By Lori Wince for This Week Community News

The New Albany Community Foundation recently awarded six grants totaling $76,200 to fund local organizations and programs.

A new organization called Kids Here and There will receive $21,000 to encourage students at Columbus Academy and other local high schools to complete service work for local children through different organizations such as Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the YMCA Family Center and Faith Mission.

The students will earn $10 for each service hour worked and once they reach 2,100 service hours, their earnings — $21,000 — would be sent to the University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, Africa, tofund a year’s salary for a nurse.

The grant request came from Hannah Wexner, daughter of New Albany residents Leslie and Abigail Wexner.

In the grant application, Wexner wrote, “The hours served in our local community will not only directly help their beneficiaries, but also teach volunteerism and create philanthropic habits in high school students.”

Service hours will be monitored by Columbus Academy.

The grant will be drawn from the community foundation’s Healthy New Albany Fund, the New Albany Surgical Hospital Fund and the DeAscentis Family Fund.

The other grants awarded were:

* A $25,000 gift from the Easton Community Foundation, half of the $50,000 needed to install the Easton-Ohio State University Nature and STEM Center on the New Albany-Plain Local School District campus.

Valued at $300,000, the wooden building was built by Ohio State students in the College of Engineering and Knowlton School of Architecture. It has solar panels and will not require other power sources. It also has a radiant heating system in the floor and a natural waste-disposal unit.

The building was used as part of the polar bear exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. It was donated to New Albany-Plain Local in May 2012 and moved to storage in New Albany an $8,000 grant from the New Albany Community Foundation’s William H. Resch Sustainable Earth Fund.

* $20,000 from the Carolyn and Lance White Endowment Fund to the New Albany-Plain Local School District to support the author residency program.

* $7,200 for the New Albany Arts Council to help pay rent for productions that take place at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

* $2,000 from the New Albany Women’s Network Endowment Fund to Safety Town, a program operated through the New Albany Police Department to teach children traffic safety. The network and the foundation were original contributors to start the Safety Town program in 2004.

* $1,000 to the New Albany-Plain Local School District’s environmental science program in honor of Diane Nye, an environmental advocate who recently completed a term on the foundation’s board of trustees.

Craig Mohre, executive director of the community foundation, said more grants will be awarded later this year.