CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs Executive Director Jill Upson for a ceremony at the State Capitol today, to present nearly a quarter of a million dollars in grant funding to 11 organizations across Kanawha County as part of a new pilot program that aims to improve health and economic development in underserved communities across the state.
The pilot program, called Building Resources In Diverse Geographic Environments (BRIDGE), is a comprehensive community revitalization effort with a mission of addressing poverty, improving community-wide health, stimulating labor force participation and supporting economic development. The program also aims to combat substance abuse, improve crime rates, and includes neighborhood revitalization.
“We’ve still got all kinds of problems and all kinds of social issues – whether it be this terrible drug epidemic – or all the different things that are going on,” Gov. Justice said. “But I want to do more and more. I want to get something done. That’s what this program is: a chance to get something done to help change lives.”
Individual grants worth up to $25,000 were awarded to 11 local community organizations, nonprofits, and colleges located within Kanawha County.
YWCA Sojourner’s Shelter for Homeless Women and Families
YWCA Sojourner’s Education/Job Readiness Center
BridgeValley Community and Technical College
BridgeValley GRID Makerspaces
A More Excellent Way Life Center Church
A More Excellent Change: A Path to Economic Prosperity
Minority Health Institute/Marshall University
Program to Reduce the Burden of Heath Disparities Among Minorities
The Domestic Violence Survivors Support Group
Trauma Education and Positive Coping Behavior
Spotted Owl Healthcare Organization
Healthy Kids, Healthy Adults
West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition
Parents Do Care: Vista View Apartments
Appalachia Service Project
Kanawha County Home Repair Program
Fun Fitness Foundation
Performing Arts and Physical Fitness Initiative in Charleston, WV
Morris Enrichment Center
Fun Fitness Foundation
Physical Fitness & Financial Literacy Bootcamp for Kids
“Now this isn’t an end-all, do-all,” Gov. Justice said. “But I can tell you that this program that Director Upson has started is a terrific first step to bring success into our underserved communities. Nobody on the planet wants to help more than I do. And, absolutely, we just need to get more and more done.”
The BRIDGE pilot program is also active in Berkeley and Jefferson counties. A ceremony to announce and present another round of grants for organizations in those areas will be held soon.
While these pilot efforts will take place specifically in Kanawha, Berkeley, and Jefferson counties, the goal is to eventually expand the program to other counties across the state.