A record-setting year

COURTESY PHOTOLinda Haskell, president of the Andona Society

Clown Town rides and games may have cost more than you thought they should, but the popular event's profits have helped toward record-setting fundraising this year.

Andona, a women's group in Andover, has hosted Clown Town for more than 50 years. The group runs many fundraisers in town and has raised $70,000 this year, which is record for the group. Clown Town, a two-day mini-carnival event held in mid-May in The Park, is the biggest fundraiser for Andona.

"We are now in our 67th year and had a record-setting year of fundraising,'' said Renee Poor, an Andona member. "We raised $70,000.''

To celebrate that financial achievement, the group will award a grant of $10,000 this year to the organization with a project that best meets Andona's goal of helping the young people of Andover.

"It's our mission to support kids in Andover with programs that help them to learn, grow and achieve," Poor said. "We're thrilled to be doing this."

Grant-seekers must submit a detailed request, using the form available on the Andona.org website. The deadline for applying is Feb. 15. While it is not required that the entity or organization be in Andover, the project must benefit children who live in Andover.

“We will be looking for the best project or program that will benefit the most children in Andover who otherwise may not have the same opportunities,” said Linda Haskell, president of Andona.

Haskell said Andona awards about $30,000 to schools, sports teams, and arts and cultural clubs each year. Those annual awards will still be given, along with the $10,000 grant. Andona’s by-laws require that certain organizations, such as schools, receive grants to help out run extra programs.

Six grants were awarded this school year. The were: $1,000 to Andover High School’s Challenge Day, $800 to the Just Say Whoa to Bullying Program, $500 to Parent to Parent, $500 to Andover High School field hockey, $500 to Andover High cheerleading, and $500 to the Andover High female swim team.

Haskell said a committee of Andona members will review requests for the $10,000 grant and present the top three submissions to the general membership for a vote.

“We are excited to see what comes in,” she said.

Andona has a long history of giving. The group awards five $2,000 scholarships annually to graduating high school seniors who live in Andover and about $14,000 in camperships for children who otherwise may not be able to go to summer camp. 

“Our hope with this campership program is that every Andover child, regardless of their means, can attend a camp of their choice each summer,'' Haskell said.

Fundraising continues, as Andona’s fifth annual "Shine the Light" is the group's next activity, scheduled for the winter solstice on Dec. 21.  A $20 donation provides a luminary kit with candles and bags, a raffle entry and a coupon book.

The luminary kits are a way to decorate front steps or walkways, and many neighborhoods have made it an annual tradition, along with neighborhood strolls, to view the displays, Haskell said.

Andona is partnering again this year with the Andover Youth Center.  As an alternative, kits may be donated so local young people can decorate the Youth Center.

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