The Backhus Foundation is pleased to announce that we have been awarding Grants since 1998.   We believe our Grant Awards have been bestowed upon excellent groups and individuals who exemplify the goals of our mission in the best possible ways.  We hope you'll agree.

~ ~ ~ 2017 ~ ~ ~

The Backhus Foundation Grant for 2017 returns us to a very successful and close to home project.

The Backhus Foundation Board has voted to grant additional funds to our previous grant recipient,

- - - The Historic Overlook Community Club - - -

This fine organization is working hard to return an important piece of Waterbury, Connecticut history to its former splendor - the large and fabulous Fulton Park in the Overlook section of Waterbury.

Your Foundation President spent many a glorious summer day playing baseball and many crisp, cold winter afternoons ice skating on the "pond" and enjoying the comfort of the 1930's built warming hut.

The Overlook Club has participated in the long process of restoration of the Hut, + many surrounding features such as rose arbors, paths and decorative grottos. They have also produced their "Fulton Park Map & Guide" to provide today's visitors a way to enjoy these restored features, as we who lived there did in the 1950's.

The Club's efforts have been so successful that they have run out of "Fulton Park Map & Guide" brochures.

Therefore, the Backhus Foundation, for 2016-2017, has voted funds matching our 2014 Grant to the Overlook Club for the printing of a new run of their brochures for this year's park use season.

We are happy to see Fulton Park return to its glory and pleased to provide more funds to help.

Your President, Stephen E. Backhus

~ ~ ~ 2016 ~ ~ ~

For 2016, the Backhus Foundation is pleased to announce a hard cover version of our just-published book, "Folk Tales Of Northern Lithuania", edited by Robert J. Staneslow. Through special arrangement with a premier bookbinding service here in Northern Nevada, we were able to have a number of our published "Folk Tales" books bound in a beautiful deep blue, silver-lettered hard cover edition (see the pictures below).

As we noted last year, you can purchase a soft cover version of "Folk Tales" through You can use the links provided or just type in "Folk Tales of Northern Lithuania" and the soft cover version should come up on Amazon.

The hard cover version is available only from the Backhus Foundation, or from the editor of the "Folk Tales" soft cover book, Robert J. Staneslow, and is in VERY limited supply. The cost will be about $30.00 + shipping. Contact the Foundation via our e-mail below for details on how to order.

We have been delighted to be able to bring "Folk Tales Of Northern Lithuania" to life in English for a new generation of Lithuanian literature lovers to enjoy. Here's to a great rest of 2016 and a fruitful 2017.

Stephen Backhus, President

~ ~ ~ 2014-5 ~ ~ ~

The Backhus Foundation is pleased to announce two Grants for 2014-5:

1)  Our first Grant in 2014 was for a project close to our original home and origins - "The Historic Overlook Community Club", is creating and publishing a 'Fulton Park Map & Guide', so that local residents of the Overlook section of Waterbury, Connecticut, and visitors, can appreciate the beauty of the lovely and gracious Fulton Park, a park comparable to Central Park in Manhattan, and designed by the same architectural firm as Central Park (Fredrick Law Olmstead)!

The brochure and map will be ready for printing by early 2016!

2)  For 2014-5, The Backhus Foundation is very pleased to announce the publication of its 2013-4 Grant - the Lithuanian Translation Project!  The book, (pictured below), titled, "Folk Tales of Northern Lithuania", (collected by Matas Slanciauskas), by Robert J. Staneslow, is available to the public via, and the Backhus Foundation will be distributing copies of the work to various Lithuanian historical organizations in 2016, and beyond.

This is the first accomplished translation into English, that we know of, of a work by the famous Lithuanian patriot, M. Slanciauskas!

~ ~ ~ 2013 ~ ~ ~

The Backhus Foundation Grant for 2013 is a special undertaking. A famous Lithuanian patriot and writer, Matas Slanciauskas, compiled many books in his lifetime, collecting and preserving the folklore and language of Lithuania. He was often imprisoned by the Russian Czar for his efforts. The Backhus Foundation has a special connection to, and empathy for M. Slanciauskas, and has in its possession, several of his folk tale collections, all of which are written in Lithuanian.

For 2013, the Board of Directors has voted a Grant to finish the translation of one of those books, "Šiaures Lietuvos Pasakos" (Northern Lithuanian Folk Tales), into English. This will be, as far as we know, the first translation of one of these historic works into English.

Our Lithuanian historical advisor in Connecticut, R. J. Staneslow, will co-ordinate this exciting project. He and our President and founder, Stephen E. Backhus, are both Lithuanian, and descendants of the author. We are very pleased that the Folk Tales book will finally become accessible to American audiences.

We look forward to completion of the project in 2014!

~ ~ ~ 2012 ~ ~ ~

The Backhus Foundation has again (as in 2010), made two completely different kinds of Grant Awards for 2012:

The Hawthorne Ordnance Museum of Hawthorne, Nevada, will receive a Grant to assist them in properly displaying a large granite Memorial.

It will honor those who died in service to our war efforts here in the USA, while handling the massive loads of war material necessary to supply service men on the battlefields, or oceans, or in the air.

This Grant will fund a portion of the cost for work to prepare the site, build the base, and make it ready for the inclusion of the large War Memorial.

(See the Hawthorne Memorial rendering, please)!
~ ~ ~ ~
The second Grant Award for 2012, is a follow-up to the wonderful 2010 Award to Gunn Museum.

The book, "New Preston Soldiers in the Civil War", was so popular, that it sold out in a few weeks.

The Gunn Museum wanted to publish more of them and, at the suggestion of the Backhus Foundation, requested funds to publish more of the books.  Given the spectacular results of the 2010 Grant to the Gunn Museum for the initial project, this Award was a logical follow-up.

Now more people will be able to enjoy the fruits of the Shepaug Valley Middle School students' labors in transcribing those marvelous old letters, preserved for more than 150 years!
~ ~ ~ 2011 ~ ~ ~

Chinese Students Visit Carrington School of Waterbury, Ct

The Backhus Foundation Grant for 2011 was a unique opportunity to help the Carrington School of Waterbury, CT, host more than 80 students and teachers from Quingdong, China (a city of 15,000,000 people)!

For a week +, our American students were hosts to their sister city counterparts!

The programs included cultural exchanges, theatre presentations, museum trips and more.

The Backhus Foundation Grant assisted in the funding of these events.

The Carrington Newsletter gives more details on this 2011 major Grant.  The results were a fabulous, life-long set of memories for both groups of students!
~ ~ ~ 2010 ~ ~ ~

In 2010, we made two entirely different kinds of grants:

Students of the 8th Grade at Shepaug Valley Middle School

One of the grants we made in 2010 was for a completely different kind of historical project.  Gunn Memorial Museum of Washington, CT has an on-going history-in-the-schools program with the Shepaug Valley Middle School.  The Museum has a large collection of historical letters and documents from the American Civil War donated by local residents whose ancestors participated in that cataclysmic event.

Students of the 8th Grade at Shepaug Valley Middle School, with our grant assistance, were able to devote enough time to organize, transcribe, and publish a number of the letters written by Union soldiers in the Civil War from the New Preston area.

The result is a powerfully revealing story of the Civil War, the times and the men who wrote these letters home.  The published book, New Preston Soldiers in the Civil War: Through Their Letters, reads like both an epic novel and a personal diary.  The book project provided the students with an inimitable learning experience and gives us, the readers, insights not possible through the work of "professional" historians.

As one of the students summarized in his commentary on the work he had accomplished and the knowledge he had gained, "I found that the people writing the letters were intelligent, excellent people who I would like to have as my friends.  I think that if they lived in the same time as me, we would get along pretty well."

What more could be said?

Whatever we think the study of history is for, this project and book certainly accomplished it. The Backhus Foundation is proud to have been able to contribute to the Gunn Museum and Shepaug Valley Middle School to assist in permitting these young people to give us such a powerful result.
~ ~ ~ ~
Connellsville Area Historical Society ~ Frank McElhaney

Our other grant of 2010 went to the Connellsville Area Historical Society of Connellsville, Pa.  This organization is dedicated to preserving the history of one of America's most remarkable areas; filled with the adventures of early pioneers, entrepreneurs, statesmen, inventors and explorers.  So much important history of America's creation and expansion happened in this Southwestern Pennsylvania region and many of the descendants of those people live there still.

One such man was Frank McElhaney, a sculptor, inventor and mechanical genius.  The CAHS has preserved a spectacular collection of Frank McElhaney's "mechanical bottle sculptures".  These large glass bottles, many nearly 2 feet tall, were meticulously filled with miniature figurines, buildings, animated sculptures, and even a working live-steam engine!  Through the brilliant planning and skill of Mr. McElhaney, all of the creations were placed in the bottles and assembled inside through the neck; all without cutting the bottles open!!

Thanks to the efforts of his descendants and the CAHS, the bottles have been preserved. The Backhus Foundation grant to CAHS is intended to help build display tables and cabinets, and possibly to restore some of these mechanical wonders to working condition.

We look forward to the project's scheduled completion in the Spring of 2012!
~ ~ ~ 2009 ~ ~ ~
In 2009 we were able, for the first time, to award academic scholarships to two students; one boy, and one girl, to assist their attending Sierra Lutheran High School in Carson City, Nv.  This private school, with fewer than 100 students, has an extraordinary record of academic and athletic excellence.  For example: 4 times in the last 5 years, they've won the state-wide "Matheletics" competition, beating ALL other Nevada High School teams outright!  This past year, their girls volleyball team placed 2nd in the Nevada State High School Tournament and their outdoor track team won the State track meet!

We are honored to have assisted two fine students at this exceptional school!

Additionally in 2009, we awarded a grant to the Sunnyside Preschool in support of their first ever Summer Gala.  This fine school in Sherman Oaks, Ca. provides excellent programs for pre-school children, helping them prepare for entering regular schools when they reach Kindergarten/1st grade age.
~ ~ ~ 2008 ~ ~ ~
For 2008, we did a much smaller range of awarding.  Our one award for 2008 went to the charitable branch of the Berkeley Firefighters Association, Berkeley, Ca.  This award to their non-profit group, Random Acts, created a book distribution program for local kids, permitting them to receive timely fire safety books and booklets, free of charge.  These materials are very readable, entertaining, and raise fire-safety awareness in kids.
~ ~ ~ 2007 ~ ~ ~

In 2007 we awarded three grants to widely different organizations:
Our first grant went to the Shakesperience Productions theatre company of Waterbury, Ct. in support of their Shakespeare In The Park program.  Hundreds of people attended the company's performances of the Bard's work in the fabulous outdoor setting, Waterbury's Library Park.

Next, we provided funds for an art program for children in homeless shelters of Marin County, Ca. The recipient, Drawbridge, has been bringing their art-for-children to these shelters for two decades.  We were pleased to help them in 2007-8.

Our third grant of 2007 went to a remarkable astronomy program in the Carson Valley, Nevada area.  There, astronomers in the SpaceScience4Schools program bring students the exciting experience of a real, large diameter, space observatory telescope providing them with supervised viewing of deep space wonders.
~ ~ ~ 2006 ~ ~ ~
The Mattatuck Museum of Waterbury, Connecticut received our 2006 Grant for the publication Houses of the Hillside Historic District, Waterbury, CT.

This excellent publication chronicles the magnificent historical homes of the Hillside District.
~ ~ ~ 2005 ~ ~ ~
In 2005 we supported the Outward Bound Scholarship Fund for the Lighthouse Community Charter High School of Oakland, CA.  Our funds provided the opportunity for at risk youths to experience a real wilderness program.  The PHOTOS tell it all.
~ ~ ~ 2004 ~ ~ ~

For our 2004 Grant Awards, we continued the idea of supporting several groups, each of which carry out activities that reflect our mission to support the Arts, Education and History.

The 2004 group of recipients included:

Hillside Historic District of Waterbury, CT.

California Genealogical Society, Oakland, CA.

Berkwood-Hedge School of Berkeley, CA.
See our NEWS section for information on the success of these grants.

~ ~ ~ 2003 ~ ~ ~

Our 2003 Grant program continued our expanded focus, again presenting grants to three organizations:
The first, a reprise of our 2002 Grant, was to the Topanga Symphony to bring a fourth concert in their season program.  These concerts, presented free to the public at the Topanga Community Center, are quite a hit, typically with SRO audiences.  You may find coverage about current concerts in the local newspaper, the Topanga Messenger.

~ ~ ~ ~

Our second Grant for 2003 was to another fine music presentation group, the Chamber Music Society of Incline Village, NV.  This group also puts on free concerts for the public.

During a six week period in July and August of each year, the ICMS presents outstanding classical music groups and individuals drawn from the extended Northern California and Nevada performance communities.  These concerts are always very well attended and bring the highest quality classical music fare to Incline Village, which is located on the Northern shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe.

~ ~ ~ ~

Our third 2003 Grant was made to further the Youth Theatre Scholarship Program of one of our previous Grant recipients, the Sonoma County Repertory Theatre (The-Rep).

This fine organization presents excellent theatre productions throughout the season at its main location in Sebastopol, CA.  Do look them up at their website listed above.
~ ~ ~ 2002 ~ ~ ~

In 2002, we expanded our scope by making three Grants:
1)  to our first History Research recipient, author Morris Turner III for his heroic efforts to uncover the history of America's Black Towns and Settlements

2)  to the Redwood Arts Council based in Occidental, CA, which presents chamber and other music to enthusiastic audiences

3)  to the Topanga Symphony Orchestra, based in Southern California, which brings high quality classical and modern music to their audiences in Topanga Canyon, CA.
~ ~ ~ 2001 ~ ~ ~
For 2001, we made our Grant Award to the Sonoma County Repertory Theatre to fund scholarships for teen and pre-teen students to attend their Summer Theatre Youth Workshops.  They were able to accommodate a number of worthy students with the grant.  Based at their Sebastopol theatre site, "The Rep" has a fine adult performing season as well.

The results have been outstanding!  For more information about this excellent theatre group, visit their website (now teamed with
~ ~ ~ 2000 ~ ~ ~

Our year 2000 Grant was awarded to the Carrington Elementary School in Waterbury, Connecticut, our founders' home town.

That grant funded a Poetry In School program, which engaged essentially the entire student body (around 500 students!) in hearing, reading, and most importantly, writing poetry.  The project produced a book of the students' works, a public reading, and commendations from city officials.  As you can see from the PHOTOS, we are very pleased with the results of our Year 2000 grant.

~ ~ ~ 1998 & 1999 ~ ~ ~

During the 1998 and 1999 fiscal years, we made Grants to two outstanding recipients:
Our first Grant Award recipient was Natalie R. Cox, Harpist who received our Inaugural Grant Award for the calendar year of 1998.   Natalie produced a fine CD recording with the help of her Grant Award.  Our Directors have heard the music, reporting that it is wonderfully rich and beautifully recorded.

The CD is entitled Cello & Harp.  Visit   Natalie's website
~ ~ ~ ~

Our Grant Award for 1999 was made to an outstanding San Francisco Arts Education group, the Meridian Interns Program (MIP), sponsored by the Meridian Gallery.

The grant helped support Artist-Instructors who teach and mentor low-income youths in a paid internship program that integrates the creativity of art with the practical experience of managing an art gallery.

The program is a partnership with the "Mayor's Youth Education and Employment Program (MYEEP)" during the school year, and the "Private Industries Council" during the summer.

The Meridian Interns Program is a community-based program for youths ages 14-17 and is located at the Meridian Gallery, one block from Union Square.  The gallery features nine exhibitions a year.

See our News section for exciting information about this grant.

View the mural this grant helped to make a reality.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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