In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Abbot Kinney Festival Association (AKFA) has announced its new Community Grants Program, which is funded by proceeds from the annual Abbot Kinney Festival in Venice.

Now through July 1st, the AKFA is accepting applications from Venice-based nonprofit organizations in support of programs and services aimed at youths and families in the surrounding community. For more details and to apply online, http://abbotkinney.org/grants.html/.

Since its inception in 1984, the festival association has invested well over $100,000 into the community of Venice. Since 2002 alone, the group has made nearly $70,000 in direct grants to ten local nonprofit organizations.

This year, $20,000 of proceeds from the 2008 festival will be awarded through grants up to $5,000 each. Recipients will be recognized during this year’s Abbot Kinney Festival. Proceeds from the sales of sponsorships, exhibitor booths, event-run concessions, commemorative merchandise, and advertising help fund the AKFA Community Grants Program.

“We wanted to ensure that all Venice nonprofits are aware of the available funding and that our sponsors, exhibitors, and community members are informed of the festival’s charitable purpose,” said Elisa James, AKFA board member and past board president, who helped create the program along with current board co-chairs, David Reiss, Jonathan Zeichner, and the volunteer board.

“The Abbot Kinney Festival is a celebration of life and beauty, and we are gratified to be able to invest the proceeds back into projects in the community, such as arts and education for youth, mural preservation, and school renovations. This year’s event will also include a canned food drive called ‘Give What You Can’ to involve attendees in giving, too,” said Zeichner. “We’re having fun and making a difference—that’s the spirit of Venice.”

For more info about the AKFA Community Grants Program and the 2009 Abbot Kinney Festival, www.abbotkinney.org/, or (310) 396-3772.

The Abbot Kinney Festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, September 27th, along a one-mile stretch of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, between Venice Boulevard and Main Street.

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