For Hometown news
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- The Indian River Community Foundation Board of Directors awarded $235,000 in charitable grants for programs focusing on literacy, homelessness and substance abuse services.
The grants are intended to help nonprofit organizations improve the lives of vulnerable Indian River County residents hit hardest by the recent economic recession.
Grants were awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters, Camp Haven, Children's Home Society, Substance Awareness Center and Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council. Each organization was selected for a specific program categorized as new program development, program expansion or capacity building, said Kerry Bartlett, Executive Director of the Indian River Community Foundation.
"Our grant review committee looked for ways to support nonprofit organizations in making a greater impact on the lives of vulnerable citizens," said Ms. Bartlett. "In some cases, this meant funding a program, but for other organizations it meant improving infrastructure so they could more effectively fulfill their missions."
Grants were evaluated based on the validity of outcome measurements, collaborative work and leadership in the sector.
The selected programs include: "Mentoring for Success in Early Childhood," submitted by Big Brothers Big Sisters. A $40,000 grant will assist 50 pre-kindergarten students to become ready for kindergarten through one-to-one mentoring and family literacy activities. The program is a collaboration including the Early Learning Coalition and a Vero Beach preschool center, Schools Depot. The organizations will use evidenced-based, structured practices to engage families of at-risk students.
"Camp Haven Opportunities Program," submitted by Camp Haven. A $45,000 grant will support the development of a holistic program to help people who live in Camp Haven's residential facility for homeless citizens. The program will focus on helping the residents make a successful transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency by focusing on education, job skills training and individualized plans. Additional funding will support technology purchases, program materials and supplies to execute the program.
"Homeless in High School," submitted by Children's Home Society. A $50,000 grant will provide safety net services to 33 homeless youth who are still enrolled in high school. The initiative includes the opportunity for youth to live in a residential setting, while working toward a high school diploma or G.E.D., with support and case management services.
"Sober Living Program," submitted by Substance Awareness Center, will expand the agency's capacity to provide women recovering from addiction with a sober living environment to aid their transition into both the recovery community and society at large. This $50,000 grant will help fund the purchase of the organization's second sober home that will assist 12-14 women annually.
"Home Safe," submitted by Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council. A $20,000 grant will upgrade the technology to allow any homeless family or individual to scan critical documents such as birth certificates, marriage records, social security cards, and education certificates directly into the Homeless Management Information System used by nine collaborating member agencies.
These grants mark the fifth year the Community Foundation has operated a competitive grant program driven by contributions from local philanthropists interested in addressing time-sensitive community needs. The Community Foundation uses a Board-appointed committee of local experts and community leaders to review the proposals and recommend to the board how grants should be awarded.
Ms. Bartlett said the Community Foundation Board of Directors makes it a priority to connect interested donors with organizations that have measurable plans for impacting Indian River County. Community Foundation representatives work closely with each organization throughout the year to ensure they are tracking their results.
"Every donor to the Unrestricted Fund receives a mid-year and a final report on the progress of the grant awards," Ms. Bartlett said. "This is one of the reasons the fund has grown every year. With each report we gain donor confidence in our ability to select creative programs that produce measurable results."
The Unrestricted Fund is just one program of the Indian River Community Foundation, which, in partnership with its fund holders, awarded $3,063,000 in grants during fiscal year 2012.
The Community Foundation currently manages more than $19 million in assets restricted for charitable purposes to support its mission of improving Indian River County through donor-driven philanthropy.
For more information visit www.ircommunityfoundation.com or call Kerry Bartlett, at (772) 492-1407.