United Way receives grant for renovation

HARLINGEN — For 65 years, United Way of Northern Cameron County has been known for granting funds for local agencies to help better the community.

But this time they’re the ones receiving the help.

United Way has been awarded a $38,000 grant from the Meadows Foundation, an organization in Dallas that aims to help Texas communities with projects that support the environment, public education and health.

According to Kathy Preddy from United Way, the grant was awarded recently.

“We’re just really excited because we’ve been here since 1952 and it’s always been about raising money and giving back to the community and we’ve given over $12 million back to the community, but sometimes we need a little space and help, too,” Preddy said.

Money from the grant is set to go toward improvements of United Way’s home building.

The organization moved to its new location, a historic home that is 100 years old off of Harrison Avenue, more than a year ago.

Volunteers and donated materials furniture were used to fix up the building before they moved in.

Jessica Belschner from United Way said a lot of work has gone into the building, but the grant will allow them to finish off the project.

“We have a lot of big plans for the building,” Belschner said.

Top needs for the building involve creating storage space and making the inside of the building easily accessible for the public to access for programming.

“We have a lot of programming already in this building, so that grant will just make it more attainable and nicer for people to come in and have meetings here,” Belschner said.

Preddy and Belschner say they hope to eventually use the space for veterans and children’s programming when they fix it up.

Currently they utilize the area as an office space and place where various board meetings take place.

But before they can open it to the community, Belschner said work is going to have to be done to make the place wheel-chair accessible and friendlier to the public for programming.

While they are happy to have received the grant, Preddy and Belschner know there is a long road of work ahead.

United Way is set to receive the grant money mid-February.

“It’s so nice that something has come in for us to improve our image and be more efficient,” Preddy said.

Algur and Virginia Meadows established the Meadows Foundation in 1948 when they wanted to create a wealth of resources to benefit and serve the people of Texas.

The Foundation funds in the areas of arts and culture, civic/public affairs, education, health and human services.