Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Community Foundation awards $50,000 in Spark Grants to Vet programs

Monday, January 8, 2018 by The Press in Local News

The Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF) announced the recipients of $50,000 in Spark Grants for veterans affairs programs at the foundation’s program, “In Focus: Veterans Affairs in the Lehigh Valley,” on Dec. 4, at PBS39, that featured Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15), chairman of the Congressional Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, whose appearamce was beamed in from the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. via satellite. World War II Veteran Major Nathan Kline, United States Air Force, and Veteran Nicholas Ward, who served in the United States Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom, also spoke.

More than 70 people attended the program that sponsored by Embassy Bank for the Lehigh Valley. It was the sixth and final in the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation’s 50th anniversary Spark Grants celebrations. James R. Bartholomew, executive vice president and senior lending officer, Embassy Bank For the Lehigh Valley, shared the Spark Grant videos produced by the finalists as part of the awareness campaign.

After the keynote presentations, LVCF President and CEO Bernie J. Story awarded a total of $50,000 in grants to five organizations addressing veterans’ needs in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Before announcing the grants, Story said, “We congratulate all five finalists for their creativity, their collaboration, their engagement, their sparks. You have truly ignited awareness of your organizations and this issue, and we are proud to have you as our partners.”

Story presented the following Spark Grants awards:

Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley was awarded a $25,000 Spark Grant for the Military Share: Food Access for Veterans, a new program that will address the food insecurity needs of veterans to promote health and financial stability. Through partnerships with three local veterans’ organizations, Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) will provide 150 veterans with a monthly box of food that includes 30 pounds of vegetables, fruit, meat and grains. Veterans will volunteer for this program by packing boxes as a team at the SHFB warehouse and directly distributing the boxes to veterans.

Lehigh Valley Health Network was awarded $12,500 for its Military and Veteran Resource/Information Center. The center, now renovated in in the former School of Nursing building at 1628 Chew Street has been established meet a three-fold mission: provide military and veterans with services that improve (1) medical care eligibility and enrollment; (2) access to care at locations of the patient’s choosing; and (3) navigation across complex government and private sector systems.

Victory House of Lehigh Valley was awarded a 5,000 Spark Grant for their Veteran Aftercare Services Program which provides medical and case management services, including mental health and substance abuse counseling, to homeless veterans who have successfully discharged to self-sufficiency.

Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council was awarded $5,000 for the LVMAC Veterans Homelessness Programs which provide financial assistance for transitional shelter and traditional outreach programs that support the recovery of homeless veterans. It also helps to coordinate the various services available through local and government agencies.

Equi-librium was awarded $2,500 for the Horsemanship for Heroes program that is a therapeutic riding/driving program where horsemanship skills are taught to meet the physical, mental or emotional needs of service men and women who suffer from PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury or other combat-related injuries.

See all the photos on the LVCF website.

Contributed article