Near & Far Aid, the philanthropic organization that fights the effects of poverty on numerous fronts, announced it distributed a total of nearly $1 million to Fairfield County agencies in the past year.

The organization said it awarded grants to more than 100 agencies in Fairfield County during its fiscal year that ended Aug. 31.

Those grants totaled $967,000, Near & Far Aid said in a news release, and brings to $12 million the sum distributed since the year 2000.

The all-volunteer organization, founded in 1946, raises money primarily through four signature fundraising events -- a fall golf outing, spring gala, a tour of designer homes and a concert.

"Our donors' dollars are going directly back into our Fairfield County communities, serving our neediest neighbors and creating lasting change,' Jeanne Burris of Westport, the group's president, said in the news release. "It's a perfect closed-loop eco-system: We seek to break the vicious cycle of poverty by creating a virtuous circle of giving."

Near & Far Aid grants support programs helping the homeless, educating children affected by poverty, at-risk families, adults in crisis, and supportive housing initiatives, among others.

"With our rich history in the community and a veritable army of volunteers and donors, we're able to continue to target poverty and positively impact the lives of thousands of men, women and children in Fairfield County," Burris said.

Near & Far Aid takes care to put money in the hands of agencies it is confident will use wisely. Its 27-member board of directors visits and conducts interviews with each applicant to evaluate the respective agency's effectiveness and need as well as their financial health and operating efficiency, the group said.

That view and ongoing monitoring, Near & Far Aid said, ensures that contributions from donors have the greatest possible impact.

For more information on Near & Far Aid, visit nearandfaraid.org.