Sedona News – Health First Foundation is calling on residents and businesses to contribute to a matching gift challenge with a goal of awarding $100,000 to an essential before- and after-school program in Sedona.
Health First will match every dollar given, up to $50,000 in total donations, to benefit the Wildcat Extended Day Program at West Sedona School, a Title 1 elementary school that serves a high percentage of students from low-income families. The program aims to help working parents with childcare and benefit the Sedona business community.
“This was identified as one of the more critical needs in the community,” said Emily Snelling, the Wildcat program director. “Childcare has always been in short supply here.”
The Wildcat Extended Day Program is free to parents and requires outside funding to operate. It currently serves 120 students and combines enhanced learning, socializing, healthy eating, exercise, and play. Activities are designed to build self-sufficiency and self-care skills and include gardening, crafts, painting, knitting, and cooking.
The Health First matching gift honors a bequest valued at $3.2 million from Robert S. and Loretta Larson, founders of Larson Newspapers in the Verde Valley. Their legacy gift to Health First Foundation was realized in 2021 after the passing of Robert in 2016 and Loretta in 2020.
“Health First is proud to help fund a program that supports the healthy development of children in our region,” said Sandra Kowalski, Health First Foundation president and CEO. “We are grateful to the Larsons, devoted community members who viewed health and well-being as essential to personal and community growth.”
Kowalski said the foundation looks forward to connecting with individuals and businesses interested in fostering confident and resilient children.
Donations are matched dollar for dollar by Health First and are accepted until the $100,000 goal is reached or until June 30, whichever comes first. To donate to the Wildcat Extended Day Matching Gift Program, visit https://give.healthfirstforall.org/sedonawildcat or call (928) 223-9250.