CAL gives $118K in grants, $37K in scholarships to support local organizations, students

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

For 42 years, the Community Assistance League has been supporting vital Sandpoint organizations — from cultural linchpins like the Pend Oreille Arts Council and the Festival at Sandpoint — as well as area families and students with financial support.

Scholarship recipients (L-R) Annaby Kanning, Annaka McLelland, Connor Bird and Ellen Clark, all Sandpoint High School students, were on hand June 18 to thank CAL members for their generosity. Photo by Zach Hagadone.

At its 2021 general meeting June 18, the service group gave out $118,000 in grants to 30 local organizations and $37,000 in scholarships to 56 students.

“This is what we do — what you do,” said longtime CAL member Maribeth Lynch, addressing the packed meeting room at the Sandpoint Center.

Among the grants awarded for 2021 included funding for replacement computers for Kinderhaven; construction of a new dock at the Kiwanis Club’s Camp Stidwell; musical instruments and equipment for the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint; visual art education for all Lake Pend Oreille third- through sixth-graders; an interactive children’s learning center for the West Bonner Library District; the Village Green Project, which supplies students in grades K through third with books for their home libraries; and lab work, imaging, referrals and medication for the Bonner Partners in Care Clinic.

As well, CAL grants will support replacement of the upper floor of the Hope Memorial Center; carpet and seat cleaning at the Panida Theater; an HVAC air ventilation system for Sandpoint Area Seniors; food purchases and COVID-19 protection supplies for the Bonner Community Food Bank; gas and grocery vouchers for Community Cancer Services; vouchers for rent, utilities, gas and insurance provided by Helping Hands Healing Hearts; and food purchases at the Priest Lake Food Bank.

Additionally, Idaho Hill Elementary, Sandpoint High School and Southside Elementary schools all received direct financial support for STEM education, a senior finance fair and a program to teach students research skills, respectively.

Of the 56 local students who received CAL scholarships, 36 were from Sandpoint High School, seven were from Clark Fork, two were from Priest River and one was from Forrest Bird Charter School. Among those awards were nine renewals and one that had been delayed from a previous cycle. 

Funds to support CAL’s giving come from purchases at the organization’s all-volunteer-staffed “upscale resale” shop, Bizarre Bazaar (502 Church St.), which organizers said has been doing brisk business — pulling in more than $1,000 per day about 40% of the time. 

CAL also is soliciting contributions to the Idaho Community Foundation, which organization member Carolyn Gumerman described as a “forever fund” to help further CAL’s mission. Gumerman has personally pledged to match up to $5,000 to the effort, which she’ll be helming until December.

“We’re in this together and we have a big job ahead of us,” Lynch said.

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