Supporters of the Cordova Trail and Covered Spaces Project gathered at the Breakwater trailhead on Aug. 27 to celebrate a summer of fundraising efforts. Photo by Kinsey Brown for The Cordova Times

Four local organizations each received $5,000 in funding from the Cordova Electric Cooperative (CEC) and CoBank last month. The award recipients were the Cordova Covered Spaces Project, Cordova Imagination Library, Iceworm Swim Team, and the Mavis Island Project. 

Joe Cook, CEC board chair, presented the checks to the selected organizations for the CoBank Sharing Success Program. The program matches contributions from its customers to a charitable organization or cause of the customers’ choice. Since 2012, CoBank has facilitated $76 million in combined donations with its customers through this program. 

Co-founder of the Covered Spaces Project Natasha Casciano said the organization is excited for the $5,000 and that “receiving this donation will help to construct Covered Spaces for all people to enjoy.” 

In its application, the Cordova Covered Spaces Project said it wanted to put the funding toward their goal of creating covered outdoor spaces around Cordova for community members to enjoy. Through community outreach and partnerships, the Covered Spaces Project has raised $22,000 for the purpose of building covered spaces in Cordova. 

“The Cordova Trail and Covered Spaces Project structures will create places for people to gather and spend time outdoors year-round,” said Casciano. “The spaces will foster connection between the surrounding lands and all people. The project hopes to promote respectful relationships with the land around us and with each other to create more engaged stewardship and appreciation of this beautiful area.” 

The award funding is split evenly between CEC and CoBank. CoBank is one of the banks that CEC uses, and the Sharing Success Program is a charitable program the organization conducts annually. CEC is required to match the CoBank contribution.   

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Leif Stavig, with the CEC, explained that the recipient organizations must be a local nonprofit, but organizations can use the grant funds however they see fit. This annual tradition has been happening since 2014. 

The Cordova Imagination Library said it would put their funds toward buying books and putting on family engagement activities for Cordova’s 100 children under the age of 5 that they are working to prepare for kindergarten. The Imagination Library’s fiscal sponsor is the Cordova Parent Teacher Association. 

“Cordova Imagination library is an amazing program that helps prepare young children to be ready for kindergarten by sending a free age-appropriate book each month to every child who signs up,” said Denise Hamberger, a coordinator with the program. “We are so grateful for this donation as we rely on community funding to run our program. Because of this generous donation we are able to put more books in children’s homes.” 

The Mavis Island Project applied for the monetary award to address cabin repairs, construction of an outhouse, camp supplies for summer 2024, personnel costs, outreach, and website maintenance. The group said that this funding will allow them to keep camp registration fees low and scholarships available. 

According to Marcela Wagner with the youth swim team, the money set for the Iceworms will be used to purchase equipment and supplies such as flippers, kickboards and pull buoys. 

“The team of 46 youth swimmers greatly appreciate this generous donation,” said Wagner. 
 

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Elin Johnson
Elin Johnson grew up in Juneau, Kodiak, and Anchorage. She graduated from Linfield University with a degree in Journalism and Media Studies and International Relations. She has written for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, The Well News, New America, The 340B Report, Open Campus Media's Work Shift, and others. Reach Johnson at [email protected].