Truth is, it’s a perfect fit.
We addressed the full slate of 13 grant recipients for 2012 in Tuesday’s edition — and we congratulated the Community Investment Team for its excellent selections — but the LTRO choice is a different type of direction for the Endowment Fund created four years ago from the sale of the former Bradley Memorial Hospital.
But being “different” makes the selection no less relevant. It is indeed an excellent choice and here’s why. It is all about Bradley County and the future of our hometown — and specifically the welfare of storm-impacted families who continue to struggle in their personal recoveries.
Let us cite some specific reasons why funding the LTRO’s administrative work is an appropriate, and timely, decision.
1. Using an Endowment Fund grant to pay administrative costs for the LTRO’s work — salaries, necessary supplies and support — will mean every dollar contributed in private donations to the Cleveland/Bradley Disaster Relief Fund will go directly to storm victims and toward our community’s long-term recovery.
2. The modest salaries for the LTRO recovery leader and case manager supervisor are only temporary depending on time and need; this is a relevant Endowment Fund use because the program’s intent is not to permanently sustain ongoing initiatives.
3. The LTRO is already receiving free housing by United Way of Bradley County which is providing office space and conference rooms in its downtown Cleveland facility. Meeting space also is being supplied by the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce. Both are stepping up in full support of their community. In the same fashion, the LTRO cannot be saddled with burdens like finding sources of funding for its operation. LTRO was formed to do a job, not to spend time raising money.
4. Supporting LTRO through the Endowment Fund also removes any financial burdens for overhead costs from two potential sources, both of which are already heavily burdened. They are Bradley County taxpayers and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, whose coffers are already falling short of meeting the growing needs of disaster relief across the country.
5. Bradley County’s full recovery from the 12 hours of infamy during the day and night of April 27 will require a full team effort. This means the continued use of individual and group volunteers, as well as innovative, outside-the-box thinking in meeting community needs — whatever they are, from whichever direction and in whatever severity.
6. Endowment Fund grants are earmarked to cultivate three key areas in Cleveland and Bradley County — health care, wellness and quality of life. We believe not just one or two, but all three, of the criteria are being met. Let no one ever forget those tornadoes took nine lives in our community, destroyed 285 homes and badly damaged hundreds more.
When members of the Community Investment Team selected the LTRO grant application, they did some outside-the-box thinking of their own.
Theirs was the kind of decision-making that will lead Bradley County into its new normal.
We support their way of thinking.
We credit United Way’s Executive Committee and board of directors with sound votes when they ratified the grant recommendations.
Our hometown’s full recovery requires strong leaders who are willing to make leadership decisions.