Valley Nonprofits are Amped after Surprise $10,000 Grants

July 24, 2019

Valley Nonprofits are Amped after Surprise $10,000 Grants

Representatives from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation surprised two  local nonprofit organizations with $10,000 grant checks this July. Each nonprofit was surprised during a staged interview with News Channel 3’s Kelley Moody. During the taped television interview, a group representing the Berger Foundation and News Channel 3 barged in with balloons and a check all during a Live News Channel 3 Facebook Feed. The unexpected $10,000 grants were presented to Sanctuary Palm Springs and Academy of Musical Performance (AMP). The two nonprofit organizations were two of about 80 charities that applied for Coachella Valley Spotlight grants last summer.

“For almost eleven years now, we select 12 nonprofits to receive a $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from about 80-100 nonprofit applicants,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “It is difficult to choose only 12 from many notable applications. So, we started surprising three nonprofits with $10,000 grants during the summer. It’s a great way to give charities a boost in the arm for summer programming and when funding is most scarce. Plus, it kicks off our grant application period for next year’s $25,000 grants!”

“Grants like this are a huge help for us to be able to provide free education to students who don’t have the access to education like this in their schools or in the community,” said Will Sturgeon, Executive Director of AMP, which received a $10,000 surprise grant during the final week of AMP Camp, which is wrapping with its Final Summer Showcase this Saturday.

AMP serves around 200 young musicians, ages 10-18, each year through summer camp and after-school programming. Students receive training that fosters productivity and social responsibility through creativity, communication and collaboration by participating in a “rock band” style educational setting.

Earlier in the month, Sanctuary Palm Springs received a $10,000 surprise grant at its residential home that provides safe, comfortable, supervised housing with case management services for young adults, ages, 18-21, who are transitioning out of the foster care system. Many are self-identified LGBTQ youth and their allies who need assistance reaching goals of independence and long-term self-sufficiency.

“Coming out of foster care is not easy, and many of their living situations have been very unstable,” said Rob Woronoff, Executive Director of Sanctuary Palm Springs, which received a $10,000 surprise grant at the beginning of July. “These are young people who have not always received a lot of support in their lives, and for The Sanctuary to receive this grant shows them that there are compassionate people who will give someone a hand up.”

“These surprise grants are an exciting extension of our partnership with the Berger Foundation, and it gives us an opportunity to shine a spotlight on more great organizations in the valley,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates News Channel 3.

For more information about AMP, go to For information about Sanctuary Palm Springs visit In June, CREATE Center For The Arts received a surprise $10,000; for more information, go to To learn more about the Coachella Valley Spotlight and to apply for a grant, visit, and click on the Coachella Valley Spotlight logo on the home page. The deadline for grant applications is September 9, 2019.