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BEEMAN FOUNDATION AWARDS $149,000 TO 41 PROGRAMS

Forty-one Niagara County-based programs that provide help to young people will receive a share of $149,000 in awards from the Martha H. Beeman Foundation.

Among this year's recipients are:

The Barker Police Department's Wobble Goggles project, which seeks to deter drunken driving by simulating the effects of intoxication through a virtual reality device.

Chess Beats the Streets, which aims to teach street kids that intelligence and wit can beat violence and force.

The Francis Center and Center for Joy, which provide disadvantaged youths a place to learn, relate to caring, responsible adults and get something to eat.

Little Loop Football, which buys costly football equipment for needy youngsters.

Twin Cities Community Out-Reach to help replace a 30-year-old roof on a North Tonawanda food and clothing distribution center.

Sixty-nine agencies applied for grants this year, according to William Sdao, director. The foundation made its first awards totaling $143,000 to 23 agencies last year after net assets exceeded $2 million.

Internal Revenue Service requirements mandate that 5 percent or more of assets be given away annually to preserve the status of a charitable foundation.

The foundation gives special attention to new experimental ways of reaching as yet-unattended youth needs. In her original award of $500,000 to the community in 1929, Martha Beeman specified the funds were to be used solely "to help those too young to have created their own errors." The foundation became a separate charitable institution when the child guidance center was merged with similar functions at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

"Once we became a community-based foundation, we quickly came to realize there were a great many good youth projects which simply needed a little extra boost -- and we could provide it," said foundation president Donald Smith.

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