(April 13, 2023) — The Community Foundation of Abilene, with support from community contributions and donor-advised funds, has awarded more than $1M to volunteer fire departments (VFDs) in the last year including more than $267k awarded in the 2023 spring grant cycle.
These grant funds provide added support for VFDs to purchase the safety and equipment needed to serve and protect our neighbors in communities surrounding Abilene. Their requests ranged from personal protective gear (structural and wildland), firefighting foam, radios, SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus), partial funding for trucks, additions to fire stations, and fire shelters (wildland). The departments were also reimbursed for truck repairs, tires, and replacing hoses and nozzles during the Eastland Complex and Mesquite Heat fires.
"The funds provide VFDs with the supplies and equipment they need," said CFA President/CEO Katie Alford. "Those who contributed to the VFD grant cycles support more than just their local department but all of the departments responding to disaster, too."
"I have seen an outpouring of support for our local VFDs," said CFA Rural Grants Manager, Meagan Harris. "I am incredibly grateful to work with each department to give them the tools they need to succeed and keep our rural communities safe."
The North Lake Brownwood VFD is just one example of a department who received a grant in the last year. In 2022, North Lake Brownwood was awarded a $12k grant to purchase bunker gear. Soon thereafter, the Eastland Complex fires happened. With donor support, the Foundation provided an additional $14k grant so that wildland gear could be purchased as the volunteer men and women had been fighting the fires wearing their jeans.
The Community Foundation of Abilene's grant cycle for volunteer fire departments (VFDs) opens at the start of each new year. Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 and VFDs from the following counties are eligible: Brown, Callahan, Coleman, Comanche, Eastland, Fisher, Haskell, Jones, Kent, Knox, Mitchell, Nolan, Runnels, Scurry, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor and Throckmorton.
To learn more about VFD grant opportunities, click here.