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Horizon Foundation Hands Out Grants for Arts in Moorestown

Perkins Center for the Arts and Moorestown Theater Company each received grants from the philanthropic arm of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Two Moorestown arts organizations got a boost recently after receiving sizable grants from the Horizon Foundation.

Perkins Center for the Arts and Moorestown Theater Company received $15,000 and $10,000, respectively, as part of the Foundation's fourth and final round of grants. The Foundation, an arm of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, distributes millions of dollars in grants to health and arts organizations throughout the state annually.

Jon Pearson, director of corporate philanthropy and community affairs, said the Foundation pays special attention to areas in which Horizon has a presence. Horizon has a health insurance retail center—Horizon Connect—in East Gate Square and an office in Mount Laurel.

"We want to enrich the areas where we do business as a good corporate citizen," Pearson said, adding that the arts "certainly enriches the quality of life in a community. It brings diversity to the community ... It brings economic impact to the community."

The Horizon Foundation has consistently supported Perkins Center for a number of years, according to Perkins associate director Diane Felcyn. However, this year's grant was even more generous than usual—the arts center typically received $10,000.

The grant will help fund Perkins' ARTS (Arts Reaching The Students) residencies, in which professional artists are placed in local schools for week- or monthlong residencies. Felcyn said the cost of running the program is split evenly between the schools, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and grants/fundraising.

"(Horizon's grant) just helps us continue to offer the program and to maintain it at the level it's at," and potentially expand it, she said. "We really love having a relationship with them."

Last year, the ARTS program provided 240 days of instruction to students in 14 schools, primarily in Burlington and Camden counties. 

The grant for Moorestown Theater Company (MTC) will go toward general operations. Carol Ann Murray, the company's managing director, said the benefits are twofold.

"Not only will this grant help MTC continue our mission of providing a place where everyone is welcome, especially children and families, to have fun participating in theater together, but it will also help us be more successful in applying for other grants, as foundations like to see who else is funding an organization," she said. "We are very excited that Horizon Foundation has started MTC’s second decade with this generous show of financial support."

Forty-nine nonprofits received $939,000 during the fourth round of 2012 grants. Since January 2012, the Horizon Foundation has awarded more than $6.7 million in grants to 128 organizations.

For more information, or to apply if you're a nonprofit, visit the Horizon Foundation's website here

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