By Samantha L. QuigleyFebruary 5, 2007
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 5, 2007) - Newman's Own, the Fisher House Foundation and the Military Times Media Group are inviting volunteer organizations that serve military families to compete for a share of $75,000 in grants.
The Fisher House Foundation is a member of America Supports You, a Defense Department program that highlights and facilitates support among Americans and the corporate sector for the nation's servicemembers.
The volunteer organizations are asked to present an innovative plan to support military families. The plan garnering the most votes from the judges will earn $15,000 to put that plan into action. The judges will divide the remaining $60,000 among as many groups as they like, James Weiskopf, Fisher House Foundation's vice president of communications, said, adding that the awards may not be the same for each group.
"We are looking for an organization where if we're able to give $3,000 or $5,000 or $7,000, it means the difference between success and failure," he said. "We would especially like those organizations to submit entries, because they are comprised almost entirely of volunteers ... (and) we know that they're not particularly well resourced."
Nominations are now being accepted and must be postmarked by May 18, Weiskopf said. Instructions for nominating a group, as well as full rules and eligibility requirements, can be found on the foundation's Web site, www.fisherhouse.org.
The awards are tentatively scheduled to be presented in August at the Pentagon, Weiskopf added.
Last year, 12 groups split $75,000. A little detective work after the awards had been presented revealed all 12 were America Supports You team members, he said.
"We would be delighted if they all would be participants in America Supports You, because America Supports You is the focal point for all of the nonprofits that are trying to do exactly what we recognize with the Newman's Own Award, and that is to help small volunteer organizations that are trying to improve the quality of life for members of the military and their families ... by either taking care of the families of the deployed servicemembers or doing something to help the deployed servicemembers," Weiskopf said.
Actor Paul Newman began his Newman's Own line of food products in 1982. Since then, he has donated all royalties and after-tax profits of the sales from the line - more than $200 million - to educational and charitable organizations.
In 1997, the World War II Navy veteran decided he wanted to take his line of products to the military. It was suggested that the proceeds from those sales at military facilities go back to the military, and the Fisher House Foundation was chosen to make that happen. Newman's Own salad dressing, pasta sauces and salsas are sold in military commissaries worldwide.
(Samantha L. Quigley writes for the American Forces Press Service.)