Family-run Jandy Ammons Foundation awards first round of grants

sbarr@newsobserver.comMarch 7, 2014 

— At the Jandy Ammons Foundation, giving back is a family affair.

The foundation is the brainchild of Jan and Andy Ammons, long-time leaders in northern Wake County, who want to help local nonprofits pursue projects that will have a lasting effect on the community.

And they’ve brought their three twenty-something children – Jessie, Max and Drew – into the endeavor as well. Jessie serves on the foundation’s board with her parents, while her brothers play a role on the foundation’s committees.

Andy said the foundation is a way for the family to work together to continue a tradition of supporting the local community. He’s worked for three decades as a real estate developer, including of the Heritage Community in Wake Forest, while Jan knows the ways of nonprofit and civic organizations well after years as an active volunteer.

They’re hoping to combine those skills in the next phase of their lives through the foundation.

“We’re ready to do something else,” he said. “But we still want to help people.”

The Ammons started planning the foundation in 2012 and earned their official nonprofit status last year.

The foundation made its first round of grants, totaling $87,000 for five projects, earlier this year. The Ammons are hoping that in several years, they’ll be able to give as much as $500,000 each cycle.

The grants announced in January range from $500 for the North Carolina Native Plant Society for a native plant area along the Black Creek Greenway to $67,000 for the Miracle League of the Triangle to help build a new baseball field for children with special needs.

The foundation is focused on helping organizations with a strong volunteer base pursue a one-time capital project. Jan said she’s often seen organizations that are ready to begin or complete an ambitious project if they could just get one funding push.

Traci Hood, executive director of the Miracle League of the Triangle, said that’s exactly what the grant did for the group. The new ballfield had been under construction, but the grant helped the group cross the finish line.

“It absolutely helped push us over the edge to finish construction in a timely way,” she said. The inaugural game will be played at the field later this month.

The foundation also gave grants to Inter-Faith Food Shuttle to construct an aquaponic system , to Raleigh City Farm to build a high tunnel and to Agape Kure Beach Ministries for swamp habitat observation platforms.

The Ammons’ daughter, Jessie, who works in publishing and also is an active volunteer, said working with the foundation has been a chance to help at a broader level.

“There are a lot of people doing a really great things,” she said. “And it’s cool to be in a position where I can actually help them.”

The foundation’s areas of interest are wildlife habitats, park settings, educational surroundings, artistic installations or Christian church mission projects.

Letters of inquiry for the next round of grants must be received on or before May 2. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal for further consideration on or before July 14. More information can be found at thejandyammonsfoundation.org.

Barr: 919-836-4952

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