September 28, 2011 – Sky Ranch Foundation, which has been coordinating beverage industry support for troubled kids since 1961, has launched a new phase of operations with over $200,000 in annual funding for quality programs delivering care to boys and girls who need help. The first several grant awards are being announced now. Additional grant applications are under review and funding announcements are expected in the next few months.
Renewed Commitment to Kids
Earlier this year, Sky Ranch Foundation announced that, due to government budget cuts, the States were significantly reducing the type of care offered to kids in trouble. As a result, Sky Ranch for Boys, which had been the Foundation’s exclusive beneficiary since 1961, was closing. In the wake of this unfortunate development, the leaders of Sky Ranch Foundation rededicated themselves to finding new ways to help programs helping kids. As Foundation President Ralph Aguera puts it, “We want to do what we can to help make sure other outstanding programs don’t meet the same fate that befell Sky Ranch for Boys. These are tough times for everyone in this field. I believe there is enough care, concern and generosity among the people in the alcohol beverage industry that we will be able to continue making an important difference.”
Under the leadership of Grant Review Committee Chairman George McCarthy, the Foundation has examined nearly a dozen compelling requests for funding that have been received in just the past few months.
The first commitment made was for $75,000 in support for a surviving part of the former Sky Ranch program. Based in Sioux City, Iowa, what is now known as Sky Ranch Behavioral Services is staffed by experienced individuals who are available to the kids they help on a 24/7 basis. They work with kids who appear headed for serious trouble to try to solve their problems before they require out of home placement. For boys and girls who do wind up being sent away to a residential correctional program, the team works to reintegrate them back into the community, continue their education, find employment, resolve family conflicts and stay out of trouble. The program even has regular sessions with parents to try to improve parenting skills, and a reported 89% of involved parents are doing just that! Meanwhile, 34 young people have been helped by the program since direct assistance from Sky Ranch Foundation began in July 2011. Over 97% have remained in school or completed their education and are, as hoped, still living at home.
Sky Ranch Foundation will also make two grants to California-based programs helping kids with special needs. The grants, total $50,000 for the current year.
Pops Kids, based in Woodside, California, specializes in offering Conductive Training to empower children with motor challenges (such as brought on by Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Bifida, and Childhood Stroke) so that they can live their lives as independently as possible and participate in mainstream society to the fullest. Five wait-listed kids from low income families will be able to receive the special training thanks to the Sky Ranch Foundation grant.
The other California grant recipient is Pacific Lodge Boys Home of Woodland Hills, California. Pacific Lodge has been building productive lives for young men 13-18 for almost a century. They have progressively evolved into a comprehensive residential substance abuse and mental health treatment center facilitating the successful rehabilitation of youth who have experienced acute trauma, violence and abandonment from their families of origin.
Foundation Reorganizes to Lower Costs
According to Mr. Aguera, Sky Ranch Foundation is also making organizational changes to help it perform its new mission. “We have asked the professional money management team at Merrill Lynch to manage our process of grant application solicitation, review and funding to help assure thorough evaluation of all requests and careful distribution of all funds. They will work with our Grant Review Committee chaired by George McCarthy.”
Foundation members will continue to solicit funds for the Foundation from their companies and associates, to help grow the asset base.
“During the next few months we will all be working to make the smoothest possible transition and to put the Foundation on the soundest possible footing to continue our important work. I encourage all members and friends of the alcohol beverage industry who share our concern for young people to visit our web site at www.www.skyranchfoundation.org to learn more about our efforts and how to help!”