These programs were selected from 32 applicants seeking funds for 2011. This will be the third year of programs to receive grants from income generated from the investment of funds United Way received from the sale of Bradley Memorial Hospital.
United Way of Bradley County manages the BMHEF grants, and the organization’s Community Investment Team reviews these applications to make sure they fit the criteria stipulated through the agreement with the BMH board of trustees. All grants go to programs which help the local community in the areas of healthcare, wellness and quality of life.
Four of the grants are new programs that have not received United Way grants in the past. The other 11 are either in their second or third year of grants through the endowment fund, with over half of those in their second year of funding.
The 15 programs selected to receive grants, in alphabetical order, are:
n Behavioral Research Institute — A pre-school anger management and conflict resolution program.
n CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) — Advocacy programming supporting children and youth who find themselves in the legal system without support.
n Greenway Table — Food education for youth through hands-on experiences.
n HOPE Center — A Children’s Advocacy Center for victims of child abuse.
n Inspiring Tomorrow’s Leaders Today (ITLT) — Youth leadership program to help develop leadership skills in “at risk” youth.
n Leonard Center (Lee University) — Development of a community action network connecting individuals to the agencies they need.
n LUDIC (Lee University Developmental Inclusive Classroom) — Inclusive classroom for children suffering from diagnosis on the autism spectrum.
n Mosaic Center (Ocoee Region Multicultural Services) — Providing community translation services.
n National Center for Youth Issues — Educational professional development, training, counseling and resources.
n Ocoee Outreach — Improving housing conditions for individuals with mental or physical disabilities.
n PE4Life — Health and fitness programming for youth in coordination with local county schools.
n Ronald McDonald House Charities — Support of a mobile dental clinic serving children.
n Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service (SCHAS) — Provides homemaker and personal care services in the homes of the elderly and disabled.
n Starfish — An in-home education program helping children prepare for school.
n Youth Counseling Services — Mental health counseling for children and youth and their families.
The total for these grants is $400,000, according to Matt Ryerson, United Way’s vice president of community Investment Strategies.
“The (BMH) board of trustees specified that only income from investment of the funds United Way received from the sale of the hospital can be used,” he noted, “and those investments have provided around $400,000 in funds each of the first three years we have been providing these grants.”
Grant recipients were informed when they made their initial requests that should they request grants after their first year, these requests were to be incrementally reduced.
“We are actually providing what we call ‘seed money’ for these programs to get started, and ask that they present a sustainability plan to us as part of their application,” Ryerson explained. “That gives us the opportunity to help programs get started, and when they then are able to go out on their own, we can fund other programs.
“With the principle from the sale of the hospital not to be touched, this has created a fund that will help Cleveland and Bradley County for years and years to come,” he added.
Ryerson said he was pleased to see that these 15 programs will serve as many as 15,000 people in the local community.
“Our first year of providing grants, we estimated serving about 9,000 people in our community, and the second year, the estimate was around 12,000,” he said. “With the projections for 2011, that means we will have made an impact in the lives of over 35,000 people. Many of the grants have already exceeded their estimates.”
Ryerson noted each program that receives funding is required to update United Way on its program, including a mid-year report.
“We have heard some wonderful results from the programs that we have partnered with these past two years,” he said. “It is gratifying to see the impact being made in the lives of those being served by these programs.
Ryerson said he and the entire Community Investment Team are very excited about the four new programs that will receive grants in 2011.
“The Lee University program is in direct response to the most identified need in our recent Community Needs Assessment, which was that people were having a difficult time getting connected to the services they need,” he explained. “This is exactly how we had hoped this system would work … identify a need, find a solution, and fund it.”
Ryerson said the CASA program is a new program that “works in the best interest of children who find themselves in difficult situations in the legal system. This program is not only a great response to crisis, but also serves as a protection against future abuse.”
Ocoee Outreach, in today’s housing climate, is a necessary support service, particularly for people with physical or mental disabilities, by helping them stay in their homes, Ryerson explained.
“And The Ronald McDonald House Charities is really a ‘poster child’ program for this initiative as a legacy to our Bradley Memorial Hospital,” he continued. “The mobile dental clinic from this agency, serving those citizens, ages 0 to 21, is exactly the type of health-related program we are excited to support.”
Ryerson wanted to thank the diligent work of the Community Investment Team, which analyzed the grant requests.
“These men and women were very thorough in their review of the applications, and are equally excited to see how these grants are going to better our community,” he said. “I appreciate each and every one of them for their hard work.”
The recommendations by the Community Investment Team were ratified by both the United Way’s Executive Committee and board of directors this past week.
“Overall, we have a very diverse and broad list of partners for 2011, serving Bradley County citizens from newborns to elderly on a range of support programs,” Ryerson said.
Proceeds from the sale of the hospital were split, with a portion going to Bradley County and a portion to United Way to provide grants. The county’s Healthy Community Initiative (HCI) committee’s grant recipients will be officially announced at Monday’s Bradley County Commission meeting.