Community Knights strive to ensure GIFT grant awardees are innovating and growing their programs. Their primary goal in fundraising efforts and grant awards are based on community collaboration. The GIFT program has a few simple, yet strict, requirements: All grants must directly benefit the citizens of the Virginia Peninsula of Hampton Roads; all awardees must be 501(c)(3) non-profits, public school organizations, or non-profits that the Community Knights’ Board deems a benefit to the Community, which demonstrate the ideals of Community Knights and show fiscal responsibility with the use of the grant. The results from their grant funding to Menchville Show Choir have been an overarching impact that has made the opportunity of participation open to all regardless of financial limitations.
Menchville High School’s Show Choir program joined the Community Knights GIFT program in 2014 and since then, the Show Choir has received almost $34,000 in GIFT grants. These grants are used for a number of necessary resources for the program, but the overarching impact these grants have on students is that they make the program accessible to every student who wants to participate in the group and all group performances. Using the grants to cover necessary resources allows the participation fees to be reduced for all students and makes it possible for the fees to be covered for students who cannot afford them. Students who participate in this program are also less likely to drop out or skip classes. As a result of receiving GIFT Grants, Show Choir students will have access to the following resources and opportunities:
- Choreographers, new costumes, and functional set components, such as risers, for their performances
- Grants have been used to pay licensing fees for the music the group uses
- Transportation for out-of-town performances and competitions, such as the Boston performance they have been invited to participate in next year
- The group has been invited to perform in Austria at the 200th anniversary of Silent Night next year, where they will also have the opportunity to visit various historical sites in Europe. They are the only school group in the area that was invited to attend.
- Two students have received two-year full tuition scholarships to a college in Wyoming
Community Knights next round of grants will be issued this fall and they look forward to again supporting public school organizations and non-profits that are a benefit to our community.