Tracy Dvorak

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January 30, 2013
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Grant program targets childhood literacy efforts in Mesa County

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Bessie Roberts Minor was born in 1887 in Kansas. She and husband Dean Swift had three boys, one of which, Phil Swift, went on to found Swift Communications, the parent company of the Grand Junction Free Press.

Bessie always stressed the importance of education in her boys' upbringing, mainly through her vast interest in English, reading, history and music.

That's what son Phil remembers most, and it's why he established the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation, a grant program to promote education and literacy, in honor of his mother.

Grant applications from nonprofits in Mesa County are now being accepted.

This is the second year the Grand Junction Free Press has been able to offer this grant program to the community.

Grants, which may range from $500-$2,500, will be awarded to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing, and programs in the arts, languages and sciences.

"Our company recognizes there are many wonderful programs in this community that focus on literacy, the arts and sciences and certainly some of those organizations could use a little extra financial help," said Valerie Richardson, manager of special projects for Swift Communications. "Last year, a nonprofit group in Grand Junction was awarded $1,000 for its program, so it's worth some time and effort to submit an application."

Grant awards will go to nonprofits who provide direct service to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level of experiencing difficulty reading. The fund prefers to consider grants for programs, rather than technology or supplies. Preference is also given to organizations that do not have access to large fundraising budgets and are local in nature.

Application information is available at, and must be received via email by March 1. Applications will either be declined or approved by May 1.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 30, 2013 06:01PM Published Jan 30, 2013 05:55PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.