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FARMINGTON — The Navajo Agricultural Products Industry announced 18 recipients for its first Navajo Pride Benefit Fund.

The initiative was launched by the tribal enterprise in August. It is designed to provide up to $5,000 to eligible nonprofit and education or community-based organizations that support and promote continuing the legacy of farming, stewardship and creating value for the Navajo people.

The NAPI board of directors created the fund in July and the application period was from August to Sept. 28.

Representatives from 45 programs attended an orientation about the fund and 29 applications were received and reviewed, according to NAPI.

"When the board approved it, and also the executives to initiate the plan, the whole plan was to help the Navajo people and their projects," Vincent Cowboy, acting chief operations officer at NAPI, said in the company's release.

Ten chapters and eight entities, located in New Mexico or Arizona, each received awards from the fund.

The recipients presented information about their projects during a luncheon on Dec. 4 at NAPI headquarters, according to the release.

Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter was among those named and will use its funding to develop a basketball court.

Chapter president Perry Begaye Sr. said the idea for the basketball court came from participants in the chapter's summer youth program and from the tribe's initiative to promote fitness in communities.

Begaye said the chapter will save its amount from NAPI and seek additional funding under the state's infrastructure capital improvement plan to build an amenity suitable for community members.

"We want something outstanding for them," Begaye said.

Benefit fund recipients, projects

Becenti Chapter – Chapter community garden

Chilchinbeto Chapter – Chilchinbeto water conservation

Cornfields Chapter – Cornfields agriculture program

Cove Chapter – Mountain biking and exercise equipment project

Coyote Canyon Rehabilitation Center Inc. – A sustaining and innovating Navajo gardening project

Crownpoint Chapter – Crownpoint Chapter emergency response team

Da'ak'eh Iiná – A solar drip system using hauled water

Dilkon Chapter – Dilkon Chapter fairgrounds upgrade

Lukachukai Bureau of Indian Education school – Bridging agricultural knowledge and healthy living in the community

Nageezi Chapter – Developing access to chapter facilities for people with disabilities and senior citizens

New Mexico State University cooperative extension – Navajo cultivating success

Reach Out and Read – Reach out and read

Rez Refuge Ministries Inc. – A garden program and community outreach

Teesto Chapter – Community farming and agricultural projects

Tiis Tsoh Sikaad Chapter – Basketball court

Tolani Lake Enterprises Inc. – Beaver Farm workshop series

Tsaile/Wheatfields Dineh Water Users – Tribal plant nursery project

Upper Fruitland Chapter – Picnic shelter

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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