It is for this reason the Community Investment Team that overlooks the Bradley Memorial Health Endowment Fund has made wise selections in choosing to refund 10 specific operations with 2012 grants that will assure their continued work within our Cleveland and Bradley County hometown.
Too, the team has identified three new programs for grant funding, each of which shows promise for helping to bridge gaps between area residents in need and existing sources of aid.
The BMHEF grant program is overseen by United Way of Bradley County. Each year, income generated from the investment of funds from the sale of the former Bradley Memorial Hospital (now SkyRidge Medical Center) is used to provide the grants. In the program’s first three years, $400,000 was available for successful grant applicants each year.
For 2012, the amount rose to $469,440.
Ten quality programs have received renewed funding, and we congratulate them all on their contributions to our community. Yet we are equally as impressed with three new faces to the grant recipient list that hold great potential for meeting resident needs.
1. The Sack Pack Program which will be coordinated by The Caring Place, one of our area’s most respected food pantries. This initiative will provide 10 to 15 nutritious food items that are shelf-stable and kid-friendly for the weekends for economically disadvantaged students who attend three Bradley County elementary schools. Sack Packs will be taken to each of the schools on Fridays to allow teachers to identify students and discreetly place them in their students’ backpacks prior to leaving school for the weekend. The program is a response to teachers’ concerns about students who have had very little to eat over the weekend when traditional school-provided meals are not available.
2. Administration and two salaries of the Long-Term Recovery Organization campaign will be funded through the grant program in order to assure that all private donations made to the Cleveland/Bradley County Disaster Relief Fund are used to provide direct aid to Bradley County families impacted by the late-April tornadoes, and to go toward the area’s long-term recovery. The grant will pay the temporary salaries of the recovery leader and the case manager supervisor, and will also fund all necessary supplies and administrative support.
3. The Ronald McDonald House has developed a mobile school-based medical clinic to serve Black Fox Elementary School, Waterville Elementary School and Lake Forest Middle School in response to the high number of visits to the school nurse. The clinic’s operation will be supported with an Endowment Fund grant. The program was developed to provide access to improved health care for children in these schools.
Funding has been renewed for these existing grant recipients: Court Appointed Special Advocates, Greenway Table, HOPE Center, Leonard Center (community action network), LUDIC (Lee University Developmental Inclusive Classroom), Ocoee Region Multicultural Services, National Center for Youth Issues, Ocoee Outreach, Starfish and Youth Counseling Services.
All are worthy programs that deserve the chance to make a difference in our community or to meet previously unmet needs.
We applaud the Community Investment Team’s selections.
Like team chairman Dr. Rodney Fitzgerald, we wish more applicants could have received grant funding, but requests totaled $1.13 million. And only $469,440 was available.
This is the reason wise choices must be made.
We believe the United Way team has done so.