Chrysalis House founder wowed by grant funding
Women’s shelter receives double amount requested
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Oct. 7, 2005 -- Not only was the announcement of a Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation Shelter Grant “really great news” for Women Offering Women Support, it was “shocking” news to WOWS president and founder Tammy Pearson.

Pearson’s joy was so abundant that she had problems speaking around the tears streaming down her face upon receiving the news earlier this week that WOWS and Chrysalis House was one of eight shelters or halfway houses in Texas selected to receive a grant. Better yet, the grant amount awarded the Sulphur Springs shelter is twice what was asked for.

�I was in shock,� Pearson said of the phone conversation with an MKACF representative who advised WOWS will be receiving $20,000 for Chrysalis House. �I started crying. That will take care of our roof!�

Pearson, who had never before applied for a grant, said that she wasn’t even aware the grant funding existed until a Mary Kay consultant handed her the forms to fill out to compete with domestic violence shelters around the country for grant funding. She said filling out the information was quite a challenge, as all information was based on projected expenditures and budgets for the shelter, which won’t open its doors to begin housing women in need until mid-November at the earliest.

She said the application stipulated that the organizations applying had to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and must include complete information about incorporation, its board of directors and budgetary information. Applicants were also required to specify their needs and the projects the grant would help fund. 

�It was just a guess since we�re not open yet,� Pearson said. �It�s what we plan to do and some things we have done using the community. We just gave them what we had. I don�t know why they doubled the amount.�

According to MKACF spokesmen, the foundation rates grant requests according to needs. Some recipients are struggling to keep their doors open, and others desperately need the funds for repairs, programs and other items their budgets don’t cover.

�These family shelters have demonstrated a strong commitment to eliminating the crime of domestic violence, and to helping its victims rebuild their lives,� said Michael Lunceford, MKACF president.�

WOWS is designed as to provide emergency housing for single mothers and their children, pregnant teens and women coming from half-way homes. Chrysalis House will provide that shelter in its 46 rooms, in the donated facility. 

Pearson anticipates the shelter will fill fast as WOWS has already received enough calls from assistance agencies all over the state to fill the center two or three times over.

�I�ve had calls from all over. There was an article printed about us in the �Baptist Standard,� and we�ve had calls from all over the state. We could have already filled it. We get a lot of calls from the probation office. A lot of times when women get out of jail, they have no place to go and end up back in jail. This is to help them get back on their feet,� Pearson said.

So far, a lot of progress has been made in converting the facility from what was a nursing home several years ago to a bright, hopeful atmosphere in which to shelter women in need. In fact, 54 different churches and organizations have contributed to the project. The most recent was a $60,000 corporate donation of kitchen equipment.

While there is still plenty of work to be accomplished, Pearson says the contractor working on the project indicated a Nov. 15 completion and opening date. She is also quick to give credit to God and volunteers and the community for all successes and progress achieved thus far.

For more information about WOWS or ways to volunteer or make donations, visit their web site www.wowsupport.org.

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