News

Grant provides nourishment to ‘food deserts’ in Eastern Coachella Valley

catholic-charitiesPeople living in some of the most impoverished parts of the Coachella Valley will feel additional relief now that a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight was awarded to Catholic Charities San Bernardino & Riverside Counties. The grant, presented by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, will increase the amount of fresh, healthy food available to people with immediate needs living in Mecca, North Shore, and in isolated, difficult to reach trailer park communities in the Coachella Valley.

“We are grateful to the Berger Foundation and to the CBS Local 2 Advisory Board for recognizing this very real need in the Eastern Coachella Valley,” said Ken F. Sawa CEO and Executive Vice President of Catholic Charities San Bernardino & Riverside Counties. “The grant will be used to maintain and expand this highly cost-effective and much needed program for the hardworking, poor, isolated families in this part of our service area.”

Catholic Charities’ Eastern Coachella Valley food distribution program provides healthy food including fresh produce, eggs, packaged meals, and other perishable and nonperishable items to some of the poorest communities in the valley. These communities are considered food deserts because there are very few grocery stores selling fresh foods in these areas. And while Catholic Charities’ food distribution program aids people with the immediate need of nourishment, the family and community services programs help members of eastern valley communities move toward new opportunities and futures.

“This program provides families and individuals in desperate situations with healthy foods, which allows them to spend part of their limited budgets on other necessities such as rent and utilities,” said Christopher McGuire, Vice President of Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “Catholic Charities’ mission aligns with our Foundation’s mission – to help people help themselves. We are happy to support this hand up to help people escape poverty.”

Catholic Charities’ Eastern Coachella Valley food distribution program has been operating for more than 10 years and serves about 600 families each week. Annually, this program helps more than 3,000 unduplicated households and 14,000 unduplicated individuals. The program consists primarily of community volunteers who are mission driven to fight poverty and its consequences. Each week about 40-50 volunteers sort, pack and distribute food to their neighbors in need.

“The volunteers in the Catholic Charities program care about the people they serve, and are dedicated, not only to help people with their immediate needs, but also to help them see beyond their current situations,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, Catholic Charities was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the www.cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of October. For more information call 760-342-0341 or visit www.ccsbriv.org.

Coachella Valley Girls to benefit from Berger Foundation grant

girl-scouts-sgcA $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant will make it easier for youth to join Girl Scouts in the Coachella Valley. The grant, presented to Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council by the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, will open the doors of Girl Scouting to more girls, ages 5-17, by paying for program fees, books and supplies, uniform items, transportation and other expenses.

“We believe that every girl who wants to be a Girl Scout should have that opportunity, regardless of their ability to pay for supplies, transportation, field trips and other activities,” said Cynthia Breunig, President and CEO of GSSGC. “The grant from the Berger Foundation will also help us grow our award-winning Classroom to Career program in the low valley region, and expand opportunities for girls to participate in confidence-building activities and workforce readiness training.”

Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio serves a 27,000 square mile territory encompassing all of Riverside County and most of San Bernardino County. With more than 12,000 girls and 4,000 volunteers in GSSGC, nearly 2,000 girls participate in the Coachella Valley, and 645 adult valley volunteers lead troops and mentor young women to be future leaders. Thousands more are affected by Girl Scouts through the Council’s service projects, which aim to improve the communities in which the girls live.

“Girl Scouts helps girls find themselves as individuals, learn life skills, problem solve, and work in teams,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “It’s wonderful that the local Girl Scout Council is looking for ways to ensure that all girls who want to participate, can, regardless of family income. We are happy to help encourage this involvement as well.”

Today’s Girl Scouts focus on G.I.R.L. – Go-getter, Innovator, Risk taker and Leader. Beyond many of the activities Girl Scouts are known for around the world, including Girl Scout camps and outdoor programming, plus the annual Cookie Program, which aims to empower girls through “learning by earning,” GSSGC also provides life-changing opportunities to visit new places and be exposed to possible vocations through its Classroom to Career college and career readiness program.

“The Classroom to Career program helps retain and attract older Girl Scout participants and offers them opportunities to explore professions that they may not consider otherwise,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the www.cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of September. For more information call 760-779-5152 or visit www.gssgc.org.

Mama’s House receives grant to help pregnant women in crisis

mamas-houseMama’s House was awarded a $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation to help pregnant women in crisis situations. The Coachella Valley Spotlight grant will be used for professional counseling, tutoring, and educational material for women in the Mama’s House program.
“Mama’s House provides shelter for women in crisis who want to carry their baby to term, whether they plan to raise their child or seek adoption options,” said Jan Lupia, Founder and Director of Mama’s House, which is operated by the nonprofit organization HEARTbeat At 22. “Our program does not stop with simply providing these women a place to live while they are pregnant. We also aim to give our residents skills to be successful on their own after the baby is born.”
Mama’s House typically assists between 15-20 women each year, most of whom are leaving negative, stressful, even dangerous situations and want to improve their lives. The staff and volunteers at Mama’s House help their residents, 18 and older, with educational goals, job training and job searching, plus basic life skills and exposure to arts, crafts and music. While at Mama’s House, every resident is required to work toward a GED certificate, if they have not already earned a high school diploma.
“Jan and everyone at Mama’s House really take care of these women. They not only help them during their stay at Mama’s House but also make sure they are ready to live a new life on their own,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
Mama’s House was established in 2013, and since then more than 50 women and their babies have been helped by the Mama’s House program. Mama’s House operates through the generosity of others including individuals and foundations that support the organization financially and others who volunteer their time. The Mama’s House ladies guild known as the Mama Mia’s organizes volunteers for tutoring, parenting support groups, cooking classes, arts and crafts workshops and more.
“This is yet another time when we are able to feature a unique nonprofit benefiting people in our area,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2. “No other organization in the valley helps women in crisis pregnancies like Mama’s House does.”
Along with the grant, Mama’s House was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the www.cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of August. For more information call 760-848-8185 or visit www.themamashouse.org.

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, www.cbslocal2.com.

“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 www.cbslocal2.com and must be postmarked by Friday, September 30, 2016. Recipients will be notified in December. For more information call 760-773-0342.

S.C.R.A.P. Gallery receives grant to create “Kids Green Teams”

SCRAP GallerySmall groups of elementary and high school students are expected to tackle big environmental issues next school year, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. The Student Creative Recycle Art Program (S.C.R.A.P.) Gallery plans to use the Coachella Valley Spotlight grant to develop “Kids Green Teams” at local schools, libraries and other community organizations throughout valley.

These student teams will develop a project focus for the school year, such as establishing a campus recycling program, auditing water use and waste, or creating a nature area. The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery staff and volunteers will help each team develop goals, a timeline, and a plan to accomplish the project. Additional aspects of each school’s project may include inspiring other students to get involved, fundraising to support their project or making community presentations about their progress.

“Our hope is to truly inspire tomorrow’s leaders with these ‘Green Team’ projects,” said Karen Riley, Founder and Executive Director of the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery. “By educating students about environmental issues, and then putting the creation of solutions in their hands, we are empowering them to be a force for change.”

Founded in 1997, the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery is a unique environmental art museum and engaging mobile program that delivers art and environmental education to children throughout the Coachella Valley. By using donated discarded materials, students of all ages learn about conservation, reuse and other environmental issues through hands-on exploration. Since its inception, more than 75,000 pounds of trash have been diverted from the landfill through the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery’s programs.

“The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery’s programs actively engage young people to be stewards of their environment, helping to improve our valley’s communities for all generations,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

“The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery gives the kids the tools, but the ideas and creations they have are their own. They are innovative, and it’s inspiring to see,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.

Along with the grant, the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the www.cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of July. To learn more about the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery call 760-861-6479 or go to www.scrapgallery.org.

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: give.orlandohealth.com/ORMC-TraumaOne 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.

Friends of the Desert Libraries, Thousand Palms Chapter receives grant

friends-of-libraryFor it’s 10th Anniversary, the Art Samson Community Library received a very special gift – a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. Friends of the Desert Libraries, Thousand Palms Chapter was the latest recipient of the grant awarded each month through a partnership between the Foundation and CBS Local 2.

“This is a very special day for the library,” said Patricia Bergman, treasurer of Friends of the Desert Libraries, Thousand Palms Chapter. Bergman also wrote the application, along with the library’s branch manager, which earned the attention of the CBS Local 2 Community Advisory Board, which selects each recipient. “The grant from the Berger Foundation and the media coverage fro CBS Local 2 are much appreciated gifts to our library and our community.”
The “Friends” group submits grants and seeks large donations as much as possible, but more commonly relies on membership dues, small gifts, used book sales and other community fundraisers. Riverside County also supports the library, which began with the vision of former Thousand Palms resident Art Samson.
“Art passed before the library was a reality,” said Roxanna Garcia, library branch manager. “I think he would be so happy with the facility it is today, and that members of the community continue his passion by raising money for the library and awareness about the importance of reading and lifelong learning.”
Grant funds will be used to purchase technology that library officials say is desperately needed. Items including laptops, tablets, headphones, a television, DVD player and a projector will help the library stay current with the educational offerings of the 21st century. The gift will also allow the library to present more community programs to the people it serves, from infants to the elderly.
“It is evident that the Thousand Palms community loves and cares for its library, maintaining a beautiful facility and working to ensure that is offers the same types of programs larger libraries in the valley do,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “We are happy to have a hand in that effort.”
“It’s great to see the Art Samson Community Library diversify and use this grant to increase available technology and add valuable community programs,” said Mike Stutz, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates CBS Local 2.
Along with the grant, the Friends of the Desert Libraries, Thousand Palms Chapter was featured on CBS Local 2’s “Eye on the Desert,” in public service announcements and on the www.cbslocal2.com website throughout the month of June. The Art Samson Community Library is located at 31189 Robert Road, Thousand Palms. For more information call 760-343-1556 or visit www.rivlib.info