray said.

Rainbow House children's shelter is among the agencies that will receive money from the county.

The $125,000 that Rainbow House will receive for general program operations is definitely welcome, said Phil Kouns, executive director of the shelter. In the 16 years of its existence Rainbow House has helped about 4,300 children who were victims of abuse or were abandoned, or were in the care of the state for other reasons, Kouns said.

"That's a lot of kids and a lot of processing over 16 years and it's all possible thanks to the county commission," Kouns said.

Kouns said the Clayton County Collaborative, the agency to which groups submit their grant applications for recommendation to the commission, had recommended that Rainbow House receive $175,000, but Kouns said he's not complaining.

"It's next to impossible to get grants for operations," Kouns said. "To actually get the bread and butter grants that pay the light bill and pay the food bill, that's hard to get a hold of."

Bray said that none of the agencies received an increase in payments.

"We took the Collaborative's recommendations," Bray said. "We're going to help (Rainbow House) in another way with victims' assistance money."

Victims' assistance fines are collected from convicted criminals, Bray said. Many of the grants that the county will disburse come from state and federal grants.

Some of the grants will be paid at once and others will be paid over a period of time, Bray said.

The Southern Crescent Sexual Assault Center in Jonesboro had asked for $80,000 for operations, $70,000 to be spent on personnel and $10,000 for supplies, Executive Director Jennifer Bivins said. They will receive $30,000.

"I'm happy that we're getting $30,000," said Bivins, who came to Tuesday's meeting to thank the commission. "More than likely it will be going to take care of personnel."

Other agencies included in the resolution are Andrews Chapel, Arts Clayton, the Association on Battered Women of Clayton County, Calvary Refuge, Clayton County Alzheimer Supportive Services, Clayton County Board of Health, Clayton Community MH/MR/SA Service Board, Clayton County Community Services Authority, Clayton County Family Care, Clayton House, Clayton County Department of Family and Children Services, Hearts to Nourish Hope, Keep Clayton County Beautiful, Prevention Plus, the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, Youth Empowerment Project and Warren Bond Photography.

The Board of Health received the single largest grant, $628,000, while Andrews Chapel received the smallest grant, $2,000.

The Clayton Center Mental Health/Substance Abuse/Developmental Services will receive more than $435,000 from the county, but Clayton Center director Jimmy Wiggins said the county also helps with maintenance and other services.

"We appreciate very much the county's support of our services," Wiggins said.