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FARMINGTON — The application period has started for a program that supports projects that focus on education and youth development, economic development, energy sustainability and environmental stewardship.

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company announced on Aug. 28 that it is accepting applications for its Community Benefit Fund, a program designed to help projects managed by nonprofit organizations, chapters on the Navajo Nation, and approved education or community-based entities with an existing operational budget.

"We recognize there are many projects that improve the quality of life for many people through the Four Corners and Navajo Nation. Our goal for the fund is to demonstrate NTEC's commitment to invest in Navajo communities (and) help as many projects as we can," Clark Moseley, NTEC CEO, said in a press release.

A change this year is the amount distributed to the fund, which increased from $200,000 to $250,000.

Cortasha Upshaw, community affairs coordinator for NTEC, said the company raised the amount to increase the potential to help more projects.

"We hope to increase the quantity and the quality of projects and the help we give," she said in an email.

There were 34 projects, ranging from community gardens to housing improvements, that received assistance from the fund last year.

Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 25, according to the company.

Information about the fund can be found at navajo-tec.com/cbf or interested parties may contact Cortasha Upshaw at 505-278-8637, or via email at cortasha.upshaw@navajo-tec.com.

The company held three workshops to provide information about the fund. The workshops were in August in Farmington and in Chinle and Tuba City in Arizona.

Upshaw said there are no plans to hold additional workshops at this time, but company personnel are available for consultation for groups, and small group sessions can be scheduled if needed.

Previous and current recipients can reapply for the fund as long as they are in good financial standing with the company, she added.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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