Grieving Mothers Receive Support from Berger Foundation

A support network of mothers who have lost children has received a Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3. Umbrella Ministries will use the $25,000 grant to underwrite its annual Journey of the Heart Conference and other year-round outreach activities that support grieving mothers in the Coachella Valley.

“Every day there are mothers who experience the death of a child who are living in the depths of despair, feeling they have lost all hope. Our volunteers offer comfort and encouragement to these grieving mothers and their families,” said Donna Luke, Vice Chairman of Umbrella Ministries, which she co-founded with her best friend Daisy Catchings-Shader, after Daisy lost her only child in 1996.

After losing her son, Daisy was compelled to reach out to other grieving mothers in the area with hope and encouragement. Since then, the ministry has grown in the Coachella Valley and beyond. Inspired by the love, comfort, peace and hope guests experience while attending the Journey of the Heart Conference, held in Palm Springs, many of these mothers started Umbrella Ministries in their own communities, and now additional conferences are held throughout the country.

“It’s amazing to see how this grassroots organization is touching so many people’s lives in a very meaningful way,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “Donna and Daisy created something very special that others want to emulate, and that is a huge compliment to their vision and accomplishments.”

Beyond the annual conference, Umbrella Ministries offers workshops, luncheons, support groups, parent dinners, and couple retreats. Each of the Coachella Valley events is designed to uplift grieving mothers physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Events include guest speakers that encourage important discussion topics. Mothers celebrate the life of their child by creating treasured memories, candle lighting programs, remembrance walks, as well as dove, balloon and butterfly releases.

The grant will also help provide more care baskets to individuals and families referred to Umbrella Ministries by first responders, funeral homes, faith community leaders or family and friends. These baskets include books about coping with grief and death and items of comfort such as tissues, candles, tea, cups, writing journals, and a prayer shawl.

“Umbrella Ministries is proving that it does not take a lot of money to make a significant impact in the community,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. “The organization is run completely by volunteers and mostly through personal donations.”

The Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership includes featuring each organization on News Channel 3 programming including “Eye on the Desert” (which airs on CBS Local 2 weeknights at 6:30 p.m.), in public service announcements and on


Grant Will Expand Programs at Coachella Valley Horse Rescue

Coachella Valley Horse Rescue will use a large portion of a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant to install an exterior lighting system, which will allow the organization to hold evening programs, and therefore expand its services and help more people.

Coachella Valley Horse Rescue was founded in 1966 as the Indio Mounted Posse. Over the course of five decades, the organization’s name and mission has evolved, but always in-step with the changing needs of the community. Currently, Coachella Valley Horse Rescue offers care and housing for abused and neglected horses and then finds them safe homes. In addition, the organization offers programming, often partnered with other nonprofit organizations, that educates children and adults about animal cruelty and provides equine education that is therapeutic.

“Once the horse-human connection takes place, the healing begins,” said Annette Garcia, director of Coachella Valley Horse Rescue. “Many of the people in our programs struggle with depression, behavioral disorders, attempted suicides and PTSD in veterans.

Our programs enable these at-risk groups to develop meaning and purpose. Working with horses gives people a sense of responsibility; they learn how to nurture and gain confidence.”

As more people have learned about Coachella Valley Horse Rescue, they have wanted to participate in the programs, however some can only attend evening sessions. Lighting the arena will allow for that. The organization will also be able to offer evening sessions in the summer, when daytime hours are too hot to work with the horses.

“Coachella Valley Horse Rescue has a unique vision that is proving life-changing for many children and veterans,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “Both the humans and the horses are learning trust and confidence through these programs.”

The Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership also offers recipients media exposure. Coachella Valley Horse Rescue was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the website throughout February.

“We’re happy to partner with the Berger Foundation and Coachella Valley Horse Rescue enabling this valuable organization to expand their programming into the evening and also to inform our community about it,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

To learn more about Coachella Valley Horse Rescue, call 760-808-6279 or go to

Grant from Berger Foundation will Help Upgrade Palm Canyon Theatre

PCT CheckA $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation will help upgrade the Palm Canyon Theatre’s 20-year-old equipment. The award came just as the theatre is celebrating its 20th anniversary season.

“This generous gift from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is coming at a wonderful time,” said Se Layne, co-artistic director of the Palm Canyon Theatre (PCT). “We plan to purchase new lighting and backstage monitoring systems. This means we can start a new era with current technology, allowing us to give our young actors a true real-world experience.”

The Palm Canyon Theatre incorporates education into every production, hiring professionals as needed to teach aspiring performers and technical crews specialized skills. The regional repertory theater is dedicated to the education of live stage production and the enrichment of the greater Palm Springs community and its visitors. PCT produces about 13 Broadway musicals and classic plays each year, plus offers a children’s theatre camp and production. Auditions are called several times a year for people of all experience levels.

“Each season, the Palm Canyon Theatre produces an ambitious lineup on a limited budget,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “We are happy to give this grant, which will benefit every show, talent and crew there for many seasons to come.”

The Palm Canyon Theatre was founded by members of the Layne Family; each has a professional theatre background. After extensive tenant renovations to the historic Frances S. Stevens School, the Palm Canyon Theatre opened its doors in September 1997. PCT has a small staff and about 250 volunteers, which include on-stage and off-stage talent, ushers, summer camp counselors, and more.

“When looking at need in a community, it’s sometimes easy for people to overlook the arts and support causes that appear more essential, but I’m proud of the CBS Local 2 Advisory Board for recognizing nonprofit organizations, like the Palm Canyon Theatre, that help strengthen our communities in a variety of ways,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, Palm Canyon Theatre was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the website throughout the month of February. The Palm Canyon Theatre is located at 538 North Palm Canyon Dr., Palm Springs. For more information call 760-323-5123 or visit

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Children benefit from grant to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital

BHLH Loma LindaA $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation will make it safer for seriously ill children to be transported by ambulance from a Coachella Valley hospital to Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH). The grant was awarded to Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild in Support of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, which seeks to enhance the lives of our community’s children.

LLUCH works in partnership with hospitals in the Coachella Valley. As a tertiary hospital, LLUCH is staffed and equipped to care for even the most serious health situations. In 2016, about 1600 critically ill or injured children were referred to LLUCH from area hospitals. One out of every three children transported from the Coachella Valley to LLUCH goes by ambulance.

“We work hand in hand with our transport team. They are often the ones who save the child’s life during transport before they even make it to LLUCH, and often, they are the forgotten heroes. When it came to this grant, we asked them what they needed to make their jobs easier,” said Josh Zahid, Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild Manager for LLUCH Foundation.

The proceeds from the grant will be used to purchase a Revel Transport Ventilator and a GE VScanner portable ultrasound to be used by the transport team in the ambulance. This equipment will give the medical personnel the necessary tools to save lives during the trip to the comprehensive, specialty hospital.

“We are happy this grant will create a safer trip for children being transported to Loma Linda, and hopefully give some relief to families during a stressful time,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

“The Big Hearts for Little Hearts Desert Guild was founded to support the health of children in our area who need the special care that sometimes only a children’s hospital can provide, and we believe receiving the Coachella Valley Spotlight grant will help the organization fulfill its mission,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, BHLH Desert Guild in support of LLUCH, was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the website throughout the month of January. For more information about the organization call 909-558-5384 or visit

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Coachella Valley Spotlight grant application period open until September 30

CV Spotlight LogoTwelve Coachella Valley nonprofit organizations will be selected to receive $25,000 each from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. Applications are available through September 30, 2016 for the 2017 Coachella Valley Spotlight awards. All Coachella Valley based nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations that have not previously received the Coachella Valley Spotlight are eligible to apply. Since the program began in 2008, over $2 million in grants have been awarded to more than 80 local nonprofit organizations.

The grantees will be selected by the CBS Local 2 Community Advisory Board, which includes representatives from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and members of the community. Twelve recipients are selected, and then one is recognized each month during 2017 on CBS Local 2’s Eye on the Desert, as well as in public service announcements and on the station’s website,

“For eight years now, we have looked forward to this unique grant-making process,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “It is wonderful to read about so many nonprofits helping a variety of needs in our area. Selecting only twelve recipients is a difficult task, but it is also rewarding, as we present a grant each month and see these organizations in action.”

Past recipients of the Coachella Valley Spotlight include organizations that support children, seniors, veterans, the homeless, uninsured and underinsured residents, people living with debilitating medical conditions, animals, education, the arts, and more.

“We are proud of the partnership with the Berger Foundation,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2. “We all believe that the combination of both funding and media exposure helps give these organization a hand up as well as a boost in recognition, which can also perpetuate additional support.”

Coachella Valley Spotlight applications are available at and must be postmarked by Friday, September 30, 2016. Recipients will be notified in December. For more information call 760-773-0342.

Foundation commits $250,000 through matching grant after Orlando tragedy

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is offering aid after the tragic mass shooting in Orlando through a commitment of a $250,000 matching grant to the Orlando Health Foundation. The nonprofit raises financial support and awareness for the Level One Trauma Center at Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC), which cared for victims of the June 12 mass shooting.

“While the whole situation is unthinkable, it’s also unimaginable where we’d be or what loss of life would have been without the Trauma Center at ORMC,” said John Bozard, President of the Orlando Health Foundation. “For years, we’ve raised funds to support the unique needs of the region’s Level One Trauma Center to ensure our physicians, clinical staff, operating rooms and other resources are ready and waiting when it matters most. Now more than ever, we look to friends and supporters to provide much needed assistance.”

The Berger Foundation has contributed to the Orlando Health Foundation since 2008, giving primarily to the specialized pediatric and neonatal units at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, which is also part of Orlando Health, a private, not-for-profit healthcare network.

“When crises of this magnitude occur, sometimes it is not immediately clear how best to help,” said Christopher McGuire, Vice President of Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “But in this case, we have a long-standing relationship with the nonprofit organization that supports the only Level One Trauma Center in Central Florida, where many victims were cared for after the tragic shooting.”

The Trauma Center at ORMC saw 44 victims on June 12 and performed 26 surgeries on that day alone. To date, the Trauma Center has performed more than 60 surgeries related to the shooting. Four inpatients remain at ORMC. In typical situations, the Trauma Center has 15-20 medical professionals and specialized equipment ready to begin immediate lifesaving care when a trauma patient arrives. While most trauma patients at ORMC are from car crashes and falls, the trauma team trains for a number of possible scenarios. In the case of the mass shooting, this comprehensive training plus a rapid increase of physicians and staff meant ORMC was equipped to meet the needs of this crisis, which saved lives.

Donations to ORMC’s Trauma Center will support the ongoing needs in the wake of this tragedy and will be matched dollar for dollar by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation up to $250,000 through October 31, 2016. Donations can be made through a secure website: or by mail to Orlando Health Foundation, 3160 Southgate Commerce Blvd, Suite 50, Orlando, FL 32806. Checks should be made payable to “Orlando Health Foundation.” As a nonprofit corporation, donations to Orlando Health Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.