Sammy Fund awards more than $32,000 to organizations supporting children

QUINCY — More than $32,000 was provided in 21 grants to 20 area organizations supporting children.

Announced last week, the grants were distributed from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund with the Community Foundation Serving West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri.

The fund honors the life of Samantha Otte who died in March 2000 at age 10 after a liver transplant necessitated by cystic fibrosis. The fund has distributed more than $400,000 in grants since late 2000.

“We are so very grateful to all who helped make these blessings possible,” said June Otte, Samantha’s mother. “The grants awarded today will brighten the lives of thousands of disadvantaged area children in Samantha’s memory. We are delighted to know — due to generous community support — that Samantha’s life continues to bring goodness to others.”

The fund was supported until 2014 by proceeds from the Sammy Fund Weekend. In 2015, the Quincy Breakfast Kiwanis Club announced it would continue a Sammy and Kids Golf Outing and donate a portion of the proceeds to the fund for continued growth.

One of the organizations receiving funds was the Quincy Salvation Army.

“Thanks to the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund, Kroc Academy will add accessories to its Sphero robots that will give children more opportunities to learn computer coding in a fun and interactive way,” said Matt Schmidt, assistant development director with the Quincy Salvation Army. “This education program provides Kroc Academy students hands-on learning with technology they don’t have access to at school or home.”

Grants also were awarded to:

• Bella Ease for the Teen Reach College Bound program, providing financial assistance for first-generation college students.

• Cheerful Home Child Care and Early Learning Center for infant playground equipment.

• Connect Child and Family Solutions for transportation in serving foster, intact and Department of Children and Family Services families.

• Cornerstone: Foundations for Families for its Comprehensive Youth Services program.

• Girl Scouts of Central Illinois for its Girl Scout Outreach Program and camperships for girls in need of financial assistance.

• Jackson-Lincoln Swimming Complex for scholarships for low-income swimmers.

• Jensen Woods Camp for playground equipment.

• John Wood Community College Foundation for JDUB Academy tuition assistance.

• John Wood Community College Foundation for financial assistance for participants in the College for Life program.

• Junior Achievement for financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness education for K-12 students.

• Mississippi Valley Council of Boy Scouts of America for campership and scouting opportunities.

• My Brotha’s and My Sista’s Keepers for clothing assistance for disadvantaged children.

• Quincy Art Center for youth art education programming.

• Quincy Christian School for take-home art instruction for students.

• Quincy Community Theatre for support of children’s theater programs, including online virtual instructions and productions.

• Quincy Symphony Orchestra Association for tuition scholarship for low-income participants in Youth Choir and Youth Orchestra and for the purchase of printed music.

• Regional Office of Education #1 for support for Adams County Health Department’s “Ready.Set.Grow!” initiative by purchasing children’s books, onesies and bibs.

• Transitions of Western Illinois Foundation for a wheelchair platform swing.

• United Way of Adams County for children’s books to be provided for the “Covered Bottoms Diaper Bank” participants.

• YMCA of West Central Illinois, Quincy Family YMCA for swim lessons and water safety education for approximately 70 financially challenged Quincy area children.

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