MARTINSBURG, WV – Gov. Jim Justice joined Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs Executive Director Jill Upson for a ceremony at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center today, to present nearly a quarter of a million dollars in grant funding to 13 organizations across Berkeley and Jefferson counties 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.
“It’s always a great day when we’re able to do things like awarding these grants, and this BRIDGE program that we’re talking about today is a big deal,” Gov. Justice said. “For those that are less fortunate, it gives them opportunities in a lot of ways.”
Individual grants worth up to $25,000 were awarded to 13 local community organizations, nonprofits, and colleges located within Berkeley and Jefferson counties.
The Arc of the Eastern Panhandle
Pathway’s Program vocational training for Disabled Adults
Get On board! Job Readiness Training
Innovative Community Solutions
IT Fundamentals For Veterans
Greater Recovery and Community Empowerment (GRaCE)
Youth Life Coaches/Recovery Coach Academy
Horses With Hearts
Equine-Assisted Leadership Development Program
Stars That Shine
Girls United P.E.R.I.O.D.
Children’s Home Society of West Virginia
Healthy Grandfamilies Program in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties
Breast & Body Health Inc.
Voices Against Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence Safe House Project
Martinsburg High School Baseball Boosters
P.O. Faulkner Field Score Board Project
Jefferson County Parks & Recreation
Let’s Play Mobile Recreation – STEAMER Program
Shepherd University Center for Appalachian Studies
Voices from the Misty Mountains, Reclaiming Our Story
Tony M. Music and Arts Foundation
Tony M. After School Arts Program
“When I walked in the door, our state was dead flat bankrupt. But over time, we’ve gotten better and better – we’ve created surpluses, we have monies, and then we are able to do the kind of stuff that we’re talking about today,” Gov. Justice said. “With these grants, we’re able to give our citizens that may be less fortunate and may be falling through the cracks a real chance to fulfill their potential.”
The BRIDGE pilot program is also active in Kanawha County. A ceremony was held at the State Capitol in Charleston on Monday to announce and present another $247,000 in grants to 11 organizations in that area.
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.