Empower Ellsworth grants go to student projects

By Sarah Nigbor
Posted 2/21/24

ELLSWORTH – Three student-led community service projects received grants from the Empower Ellsworth program, an annual grant competition hosted by Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation …

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Empower Ellsworth grants go to student projects


ELLSWORTH – Three student-led community service projects received grants from the Empower Ellsworth program, an annual grant competition hosted by Ellsworth E3 Community Development Corporation in collaboration with Ellsworth Community School District.

The three projects, detailed below, received a total of $450. Ellsworth high and middle school students who applied for the program presented their ideas to a panel of judges Monday, Jan. 22 including EHS Principal Oran Nehls, E3 President Kayleen Jakes, and Pierce County Journal Editor/E3 board member Sarah Nigbor.

E3 would like to thank the businesses and individuals who donated to the program, allowing students to implement their ideas to make Ellsworth a better place/ A big thank you to EHS teacher/E3 board member Anne Pechacek for organizing the competition.

Basketball camp

Ellsworth High School students Morgan Halverson, Alivia Maher and Reese Matzek received $100 toward a youth girls basketball camp for grades K-8, to be held in late summer or early fall. This will be Halverson’s third year hosting the camp, which aims to get more girls interested in basketball so they sign up for feeder programs such as summer camps, summer and fall sessions and traveling ball.

Last year more than 80 students participated in the camp, which featured basketball trainer Angie Wenning. Girls will learn the basics of the sport and participate in fun activities. The money will be used for the trainer’s fee, T-shirts, snacks and gift bags. Ellsworth Basketball Association will provide a matching grant.

Children Hospital baskets

EHS students EllaAnn Meier, Hayden Turner and Claire Matzek will receive $150 to kick off a project to provide gift baskets to patients at Children’s Hospital in Minnesota. The money will be used to purchase toys, art supplies, books, blankets, and more for the gift baskets, plus hygiene products, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, Chapstick and more for parents with children in the hospital.

The group plans to sell Spirit Sticks (pretzels with chocolate) at upcoming sporting events to fund their endeavor. The judges also advised them to connect with local businesses for donations or to buy products at cost. If the students can raise $100 from Spirit Stick sales and/or cost savings, E3 with award them an additional $100.

Ellsworth Tennis Clinic

EHS tennis team members Bailey Oleson and Bridget Dendinger received $200 to host a weekly tennis club for middle school students. The club will take place during the school year once a week in the EMS gym. Girls will learn the basics of tennis indoors in an informal setting.

The goal is to introduce them to the sport in order to grow numbers for the high school program. The money will be used to purchase tennis balls, prizes, snacks and drinks for participants. Rackets, purchased in the last couple of years, are provided to students to use.

About E3/Empower Ellsworth

The Ellsworth E3 CDC hosts an annual grant competition to generate ideas and small, powerful, student-led projects to enhance the greater Ellsworth community.

  • Awarded to K-12 students and student groups who wish to do a local service learning project.
  • Grant application requests range from $100 to $1,000
  • Projects and funds must focus on the Ellsworth Community School District area
  • Projects can be independent or in cooperation with a local church or organization (not political)
  • Students work with an adult or teacher to oversee the grant application and presentation.
  • Funds are not directly disbursed to applicants; they must turn in receipts for reimbursement

Starting with funds awarded through the Kohl Foundation, E3 held its first grant contest in 2022 with the support of ECSD. They awarded seven grants totaling $5,000. With future funds raised through the E-Town Collaborative rental space and private donations, the Empower Ellsworth annual grant contest will be held.

Business sponsorships are available for $250, $500 or $1,000. To donate, contact Anne Pechacek at pechackea@ellsworth.k12.wi.us

Ellsworth E3 is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 community development corporation whose mission is to improve quality of life by generating, managing, and allocating resources to meet the current and future needs for our Ellsworth community.

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