Shelter wins state award

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NATCHEZ — Catholic Charities in Natchez recently received the Governor’s Award for having the best emergency shelter in the state — the Guardian Shelter for battered women.

Execute director of Catholic Charities Martha Mitternight said the award they received was based on a grant — the Emergency Shelter Grant — the non-profit organization wrote.

And this does not mean that Catholic Charities only has good writing skills.

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Submitting a grant application requires a lot of paperwork on the organization, so it’s basically a report.

In essence, the grant reflects the job that is being done at the organization.

So while the grant was the middleman that was judged, ultimately, Catholic Charities deserves the honors, not the grant.

Mitternight said the award was also based on performance reports written up by site visitors that come from Mississippi Development Authority.

“Our shelter scored the highest on all of those areas,” Mitternight said.

When writing a grant, the organization also gathers letters of support and Mitternight attributes that support to the award, as well.

“We have a lot of community support,” Mitternight said.

This includes city government, private businesses, law enforcement, the hospitals, different service providers, and more, she said.

One other factor that plays into receiving the award is how well an organization executes a grant, which means spending the money wisely and effectively.

Last Thursday, the award was presented in Jackson to Natchez Catholic Charities representatives.

“We’re just very, very pleased to receive the award and I’m very pleased with the amount of dedication and hard work the staff puts into everything they do,” Mitternight said.

She said having an award like this could also bring in additional money from other grants.

“I think when we can say that in a cover letter to another grant that we received this award it tells all persons on board that are reading grants that this is an agency who has the ability to work a grant and bring it into fruition,” she said.