Close to $1.5 million in grant money was provided to Madera County by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians on Tuesday and presented to the Madera County Board of Supervisors for the benefit of the region. In total, 33 grants were issued to be used for the county in regards to schools, environmental groups, fire and safety, veterans and more.

Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians Tribal Council Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales commented on the issue of the grants by stating that the tribe cannot think of a better way to kick off the giving season than to support the 33 deserving organizations that do such important work for the community. A banquet was hosted for the organizations to be recognized for their efforts at the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino, located near Coarsegold.

The grants were awarded to applicants who were selected from requests dating back to 2014. The requests for the grants were delayed due to conflicts within the tribe as well as from the closing of the casino in October of that same year. The casino would later reopen on the last day of 2015.

The announcement of the grants was announced by the tribal council after Gonzales and other leaders of the tribe took part in meetings with the Chairman of the Board, Rick Farinelli and Vice Chairman Max Rodriguez. The 65 grant applications were then narrowed down to 33. In total, 65 applications were received totaling $4.2 million.

According to Rodriguez, the grants are timely and critical contributions for the community and show the importance of a successful partnership between the tribe and Madera County is. The last time grants were awarded to the community was in December of 2013 when 31 recipients of the county were given in the amount of $623,000.

For 2016, 18 of the 33 grants awarded went to Oakhurst organizations. Four grants were part of a settlement agreement from this year which totaled almost $650,000. Manna House received the majority of this money, at just over $300,000, which will be used to purchase an acre of property to expand storage and help those in need in the local community.

The 14 additional grants provided to Oakhurst are in amounts of $25,000 each and spread out to various organizations in the community. In total, the Oakhurst area received almost $1 million in grant money.

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