Grant will renovate kitchen at Joseph L. Stone, VFW Post 1534

Palm Desert, Calif., (May 29, 2019) – The only remaining Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post in the Coachella Valley will receive a kitchen renovation, thanks to a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

The Joseph L. Stone, VFW Post 1534, located in Desert Hot Springs has a membership of about 315 and at various times supports as many as 3,000 veterans and their family members with various services. The VFW serves veterans and their families with financial assistance, claims, food, transition into civilian life and housing. The local VFW also provides outreach to the community, education about veterans and patriotism as well as collaboration with youth programs including Junior ROTC and Civil Air Patrol.

“It’s wonderful that VFW Post 1534 is still active and open for the veterans of our area,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “It’s a great place for veterans, their family and friends to get together.”

The VFW Post 1534 dining room is open to the public for low cost meals and for special events. The kitchen’s appliances and other equipment are nearly 30 years old. Cooks, servers and bussers are all volunteers at the VFW. The organization rents its facility, including the kitchen and dining room, and offers catering services as a way to raise funds.

“The grant will allow the VFW to completely gut and remodel the kitchen and replace old, inefficient appliances,” said Jeff Horton, VFW Post 1534 Commander. “This upgrade will not only help us improve the productivity of providing low cost meals to veterans, but it should also attract more facility rentals and catering accounts.”

“These improvements to the VFW kitchen should help attract more people to the Post as a community gathering place,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. “Going to the VFW Post is a great way for veterans to build and maintain camaraderie.”

Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, the Joseph L. Stone, VFW Post 1534 was featured 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 throughout the month of May. VFW Post 1534 is located at 1 Club House Drive, Desert Hot Springs, near Mountain View and Dillon Roads.
For more information visit www.vfwpost1534.com or call 760-671-6185.

Berger Foundation grant helping Boo2Bullying expand programming

Boo2Bullying (B2B) not only gives bullying a thumbs down – the symbol the organizations uses in its logo – but it also aims to eradicate intolerance and discrimination through education and positive influences. The nonprofit organization’s mission received a big thumbs up with a $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

“This Coachella Valley Spotlight grant is going to take Boo2Bullying to a new level,” said Dimitri Halkidis, President and Founder. “There is so much momentum with B2B right now, and we are making positive strides in many arenas to eliminate bullying and increase tolerance and understanding.”

B2B focuses primarily on school assemblies, bringing influencers to students to encourage them to stand up and speak out against bullying behaviors. Often, celebrities and allies share real-life experiences about being bullied. These stories resonate with young people who often think they are alone when facing the challenges of peer pressure and fitting in. With social media sometimes used as a tool to bully, B2B takes to those same websites and apps to spread messages of kindness and support for people being targeted.

“It’s hard to hear what some kids are subjected to by their peers, and statistics are indicating that a child is bullied every 7 minutes,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “But, the valley is fortunate to have a group that is addressing bullying head-on with education and practical solutions to difficult issues.”

More than 11,000 students (K-12), primarily in the Coachella Valley, heard from B2B during 2018. The organization is connected to about 20,000 people through social media. The organization is working to double its impact in the next year, thanks, in part, to the Berger Foundation grant. B2B organizes art therapy programs that offer young people opportunities to express themselves in safe, supportive environments. The organization also supports peer mentoring programs and a Mothers Against Bullying group.

A portion of the grant funding helped B2B open a resale shop, Boo2Bullying Bootique and Gallery, in the Smoke Tree Village in Palm Springs. The space serves as both a headquarters for the organization and a fundraising mechanism. For the third year, B2B is holding a talent show and exhibition to bring awareness to its cause and give people a venue to perform. This year’s “Desert’s Got Talent” fundraiser to support Boo2Bullying is Saturday, May 4, from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Annenberg Theater.

“The organization, Boo2Bullying, came at a time when addressing bullying issues was at the forefront of community conversations and news stories,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. “In only a few short years, the nonprofit has raised awareness about bullying and given young people a support network.”

Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, Boo2Bullying was featured 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 throughout the month of April.

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.

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 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

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 cbslocal2.com 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 cvhorserescue.org.

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