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MEMBERSHIP PHILANTHROPY: WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES

Have you ever wondered how your membership dollars are used?  The Villages Homeowners Advocates assembled a team of willing and capable residents to form The VHA Foundation Committee with a mission to distribute philanthropic support to organizations and programs that benefit residents of The Villages, and empower our community through knowledge, commitment and caring.

The VHA Foundation Committee is chaired by Peggy Fiore of the Village Santiago. She serves along with Carol Duggan of the Village Santiago, and Gary Frigiola of the Village of Hawkins.  The VHA Executive Vice President, Peter Russell, acts as The VHA Board liaison and non-voting member.

The VHA Foundation Committee has made several gifts within their first few months.  A grant of $500 was presented on June 30th to RaeAnn Bethel, the Village of Bonita, and Fran Inco, of the Village of Pennecamp for the Girl Scouts Alumnae Silver Trefoil Group of The Villages to purchase pajamas for their annual Pajama and Book Drive.  The program provides over 600 homeless children in Marion, Sumter and Lake counties with a pair of pajamas and a book.  You may have seen their collection boxes in the Recreation Centers of The Villages during the holidays. “Your donation will truly help those most vulnerable in our community,” wrote RaeAnn Bethel in an acknowledgement note to the Committee.

More recently, a grant of $1,000 was presented to Andy Hendricks, a resident of the Village of Poinciana, to help Shared Harvest Community Garden purchase pressure-treated lumber to replace the frames on their 20+ year-old raised beds used to grow seedlings. A 100% volunteer-driven project, Shared Harvest Community Garden grows crops year-round to provide produce to local food programs such as the Wildwood Soup Kitchen, Fruitland Park, and the parishes of St. Timothy, Hope Lutheran, New Covenant United Methodist, and St. Theresa, to name just a few. :  Each year, the gardens distribute about 25,000 pounds of produce.   “That certainly helps keep The Villages and our surrounding neighbors ‘America’s Healthiest Hometown,” commented Peter Russell.

The VHA is committed to five broad areas of need:  Evaluation and support services to help The Villages’ residents to remain in their homes as long as possible; transportation services; home-delivered meals; caregiver resources; dementia programs and services.  If you are aware of worthy organizations in our community whose mission aligns with these commitments, they may be considered for a grant.  Please ask them to contact Peggy Fiore at peg2730@hotmail.com with a written request.  Grants are distributed in a range of amounts, beginning at $100. 

Consider making a gift to The VHA Foundation Committee to help support these efforts.  The VHA is a 501(c)(3) foundation, and donations are tax deductible as allowed by the IRS.  To donate, visit our website, www.thevha.net, send a check to The VHA Foundation Committee, 1104 Main Street, The Villages FL 32162, or contact Peggy Fiore at 347-539-0757.

Peggy Fiore
Chairperson, The VHA Community Foundation