Butterfly Effect Project receives $42K in grant money to expand programs

The Butterfly Effect Project hit the jackpot this week, receiving two grants totaling $42,000 that will help the program expand, according to Tijuana Fulford, the founder of the non-profit organization, which seeks to empower young girls.

The first grant was a $25,000 Neighborhood Assist grant that was competitive, with people casting votes for projects seeking the grants.

State Farm initially accepted 2,000 applications nationwide and then narrowed that down to 200, and then the 20 winners were chosen for the $25,000 Tuesday.

The other grant was for $17,000 and came from the Long island Community Foundation, a non-profit, charitable organization that connects donors with the full spectrum of charitable organizations within our community.

The Butterfly Effect Project applied for the LICF grant last summer and got the award this week.

The Butterfly Effect Project now has 223 members, including 13 boys. It was founded in 2014 with just 8 girls.

It costs $583 per girl to be in the program for a year, according to Ms. Fulford. Girls in the program come from a variety of places, including Riverside, Riverhead, Center Moriches, Shirley, Mastic, Mastic Beach, Coram, Middle Island, Bellport, Brentwood, Westhampton, Flanders Northampton, and Hampton Bays.

Ms. Fulford said the money from the two grants would both go toward the same goal: expanding the program, which currently has a waiting list.

“With these grants, we’re going to be able to expand and open up three new chapters,” she said. “My eyes are set on Southampton Town. I would love to be open in the heart of Southampton. I also would like to open a chapter in the Flanders area.”

A Southampton location would enable people from the Bridgehampton area to more easily access the program, she said.

“The Butterfly Effect Project is so overwhelmed by the public support from area churches, school districts, medical offices, other civic and volunteer organizations and local media,” the group said in a press release announcing Tuesday’s “reveal party” at First Baptist Church of Riverhead.

The Butterfly Effect Project was the only project in New York State to receive the State Farm grant, Ms. Fulford said.

“The Butterfly Effect Project aspires to ensure that every girl enrolled in the program has a fair chance to broaden their horizons by eliminating obstacles such as mobility, cultural differences and finances,” Ms. Fulford wrote in the grant application.

The free project conducts a 10-month leadership programing with the girls to empower them, “by giving them the tools to assist in achieving emotionally stable and self-confident futures, in hopes of bringing forth a generation of women who are strong, independent and knowledgeable,” the group said.

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Photo caption: The two grants will help The Butterfly Project expand its programs. (Tim Gannon photo)