Port Huron Old Newsboys, other nonprofits receive grants at Community Foundation multicultural event

When Mary Meadows walked into the Community Foundation’s Minority Philanthropy Initiative on Oct. 13, at the Blue Water Convention Center, she had no idea the nonprofit she represents would walk away with a $3,000 grant by the night’s end.

“I was totally ecstatic we were even chosen to be on the grant recipient list, much less to receive the most votes and win the top grant,” says Meadows, President of the Port Huron Old Newsboys, a local nonprofit that raises money to buy boots, coats, and other winter clothing for local children in need.

Hosted by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, the Minority Philanthropy Initiative honors the region’s diversity and generosity through an annual multicultural celebration where several local nonprofits are awarded grants to help improve its services.

At this year’s event, in addition to the top grant of $3,000 to the Port Huron Old Newsboys, SONS Outreach received $2,500, and Hunter Hospitality House received $1,000.

“It’s important for us to highlight different local cultures each year in a way that’s unique and gives attendees a chance to experience something they’ve never been part of during the multicultural celebration. This was such a fun, family-friendly, and remarkable evening to be part of,” says Nikki Reyna Green, member of the Community Foundation’s Equity & Inclusion Fund.

Founded nearly a century ago in 1927, the Port Huron Old Newsboys raises money to provide warm, winter clothing for St. Clair County youngsters ages 4 to 13 who would otherwise go without.

Until two years ago, the primary way Old Newsboys volunteers collected donations was by hawking copies of the Port Huron Times Herald the first weekend in December. But the organization was forced to end that tradition when it was no longer cost effective, Meadows says.

“Now we’ve gone to a new fundraising model and are open to receiving donations all year long,” she says. “All donations go right back out into the community in vouchers for winter clothing for children and just a small amount for overhead. We are all volunteers, so no one gets paid.”

The Old Newsboys’ goal this year is $60,000 — enough money to provide 1,000 eligible children with a $60 gift card towards the purchase of winter coat apparel, shoes, boots, socks, or underwear from Meijer in Fort Gratiot Township

Those requesting gift cards must have an active case in St. Clair County with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to apply.

“While the need for assistance has increased in the last year, we haven’t been able to increase the number of children we help due to the lack of funds coming in,” Meadows says. “That’s one of the reasons we are so thrilled with the multicultural celebration grant we received last week.”

For those interested in supporting, donations can be made by texting 44321 and entering code ONB, through its Facebook page, through the Old Newsboys Association of Port Huron Fund with the Community Foundation, or by mailing a check to The Old Newsboys, P.O. Box 100, Marysville, MI 48040.

“We’re trying to meet the needs of more and more children, so every donation is greatly appreciated,” Meadows says.