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Foundation announces more than $700,000 in new grants from military-assistance fund

By Staff | Aug 3, 2009

A community of troops and veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars lives right here in central and southwest Florida, and their needs are great. Some are being treated for life-threatening injuries and diseases in local veterans’ hospitals, while others are desperate to find work and pay for childcare. Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice recently awarded $716,764 in grants from its Florida BRAIVE Fund to support nonprofit organizations that serve these military personnel and their families. The new grants bring the total awarded from the Foundation’s military-assistance fund to more than $2.2 million.
“The unmet needs that arise among our service men and women and their families as a result of their deployment are staggering,” said Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “They include everything from financial emergencies and family crises for those left behind to mental-health counseling and job assistance for returning veterans. Each organization that has received a grant from our Florida BRAIVE Fund provides critical support that our military heroes deserve.”
The following eight nonprofit organizations are the most recent recipients of grants from Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Florida BRAIVE Fund:
* American Red Cross – Tampa Bay Region – $250,000 to provide emergency financial relief to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom active-duty personnel, reservists, National Guard, veterans, and their families in a 25-county area.
* Civilian Military Community Foundation – $30,000 to provide assistance with childcare costs resulting from deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan and to support community-building dinners at reintegration seminars for returning reservists and their families in Brevard County.
* Florida National Guard Foundation – $81,264 to provide statewide emergency financial aid and assistance with reintegration expenses for Guardsmen impacted by deployment to Afghanistan or Iraq.
* Genesis Health Services – $85,000 to support a collaboration with Manatee’s Operation Troop Support to provide a new office for counseling, financial assistance, and other help for military service members and their families in Manatee and Sarasota counties.
* Haley House Fund – $55,000 to provide 100 nights of temporary lodging to family members of active-duty military personnel being treated for life-threatening injuries and diseases at James A. Haley Veterans Hospital and Polytrauma Unit in Tampa.
* United Way of Florida – $50,000 to enable the Florida Alliance of Information and Referral Services to create a statewide helpline with live, 24-hour crisis counseling and a searchable, online database of services for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom military personnel, veterans, and their families.
* Welcome Home, Vets – $15,500 to provide counseling and care packages for troops who have been deployed from Brevard County, and to develop a support network for the troops upon their return home.
* WorkNet Pinellas – $150,000 to provide training and employment to veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Manatee, and Polk counties.
The $5-million Florida BRAIVE Fund at Gulf Coast Community Foundation was created to assist military personnel and the families of military personnel who are serving or have served in Afghanistan and Iraq from a 25-county area: Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Lee, Manatee, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, Sumter, and St. Lucie. The fund was established with a generous gift from the Iraq Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund of the California Community Foundation. For information about applying for a grant or making a contribution to The Florida BRAIVE Fund, visit gulfcoastcf.org .