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AmeriCares Grants: Helping Communities Help Themselves

  • February 24, 2006

Nine months after Hurricane Katrina crossed the Gulf Coast, and just a few days away from the beginning of the 2006 Hurricane Season, AmeriCares is continuing to bring help and hope to many of those who are continuing their recovery from Katrina. 

Most recently, AmeriCares has completed its first grant cycle to support local communities in their rebuilding efforts, and is now in the midst of a second grant cycle focusing on primary care and mental health needs. These two grant cycles will contribute more than $6.3 million to grassroots recovery efforts.

AmeriCares continues to collaborate with local partners in the affected areas, ensuring that our aid is appropriate and meets the greatest needs of the communities who have asked for our help. Following are some highlights from our grant program: 

Helping Communities Help Themselves

To date, AmeriCares has awarded more than $1.3 million grants to grassroots organizations in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas who are addressing the most pressing recovery issues, including nutritional and medical needs; shelter; volunteer support; children’s health and welfare, including pre-school and summer camp programs; and livelihood issues. The maximum grant amount was $25,000, and through these grants, AmeriCares has funded 57 projects across the three states.

For example, a $25,000 grant to the City of Pass Christian Recovery, Inc., in Mississippi, is supporting child health and welfare programs with the provision of equipment and the construction of a day care center that will give Katrina’s youngest survivors a safe, secure place to play, thus giving their parents peace of mind, too.

“We really needed funding to help where our citizens most needed assistance,” said Pass Christian Alderman Lou Rizzardi. “AmeriCares has played a tremendous role in giving our kids a better environment. Without that support, we’d have no daycare center.”


Photo: Chet Gordon

Paul and Shirley Aultman of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, are having their home rebuilt by volunteers from CORE, an AmeriCares grant recipient.

A $25,000 grant to Lutheran Social Services (LSS) in Austin, Texas, is helping address the unmet needs of residents in the  region of southeast Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana. These funds are providing direct assistance to people who are having difficulty finding other support, covering the cost of prescription medicines and other medical needs; helping with rent, utilities and emergency assistance for those who have lost their homes; and purchasing building materials to assist in rebuilding.

“We are grateful that we received this grant, and know that this will allow us to keep serving those affected by the devastating hurricanes of last year,” said Tom Minor, executive director of disaster response for LSS. “There are still many families who are piecing their lives back together who need our help.”

Supporting Primary Healthcare and Mental Health Needs

AmeriCares is in the midst of a second grant cycle, which will contribute $5 million to supporting the primary healthcare and mental health programs in the affected communities. AmeriCares is partnering with the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the Community Foundation of Acadiana for this second grant cycle. The goal of this program is to support up to 50 local groups working in these fields with grants of up to $100,000 each to restore and strengthen their capacity to serve their communities.

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