Five Duluth nonprofits are among the recipients of a Big Ten donation.
As part of sanctions imposed on Penn State, the school’s share of Big Ten bowl revenues from 2012-13 through 2015-16 are designated for charitable donations. With the goal of supporting local youth, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler provided an equal share of $229,368 bowl revenue to the University’s five campuses. "We are thrilled that the University of Minnesota system asked each campus to choose recipients for the funds,” says Andrea Schokker, Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. “The money can make a big difference to children here in Duluth."
UMD is distributing its $45,870 to the following:
$10,000 to Life House; $10,000 to Damiano Center Kids Café; $10,000 to Mentor Duluth; $10,000 to First Witness Child Advocacy Center; and $5,870 to Myers-Wilkens Community School Collaborative.
The nonprofits’ leaders are reacting to the donations, which took them by surprise:
Life House development director, Shannon Hoffman: “There are so many different layers to homeless youth when they come into Life House. This gift helps us provide basic needs to more than 600 kids. Once these needs are met, we can provide other services like mental health, housing, and education.”
Damiano Center Kids Café program coordinator, Oscar Lopez: “We do so much with so little. This gift is actually 1/5 of our budget. It enables us to increase the stability of the program and ensure families that we will be here providing healthy food to at-risk kids so that they have an equal chance for success.”
Mentor Duluth director, Callie Ronstrom: “Our program supports children by increasing the number of positive and caring adults in their lives. This gift provides us with resources to support over 300 children that are currently matched with mentors and ensure that we are able to find great mentors for the 270 children that are still waiting.”
First Witness Child Advocacy Center director, Beth Olson: “We’ll use this donation for community education and outreach, something we didn’t have the funding to support. We can talk with kids, parents, and professionals about how to recognize and report abuse. We’re the only organization in town that’s able to provide that information and we know this can make a difference.”
The total of Penn State’s forfeited share this year is $2.752 million.
Story by Lori C. Melton