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Congratulations to the seven area nonprofit agencies who were notified earlier this week of grants awarded by DOW Chemical Company. I sat on the committee that screened the more than 40 applicants, the most ever to apply, and it was tough narrowing them down. There are many worthy projects out there and I hope they receive the funding they need to be completed.

Word also came down that this week that the executive director of the Crossroads Chapter of the American Red Cross is no longer with the agency.

Learned, too, this week of a web site devoted to volunteerism -- matching agencies needing volunteers with those wanting to volunteer. Go to www.volunteermatch.org and type in your zip code. For Victoria, several agencies needing assistance came up.

Also, a reminder. We are continuing our Helping Hands series on Saturdays. There is a short, simple form to fill out, maybe a follow-up question or two. Get in touch with me to find out how easy it is to be included.

Nonprofit agencies in the Victoria area are also invited to join our on-line community and utilize our print media in a variety of ways.

Representatives can start their own blog, regularly updating our readers on happenings in their organizations. Agencies may also submit calendar items via the web site, and they will also show up in the printed paper. We also welcome guest columns that would appear on our Viewpoints page and, of course, on the web.

I encourage agencies to consider these opportunities. Give me a call or drop me an e-mail at slong@vicad.com if you have questions on how to get started.