SALT LAKE CITY — Zions Bank has selected three Utah women to receive its 2012 Smart Women Grants.
The grants are given to recognize women in Utah who excel in categories such as small business start-up and expansion, community development, continuing education and teacher support, child and elderly care, health and human services and arts and culture.
Joan Dixon of Neighbor-2-Neighbor, Heather Fryxell of Movement Mentor Dance Therapy and Julee Smith of Your Community Connection were each given $3,000 during a recent ceremony. Three Idaho women were also awarded grants.
Dixon is a social entrepreneur who works as an adviser and trainer with community-based organizations, including the Neighbor-2-Neighbor Program at the Boulders Apartment Community in Provo. The program organizes representatives who live in the low-income apartment complex to assist neighbors by helping transport them to stores or doctor appointments, organizing health and safety fairs and reporting on problems.
The grant money will cover the cost of stipends for Neighbor-2-Neighbor representatives, who help foster a socially cohesive community.
Fryxell is a former professional ballerina who teaches at Wasatch Dance Center in Heber City, where she has introduced the Movement Mentor Dance Therapy Program. Advanced students are paired with special-needs children for dance instruction and performance experience that helps enhance physical coordination and strength while also boosting self-esteem and creativity.
The grant will help expand this free program to more students.
As executive director of Your Community Connection in Ogden, Smith has encountered hundreds of women and families who successfully transition out of a domestic violence situations through her organization’s crisis center. In 2011, Your Community Connection provided safety and security to 388 women and children though shelter services.
The grant will help provide resources such as bus tokens, educational assistance and training, and fees for accessing documents like social security cards and birth certificates, to help victims make the transition to independent, violence-free lives.
“We are so proud to have developed the Smart Women Grants to help bolster the efforts of everyday heroines like Joan, Julee, and Heather, who strengthen our communities in so many ways through their various talents,” said Diana George, vice president and manager of Zions Bank’s Women’s Financial Group.
Over eight years, Zions Bank has awarded more than $160,000 through the Smart Women Grants.