Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna awards $3,000 in grants to community groups

The city’s mini grant program distributes $4,000 in grants annually

Three groups will each receive $1,000 grants from the City of Soldotna following a vote in favor of the move by Soldotna City Council members Wednesday.

Bridges Community Resource Network, Inc., Lakeside Falls, LLC and Surfbyrds Board Art were all named as recipients of the city’s mini grant program, which distributes $4,000 in grants annually.

Bridges Community Resource Network Inc. will use its $1,000 award to reimburse the purchase of $5 food gift cards as part of January’s Project Homeless Connect event. The gift cards, dispensed by Safeway, Subway and Arby’s, were included in “comfort kits” distributed during the event. The kits also included backpacks filled with toiletries, infant supplies as needed, emergency blankets, laundry and shower vouchers and other items, according to the application submitted to council members.

“Anything that we have left over from that event, then we go ahead and give to Love INC and then they continue to hand them out for the rest of the year,” Bridges Community Resource Network Inc. President Kathy Gensel told council members Wednesday.

Lakeside Falls, LLC, will also receive $1,000 to be used for this year’s “The Longest Day” event, a triathlon meant to raise funds for Alzheimer’s disease awareness. Per the group’s mini grant application, the money will be used to offset the cost of a facility that rents for $5,000 per day.

“Each year in Soldotna on the longest day or as close to the longest day as they can, they do a fundraiser to help raise money for the people that have Alzheimer’s because that’s one of the things that they say — that their day never ends,” said Lakeside Falls LLC Owner Carey Foster, who presented to council members on behalf of the group.

The last group to receive funding through Soldotna’s mini grant program was Surfbyrds Board Art, which will use the $1,000 grant to print T-shirts for Soldotna’s 2023 Wednesday Market season. Artist April Byrd told council members Wednesday that she has been working with market organizers to create artwork for shirts and that shirts would include city branding.

“It will (be) at the very top: Soldotna Wednesday Market 2023, because I plan on doing one of these every single year and it’s going to change every single year,” Byrd said Wednesday.

Council members on Wednesday also considered a grant application from Cajun Moose Nutrition, who sought to use the money for the grand opening of a retail store. Distributor Rebecca Harper told council members that the location will be Herbalife’s first nutrition club in Alaska and sell nutrition teas advertised as being healthier than other caffeinated or energy drinks.

“Alaska is no stranger to Herbalife distributors … but nutrition clubs are a little bit different,” Harper told council members. “It’s still under the MLM category, but kind of like with Avon you run your own business within the commercial nutrition club.”

Programs eligible to be funded through Soldotna’s mini grant program include those designed to improve the quality of life of the community, to preserve and promote the area’s history, to provide basic human needs or to improve health services, among other things.

Programs ineligible to be funded through the grant include those that support a political candidate or issue, religious programs or events, large programs that may require years to complete or travel requests for groups or individuals, among other things.

Council members were able to award three grants Wednesday because only one grant was awarded during the city’s most recent grant cycle.

Wednesday’s full meeting of the Soldotna City Council can be streamed on the city’s website at

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at

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