By MATT HOPF
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
Fourteen area nonprofit organizations that support children are sharing $18,000 in grants distributed Monday morning from the Samantha Otte Youth Opportunity Fund.
The grants were distributed during the morning assembly in the Washington Elementary School gym.
The fund has now distributed $215,000 since its inception in 2000.
The fund is named in honor of Samantha Otte, who died at age 10 in March 2000. Samantha was the daughter of Chuck and June Otte, whose family and friends created something positive in her honor by forming the Sammy Fund, through which about 100 volunteers work to raise money to benefit other children. The chief source of revenue is the Sammy Fund event, held each October since 2000.
The Ottes expressed gratitude Monday for the ongoing support that has enabled the grant program to continue each year.
"We are grateful for the overwhelming support we have received because it has allowed so much goodness in Sam's memory," Ju ne Otte said in an interview.
The annual grant-distribution ceremonies have been conducted at various locations around Quincy.
"But this is the coolest place that we've done it," Chuck Otte said Monday during the assembly at Washington School, where students got involved in passing out checks to representatives of the various nonprofit organizations. Each representative then briefly explained how the money will be used to benefit children.
June Otte said Washington School was a great venue for distributing grants this year.
"The grants benefit children that attend school here, so it really helps bring the focus back on what this is all about -- on the children," she said.
The primary purposed of the Sammy Fund is to support organizations that maintain and enhance community betterment, along with artistic, leadership and humanitarian opportunities for young people. Money is raised each fall during the Sammy Fund weekend.
Most of the proceeds from the annual event go to the fund, along with memorial gifts and other donations. The fund is administered by the Community Foundation of the Quincy Area.
Major sponsors of the 2012 Sammy Fund weekend were County Market, Refreshment Services Pepsi, The Quincy Herald-Whig and WGEM.
The Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves 13 counties in West-Central Illinois, Northeast Missouri and Southeast Iowa. It builds permanent funds to address needs and opportunities in communities.
Since 1999, the Community Foundation has awarded more than 1,300 grants totaling over $1.9 million through more than 130 funds providing support for various programs and projects in the region.