By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen
From left to right, Tom Merkel-The IMPACT! Group, Kyra Slack & Shirley Cabe-Norcross Cooperative Ministry, Greg Lang-Good Samaritan, Judy Waters - CFNEG, Sherry Patton & Leigh Couch - Creative Enterprises.

Community Foundation awards $125,000 in Challenge Grants
By Staff Reports

DULUTH, GA (March 12, 2014) - The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia (CFNEG) is pleased to announce the award of $125,000 in Challenge Grants to four non-profit organizations in our community - Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett, The IMPACT! Group, Norcross Cooperative Ministry and Creative Enterprises, Inc.

These awards are part of the Foundation’s 2014 discretionary grant disbursements that are gifted to help these organizations leverage dollars to further their current capital campaigns.

The Foundation’s Challenge Grants offer each grantee the opportunity to double their fundraising efforts with a one-to-one dollar match. Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett and The IMPACT! Group were each awarded a $50,000 challenge. Norcross Cooperative Ministry was awarded $15,000 and Creative Enterprises received a $10,000 grant. Each organization must first raise their awarded amounts and then the Foundation will disburse the challenge grant dollars. Monies raised must be new contributions and the organizations are required to have the dollars in-hand, not pledges. Each is challenged to raise their funds by the close of 2014.

Julie Keeton Arnold, 2014 Grants Committee Chair explains, “We have found challenge grants to be very effective and impactful over the past few years as they motivate organizations to seek out new support and enable them to show their donors a greater return on investment. The Foundation is honored to be working in partnership with these great organizations that do such good work in our community.”

Judy Waters, CFNEG Executive Director shares, “These challenge grants announced today allow us to turn $125,000 in giving into $250,000 that brings online new facilities and services that will benefit thousands in our community. This is a perfect example of how our Community Foundation enables philanthropic dollars to have greater impact for all involved. We are excited to be investing in these campaigns that are addressing real-time needs.”

During this year’s grant cycle ten organizations applied. Six were invited to present formal presentations and ultimately four agencies were selected to receive challenge grants. Arnold shares, “It is humbling and extremely educational to go through this granting process. It shines light on real needs in our community that many of us don’t know exists. While it’s never an easy task to decide where our limited resources should go, it is so rewarding to know that our dollars can be leveraged to make a real impact in the lives of so many in our community.”

Good Samaritan Health Center will apply their $50,000 to their 3.0 Project focused on relocation and expansion. They have recently launched a $3.5 capital campaign to purchase a larger facility with more parking and expand their services to provide dental, pediatrics, a pharmacy and mental health clinic. Good Samaritan provides essential health care resources for the uninsured and under-insured working poor in our community.

The IMPACT! Group will leverage their $50,000 grant to kick off their $2 million capital campaign called IMPACT! For Vets that will focus on delivering housing facilities and specialized services for veterans. According to HUD, there are nearly 3,600 homeless veteran families in our community. The Foundation’s grant dollars will enable The IMPACT! Group to launch this much needed program that will offer vital support and services to military families.

Norcross Cooperative Ministry will apply their $15,000 grant toward their Restoring Hope Campaign. Their $3.5 million capital campaign has been focused on stabilizing hundreds of families in our community by offering support and guidance via education, employment services, emergency housing, food and clothing distribution, transportation, children’s activities and more. As this capital campaign is drawing to a close, it is the hope of the Foundation that this challenge will help push their giving over the finish line.

Creative Enterprises’ $10,000 challenge will channel towards their new Paving the Way & Smoothing the Transition Campaign. With a mission dedicated to the enhancement of the lives of individuals with disabilities, it is imperative that their parking lots, driveways and sidewalks are smooth, level and in good repair to ensure adequate mobility and safety for their clients. Their grant dollars will be used to (re)pave all driveways and parking areas connecting the seven buildings on their campus.

In addition to these grants, the Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia is in the last year of a five-year cycle granting a total $50,000 to the nursing program at Gwinnett Technical College and in the third year of a five-year, $50,000 grant for Georgia Gwinnett College. Waters says with assurance, “Though these past few years have been challenging and lean for many, philanthropy is still alive and well in our community. The Community Foundation for Northeast Georgia remains focused on strengthening our community through our discretionary and donor-directed funds and committed to investing our community’s philanthropic dollars wisely.”