Forward Observer: Governor Announces Veterans’ Trust Fund Grant Awards for 2018

LVMAC Poster Art 2005On 12 March 2018, Governor Tom Wolf announced that 13 Pennsylvania county veterans’ affairs offices and 18 nonprofit organizations will receive in grants from the Veterans’ Trust Fund (VTF), which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA). [Editor’s Note:  We question the IRS nonprofit classifications DMVA allows in its official Notification of Funding Availability as they may discourage legitimate applications.]

Funded by public donations when applying for licenses and license plates and private donations,  a total of $2,832,860 in grants have been awarded since 2013 according to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  This does not include the trust fund’s total funding of the Veterans Temporary Assistance  program to the tune of about $800,000 annually, an emergency financial aid program it was meant to supplement – if our executive and legislative branches would remember.  Fortunately, it no longer has to send exorbitant, annual sums to PennDOT for that veterans logo on the driver’s license (which does not honestly confirm one is a veteran).

Since some of the grantees slated to receive funding (all grant awards are contingent upon the completion of a fully executed grant agreement) identified $520,193 in matching funds pledged toward grant-funded initiatives, the combined effect may be more than $1.3 million for veterans’ initiatives during the next two years.

A total of $150,000 in grant funding is to be awarded for “… new, innovative or expanded programs or services provided by county directors of veterans affairs …”  The grantees are:

  • Bedford County:  $5,767 for veterans’ outreach equipment
  • Cambria County: $15,000 to support veterans’ court services
  • Clarion County:  $8,500 for veterans’ outreach equipment
  • Clinton County:  $5,000 for veterans’ outreach equipment
  • Fayette County:  $14,710 to expand veterans’ outreach
  • Franklin County: $13,583 to support service dogs for veterans
  • Juniata County and Mifflin County (joint application): $26,000 for veterans’ outreach
  • Lackawanna County: $20,000 toward its veterans’ court
  • Lehigh County: $10,190 for mental health first aid training
  • Montgomery County: $15,000 for its transportation program
  • Potter County: $11,250 for veterans’ outreach events
  • Warren County:  $5,000 for veterans’ outreach events

The fund granted a total of $650,000 to 501(c)(19) veteran service organizations and 501(c)(3) charitable organizations with a mission of serving Pennsylvania veterans. Funding priorities for grants in this category were programs “… focused on transitional housing/community living, unique veteran health services or other programs addressing newly identified, unmet or emerging needs of veterans and their families.”  Grants are being awarded to:

  • American Legion Post 210 (Bucks County): $7,500 for veteran outreach events
  • Central Pennsylvania Food Bank (Dauphin County): $50,000 for its MilitaryShare program
  • Community Hope, d/b/a Hope for Veterans (Lehigh County): $50,000 to provide low-income veterans and their families with financial assistance
  • David’s Drive 831(Chester County): $15,000 for financial assistance to veterans in need
  • Dog T.A.G.S.(Cumberland County): $49,325 for service dogs to veterans
  • Meghan Shortt Wilent Foundation (Montgomery County): $11,175 for therapeutic services to veterans with post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injuries
  • Military Assistance Project (Philadelphia County): $20,000 to provide free legal services to veterans
  • Operation Touch of Home (Monroe County): $25,000 for essential care packages and emergency financial assistance to veterans in need
  • Pennsylvania Wounded Warriors (Cumberland County): $45,000 for emergency financial assistance to veterans in need
  • Safe Harbor Easton (Northampton County): $40,000 to provide housing services to homeless female veterans
  • Second Harvest Food Bank (Erie County): $50,000 for its MilitaryShare program
  • Travelers Aid Society (Allegheny County): $50,000 to provide transportation assistance to veterans
  • Veteran Community Initiatives (Cambria County): $50,000 for its Operation Family Caregiver Program, supporting post-9/11 service members and their families
  • Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA (Allegheny County): $50,000 for its Heroes Matter program, providing emergency assistance to homeless veterans
  • Veterans Multi-Service Center (Philadelphia County): $25,000 for its women veterans’ program
  • Veteran’s Helping Hand (York County): $32,000 to provide emergency assistance to veterans in need
  • Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 364 (Cambria County): $30,000 to assist and educate veterans on mental health issues
  • Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania (Dauphin County): $50,000 to support homeless veterans’ reintegration back into society

RJH
16 March 2018

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