The Daily News this week contributed a total of $10,000 to help organizations in need during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
This year’s recipients of $5,000 each were Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and the Nia Cultural Center, both headquartered in Galveston.
The gift came via the Carmage and Martha Ann Walls Foundation, which allows publishers at all Southern Newspapers Inc. — owned papers to choose local nonprofits to receive funds each year.
Carmage Walls founded Southern Newspapers, which now owns 12 community newspapers in Texas and Oklahoma. Martha Ann Walls served as president of the company for most of its history. Their daughter, Lissa Walls Cribb, now owns the company. Her parents’ legacy of community giving lives on through her and the foundation.
“On behalf of The Daily News and its employees, I am proud to continue this tradition of investing in our community,” said Leonard Woolsey, publisher of The Daily News and president of Southern Newspapers Inc.
Recent past recipients of Carmage and Martha Ann Walls Foundation grants distributed through The Daily News include the Salvation Army, Galveston County Food Bank and the Community Pool at Lasker Park in Galveston, among many others.
Publishers of each newspaper recommend organizations for funding, and the foundation’s board of trustees votes on distribution.
“It’s an incredible gift to be able to help our communities in this way,” Woolsey said. “This newspaper is part of Galveston County, in good times and in bad, and we are invested in its future.”
This year, publishers were asked to consider giving to organizations affected by COVID-19, which turned out to be an easy task since just about every aspect of the economy has been affected.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston provides a wide range of services to area youth, including health and fitness, college preparation and life skills programs.
Nia Cultural Center, among other services, operates the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, a six-week summer reading and family enrichment program proven not only to prevent summer learning loss but to provide significant gain in reading skills among area students.
Organizations that received grants from Southern Newspapers Inc. in 2020 provide shelter, assist family violence victims, relieve food insecurity, offer health care and rescue abandoned animals, among other worthwhile endeavors.
In the past 10 years, the foundation has given almost $3 million to the communities Walls-owned newspapers serve, including Galveston, Baytown, Brazoria County, Bay City, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, Paris, Del Rio, New Braunfels, Kerrville, Seguin and in Lawton, Oklahoma.
The newspapers themselves also offer matching funds or sponsor local events and activities that benefit the areas they serve. For example, The Daily News awarded scholarships to students of all Galveston County high schools and to the Santa Fe Texas Education Foundation following the tragic shooting on campus.
“I’m proud to work for a community-first newspaper company,” Woolsey said. “We literally are invested in our towns in so many ways, including job creation, community building, accountability journalism, marketing to help local businesses reach audiences and more.
“Walls Foundation grants allow us to have a significant impact on nonprofits that enrich our community and the efforts of local volunteers,” he said.