The St. Croix Valley Foundation recently announced the recipients of its most recent competitive grant program. This fall, the organization awarded $33,940 to 14 schools in Wisconsin and Minnesota through its Music Education grants program.

"Music has shown to have a positive impact on student learning, self-discipline, thinking skills and creative abilities," said Kris Tjornehoj, chair of SCVF's Music Education grant panel. "And there is a pressing need to provide resources that sustain and enhance music programs in our schools - whether to repair and replace aging instruments pieced together with wire and duct-tape, to give students exposure to world class musicians, or to extend loaner instruments to students when their family's financial resources are limited."

Music Education grants are given annually, each December. The grants are made possible by a donor whose gift established an endowment fund. The donor, herself once a teacher, wished to give the gift of music to students of all ages, from preschool through high school.

The SCVF provides donors with the opportunity to create or add to Valley Impact Funds for causes that are closest to their hearts. The foundation has funds addressing a variety of causes including music education, the arts, health and wellness, the environment and animals. The advantage of these funds is the foundation's mission is unchanging yet they remain current and flexible. The foundation cannot guess tomorrow's issues or know which organizations can best address those issues at that time. However, through Valley Impact Funds and the competitive grants programs, the SCVF places grant dollars in the most capable hands at the right time, in perpetuity.

"The St. Croix River region continues to benefit from generous donors who want to give back to improve their communities" said SCVF board member, Matt Thueson. "It is an honor to see our donors' wishes spring to life each year through these grants."

The next round of competitive grants, focused on arts and health and wellness, are due on Feb. 10. Visit scvfoundation.org for additional information on grant guidelines and eligibility.

Area schools receiving grants - which were awarded in December - include:

• Ellsworth Middle School, replacement piano - $2,879

• Prescott High School, recording studio digital piano - $825

• Renaissance Charter Academy, beginning guitar lesson program for students at-risk - $1,200

• River Falls Public Montessori Elementary, global music program and concert - $1,301

• Rocky Branch Elementary School, bass bars for Orff instruments - $2,907

• Somerset Middle School, euphonium - $1,588

• St. Croix Central High School, high school digital piano - $4,100.

The St. Croix Valley Foundation is a regional philanthropic organization that includes local affiliated funds dedicated to building lasting resources that serve the people, communities and environment of the St. Croix Valley region. For more information, please contact Angie Pilgrim at apilgrim@scvfoundation.org or 715.386.9490.