Habitat for Humanity is improving homes with Berger Foundation grant

A $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation to Habitat for Humanity of the Coachella Valley (HFHCV) is already helping local families by supporting the nonprofit organization’s “A Brush with Kindness” program. This volunteer-based assistance restores and repairs damaged or blighted properties throughout the Coachella Valley.

“Volunteers are crucial to all aspects of our work at Habitat for Humanity of the Coachella Valley,” said David Thornton, HFHCV Executive Director. “We not only rely on volunteers with building skills and construction experience to build and repair homes, but we are also grateful to our volunteers who help with yard work, painting and minor repairs, as well as those who help in our retail store, ReStore, and those who assist with administrative and clerical work. It takes many people with many different talents to help improve and transform communities.”

Part of a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries, Habitat International’s vision is of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. That effort is made in the desert through Habitat for Humanity of the Coachella Valley, which provides nonsectarian services without discrimination regardless of religion, age, income, gender, ethnicity, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation.

Founded locally in 1989, HFHCV plans to use the Coachella Valley Spotlight grant funds for its A Brush with Kindness program, a component of the organization’s Housing Insecurity Prevention Program, which offers a multi-faceted approach to reducing housing and financial insecurity among low-income valley residents. Through this program, HFHCV also builds homes for low-income families and provides Emergency Household Needs Assistance through donations of household appliances that impact quality of life.

“It is amazing to see local volunteers come together, and in only a few hours or a few days collectively improve a family’s home to make it more comfortable and safe for them,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “We are excited that this grant will improve the living conditions of many local residents.”

“Habitat for Humanity is improving local neighborhoods by partnering with residents and local businesses,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. “Many of the people who are helped by HFHCV also contribute to their home building or home repairs or give back to the community in the best ways they are able. We are happy to be a part of this partnership as well.” 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 kesq.com.

Coachella Valley Spotlight Grants Reach $3 Million Milestone

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and CBS Local 2 celebrated a 10-year partnership that culminated in $3 million in charitable grants and more than $1 million worth of broadcast airtime. As members of the Berger Foundation board presented a $25,000 grant check to the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission (CVRM) on a live television broadcast, it marked the $3 million mark of similar grants awarded to area nonprofit organizations.

“This celebration and culmination is something that the founders of the Berger Foundation would be proud of because it reflects the positive impact on so many lives,” said Ronald Auen, President of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight, we have presented grants to many different organizations each helping the community in various ways. It is our intention that through this partnership with CBS Local 2, these organizations receive money and media exposure, which may lead to more donations and volunteers.”

Since its inception, the Coachella Valley Spotlight has been awarded to a different 501(c)3 nonprofit each month. Past recipients 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.

To commemorate the 10 years and $3 million milestones, CBS Local 2’s Eye on the Desert was broadcast live from a special event at the Classic Club in Palm Desert. All past Coachella Valley Spotlight recipients were invited to an appetizer reception, then to participate as the live audience for the special show, followed by a dessert celebration.

“To be chosen for this special celebration means the world to us. We are so grateful to the Berger Foundation and CBS Local 2,” said Darla Burkett, Executive Director of CVRM. “The Coachella Valley Spotlight grant means more beds, more meals and more services for the only emergency shelter in the Coachella Valley.”

In addition to the $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, beneficiaries of the Coachella Valley Spotlight are featured on CBS Local 2’s community affairs program Eye on the Desert, in public service announcements, and on the station’s website, www.cbslocal2.com. CVRM is being featured on the show and in PSAs throughout November. For more information about CVRM visit cvrm.org. To learn more about the Coachella Valley Spotlight go to cbslocal2.com.

“It’s exciting to celebrate this milestone with the Berger Foundation and all the past Spotlight recipients,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2. “We’re looking forward to continue the partnership into an eleventh year, so that we can reach even more deserving charities in our area.” iorit

Thousands of East Valley Elementary Students Benefit from Coachella Valley Spotlight Grant

 

On December 6, 2017, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation presented the $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight Grant to Read With Me Volunteer Programs to continue the bus program that delivers volunteers to east valley schools to help in the classrooms.

 

The organization will use the majority of the grant proceeds to expand the bus program to at least three more east valley elementary schools. And as the program expands to more schools, they are in need of more volunteers. Read with Me could not operate if it were not for the over 550 volunteers, many of them snowbirds. They will be using part of the grant monies for their volunteer appreciation event and to recruit more volunteers.

“The schools that we focus on have a very high incidence of children coming from homes where no English is spoken. Ninety percent of the children live in homes at the poverty level. Their parents love them and work hard to provide for them but are unable to help them academically. We provide an opportunity for the children to practice their English language skills and improve their proficiency,” said Read With Me Founder, Roberta Klein.

The Read With Me Volunteer Program provides provide English speaking role models for children who are in need of individual assistance in learning to become fluent in English. Volunteers are brought to schools in areas of high poverty with a majority of the parents untrained in academic English.

In addition to the more than 700 hundred volunteers helping in the classrooms, Read With Me has a book distribution where they give-away hundreds books each year.

“Witnessing a child getting their very first book is very rewarding. The parents in these families are working so hard just to provide basic necessities that sometimes they could use some help getting their kids quality, age appropriate books. We are happy to assist them in educating their children,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

Read With Me Volunteer program also received a Golden Bell award for English Acquisition by the California School Board Association for their work in the Coachella Valley School District.

“The Coachella Valley has benefitted from the program and could be implemented in other areas that face similar challenges in providing tutoring and mentoring for disadvantaged children in a classroom setting,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, Read With Me Volunteer Program was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements, and on the cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of December. For more information, to sign up to become a volunteer, visit http://www.readwithmevolunteers.com.

Berger Foundation Presents $25,000 Grant to ‘Dogs For Our Brave’

Coachella Valley Spotlight gift helps organization that retrains rescue dogs to become service animals for disabled veterans.

With Veteran’s Day in mind, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation presented a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight check to Dogs For Our Brave, a non-profit charity founded by a Rancho Mirage couple that is changing the lives of former service members who suffered catastrophic injuries.

Dogs For Our Brave provides service/companion dogs for vets who have lost limbs or endured other grave injuries while serving their country. The dogs are rescued from shelters and retrained at no cost to the recipient. The organization also provides a lifetime supply of food and veterinary care for the dog.

Each dog is specially trained for its new owner’s specific trauma.

“They do so much more than opening refrigerator doors or turning on and off the lights. These dogs become companions. They notice the onset of PTSD and other disorders in their soldier and proceed to calm them down, whether it’s waking them up during a nightmare or asking to be petted until the soldier settles down. It’s really amazing,” said Andy Gladstein, Dogs For Our Brave president and founder.

Since 2014, Dogs For Our Brave has placed 14 service dogs. The $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant will be used to train dogs at the organization’s Arizona facility that will be matched with service members from the Coachella Valley.

“Dogs For Our Brave is a double feel-good charity. They rescue the dogs from shelters and train them for over six months then pair them with a particular veteran. It’s a new life for both the veteran and the dog,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

Dogs For Our Brave is the only program in the United States that offers a fully trained service dog with a lifetime supply of food and veterinary care.

“It’s wonderful we can help Dogs For Our Brave provide this kind of life-changing opportunity to more disabled service members in the community,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, Dogs For Our Brave was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements, and on the cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of November. For more information, visit www.dogsforourbrave.com.

BERGER FOUNDATION GRANT BENEFITS CABOT’S PUEBLO MUSEUM

A $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation will allow Cabot’s Pueblo Museum in Desert Hot Springs to expand its unique educational programs, cultural events, and exhibitions of artifacts.

The endowment is part of the monthly Coachella Valley Spotlight, a partnership between the Berger Foundation and CBS Local 2, to benefit local charities.

Cabot’s is a Hopi-inspired pueblo that draws tens of thousands of visitors each year. The sprawling complex was built over more than two decades in the 1920s and ’30s with scrap wood, sheet metal and other materials Cabot Yerxa collected throughout the desert. Shortly after homesteading 160 acres in 1913, Cabot dug a well with pick and shovel, discovering the now famous hot mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.

“We are so grateful for this grant, which will help us preserve Cabot Yerxa’s legacy and the Native American and Alaska Native artwork he collected, while also helping inspire the next generation to appreciate the distinctive nature of the desert,” said Irene Rodriguez, the museum’s executive director.

The funding will be used to cover tours of the pueblo for every second-grader from five elementary schools in Desert Hot Springs, up from two schools. The grant also covers entertainment and art supplies for free public programs on the Day of the Dead and Earth Day, and the reopening of the Pueblo Gallery and the “Untold Stories” exhibition.

“The Berger Foundation is pleased to be able to help expand programming at this Coachella Valley landmark, which is so rich in cultural heritage,” said Catharine Reed, program director for the Berger Foundation.

“It is nice to see community resources being used to benefit a place of historical significance that also draws tourists to the area, and CBS Local 2 is proud to be a partner in this effort,” said Mike Stutz, general manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, the owner and operator CBS Local 2.

Cabot’s Pueblo Museum is located at 67616 E Desert View Ave., Desert Hot Springs. For more information about the museum, its programs and events, go to www.CabotsMuseum.org or call 760-329-7610.

 

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Lewis “Lew” Webb, Jr.

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is deeply saddened by the loss of Mr. Lewis “Lew” Webb, Jr., a gifted and integral member of the foundation family.

After a successful career in building and development, Lew nurtured his deep desire to help people, becoming a humble philanthropist, passionate humanitarian and generous supporter of the community. In 1990, he joined the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation as a Director and Vice President of Investments. Since then, Lew’s business abilities were instrumental in the expansion and growth of the Foundation. His keen business insights and extraordinary kindness became part of the hallmark of the Foundation.

Lew’s legacy continues through the kindness, affection and enthusiasm he showed for the communities he loved. The Berger Foundation salutes Lew’s leadership and extends its deepest condolences to the entire Webb family.

H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation Board of Directors
October 5, 2017

$25,000 Grant Will Support Palm Springs Unified School District

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation gift is intended to aid teachers by bridging funding gaps.

The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation presented a $25,000 check to a group of excited students, teachers and administrators at Nellie Coffman Middle School in Cathedral City on Sept. 27, a grant award that will benefit the non-profit fundraising arm of the Palm Springs Unified School District.

The Coachella Valley Spotlight grant was awarded to The Foundation for Palm Springs Unified School District, which works to close the gaps in local and government funding for public schools. Each year, the organization provides teachers and administrators with micro-grants in the arts, technology, and other areas to meet classrooms and school needs.

“Our Foundation builds public-private partnerships to strengthen our schools and create opportunities for students to achieve. It’s our way of creating an effective grassroots incentive to encourage teachers to reach for excellence,” said Ellen Goodman, executive director of The Foundation for Palm Springs Unified School District.

The Foundation is more than a grant-making organization. It aims to improve lives and strengthen the community by furthering public education. The Foundation believes every student in the Palm Springs Unified School District deserves the opportunity to be prepared and succeed in postsecondary education or a career after high school.

“These grants are all about giving students the skills they need to get 21st-century jobs and the analytic thinking and creative capacity required to succeed in classrooms and life beyond graduation,” said Catharine Reed, program director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

The Foundation’s original mandate of distributing classroom micro-grants to teachers has been expanded to include donor-naming opportunities, commercial and business underwriting of specialized curriculum academies, formal appeals to venture philanthropists, major donors, aggressive grant-seeking, and the formulation of local and national sponsorship opportunities.

The Foundation’s vision is to mobilize individual investors, businesses, teachers, parents, and community leaders to ensure the success of all students.

“It is gratifying to see The Foundation unite our community members and join forces to fulfill the promise of public education and prepare every student for success,” said Mike Stutz, general manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, the owner and operator CBS Local 2.

For more information about The Foundation for Palm Springs Unified School District or to make a donation, visit https://www.psusd.us/TheFoundation.

H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation Surprises Three Nonprofits

Receiving a letter, email or phone call to hear good news of a grant award is exciting for nonprofit representatives. But, three charities recently enjoyed an even bigger thrill when board members from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation arrived with balloons, an oversized cardboard check, and the real thing – a grant check for $10,000! “We had no idea,” said Patricia Korzec, Executive Director of the Coachella Valley History Museum.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” said Chet Hecht, Outreach Director for St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church.

“I am still in shock and so grateful that the Berger Foundation selected us,” said Terry Cechin, President of the Desi Strong Foundation.

All three recipients were surprised on different days while CBS Local 2 live streamed the grant presentation on its Facebook page. Prior to the presentations, CBS Local 2 Reporter Alexandra Pierce, set the scene by scheduling what appeared to be a standard television interview with each of them about their organizations. As the CBS Local 2 cameras rolled, Christopher McGuire, Vice President of Programs of the Berger Foundation, and Catharine Reed, Program Director of the Berger Foundation, stopped each of the interviews cold by flashing a $10,000 grant check as they walked through the doors. Later each evening, Pierce’s stories aired on CBS Local 2’s Eye on the Desert program. Not only were the stories about the surprise grants, but each also provided an overview about the organization and how the funding will benefit Coachella Valley residents.

The surprise grants were an offshoot of a nine-year partnership between the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and CBS Local 2, where each month, a local nonprofit receives a $25,000 grant. But these three gifts were in addition to the monthly awards. The grants were unknown and unannounced. In fact, each of the three surprised benefactors had received a notice last December that their organization had not been selected as a 2017 Coachella Valley Spotlight recipient. Therefore, receiving anything from the foundation was a complete turn of events.

“Selecting only 12 nonprofits for the Coachella Valley Spotlight each year is a difficult decision,” said McGuire. “Presenting these additional surprise grants is a fun way for our partnership with CBS Local 2 to affect even more people in our community.”

Since the end of 2008, the Coachella Valley Spotlight program has awarded more than $2.25 million to more than 90 nonprofit organizations serving local residents. The surprise grants were presented during the same timeframe as the latest call for Coachella Valley Spotlight applications, which will be awarded in 2018.

“The CBS Local 2 Advisory Board has a tough decision to choose only 12 nonprofits out of about 100 applications,” said Reed. “The surprise grant idea came about because we wanted to support additional organizations through this partnership.” The Desi Strong Foundation will use its $10,000 to help local families with children battling cancer pay for ancillary costs such as travel expenses for out-of-area treatment.

The Coachella Valley History Museum plans to use the grant funds to improve its junior historian and after school art programs with the purchase of electronic tablets, tables, chairs and art supplies. St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church will use the $10,000 surprise grant to purchase refrigerators and freezers for its Neighbors 4 Neighbors food distribution program.

“It’s great to visit these nonprofit organizations as we present the surprise grants and the monthly Coachella Valley Spotlight grants. So many people are doing wonderful work in our community,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2. “We are happy to share their stories and proud of the partnership we’ve created with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.”

For more information about the Coachella Valley Spotlight, visit cbslocal2.com, and click on the Coachella Valley Spotlight logo near the bottom of the home page. To learn more about the Desi Strong Foundation visit www.desistrong.org or call 760- 679-DESI. For more about the Coachella Valley History Museum go to www.cvhm.org or call 760-342-6651. And, for more information about St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and its Neighbors 4 Neighbors program, visit www.stmargarets.org or call 760-346-2697.

Food distribution program receives surprise $10,000 grant


As about 50 people waited to receive a food package in the community center of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, board members from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation surprised organizers of the Neighbors 4 Neighbors program with a $10,000 grant.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” said Chet Hecht, Outreach Director for St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, which supplied about 1,100 seniors, adults and children with food on Tuesday, during the program’s weekly distribution. “We are so thankful to the Berger Foundation for recognizing what we are doing here.”

As Christopher McGuire and Catharine Reed, delivered the $10,000 grant check, a crew from CBS Local 2 was recording and Livestreaming the presentation on Facebook. The grant is an offshoot of a partnership between the Berger Foundation and CBS Local 2, where each month, a local nonprofit receives a $25,000 grant. But this gift was in addition to the monthly awards. CBS Local 2 Reporter Alexandra Pierce and her crew had cameras rolling, as representatives from the television station and the foundation carried balloons and an exaggerated check into the room unannounced.

“This summer we added three surprise grant presentations so we could affect more people in our community who were requesting assistance, because it’s difficult to choose only 12 nonprofits from the approximately 100 Coachella Valley Spotlight applications we receive each year,” said Christopher McGuire, Vice President of Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors program applied for a 2017 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant, but was not selected as one of the monthly recipients. However, the organization’s application stood out, noting a need for more refrigerators and freezers to keep up with the increased number of people the organization is serving.

“This was a great day!” said Catharine Reed, Program Director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “We were able to see, first-hand, the people we are able to help with the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership.”

The church’s Neighbors 4 Neighbors program started in 2007, and currently assists about 48,000 area residents annually with basic necessities including food, clothing and shelter. With the help of many volunteers, the Neighbors 4 Neighbors program also helps area residents apply for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and refers them to medical and social services in the community.

“We are proud of the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, which has made a difference in thousands of people’s lives. We are excited to open the grant application period for 2018, and look forward to learning more about all the wonderful work happening in our community,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

For more information about the Coachella Valley Spotlight grant or to apply to receive one in 2018, go to cbslocal2.com, and click on the Coachella Valley Spotlight logo near the bottom of the home page.

To learn more about St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church and its Neighbors 4 Neighbors program, visit www.stmargarets.org or call 760-346-2697.

$25,000 Grant will Help Organizations Plan Health Programs

A grant presented by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation will support local organizations that aim to improve the health and welfare of Coachella Valley residents. Berger Foundation board members Christopher McGuire and Catharine Reed presented the $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant to Health Assessment and Research for Communities (HARC), which provides research and evaluation to improve health, wellness, and quality of life in the Coachella Valley and beyond.

HARC, a Palm Desert nonprofit organization, formed in 2006 to address the pressing and ongoing gaps in access to regional health information. Every three years, HARC conducts a Coachella Valley Community Health Survey. The data is tabulated and provided to the community at no charge.

“We are dedicated to providing objective, reliable research, analysis and technical services to communities in order to facilitate better decision making regarding health and quality of life,” said Jenna LeComte-Hinely, PhD., CEO of HARC.

The Coachella Valley Spotlight grant is helping cover the cost of collecting and analyzing the data and disseminating it to the community in easy-to-understand ways. One way HARC plans to share the survey information with the community is by holding workshops to provide hands-on training to organizations about how to use HARC’s online database, which contains the survey results, and how to interpret the data. The first workshop is being planned for Fall 2017.

“Often important work done by HARC goes unnoticed because they are behind the scenes, but the work, and in this case, the data, is instrumental to so many Coachella Valley organizations as they plan their programming needs,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director of the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

The Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership is adding to HARC’s outreach of survey information as CBS Local 2 is providing the benefit of media exposure about the organization and what it does. HARC will be featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the cbslocal2.com website throughout August.

“The more people and organizations that come to know about HARC and its available research, the more these agencies can design and adapt their programs to meet the needs of the community,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

To find out about HARC visit www.HARCdata.org or call 760-404-1945. For more information about the Coachella Valley Spotlight grant or to apply to receive one in 2018, go to cbslocal2.com, and click on the Coachella Valley Spotlight logo on the home page.