The nominations are over, the votes have been tallied and $100,000 has been awarded! Harrah’s Resort Southern California is so excited to finally announce the top three charities that won big in our 2016 All-in 4 Change grant program.
But before we reveal the winners, we would like to take a moment to thank all of our community members who participated, voted and helped ensure amazing organizations throughout Southern California received much needed support. We are pleased to say that our second annual All-in 4 Change program surpassed all of our expectations with 82 nominations received and 20,112 votes from people like you!
Now without any further ado we would like to announce our THIRD PLACE winner and recipient of a $10,000 grant: TERI Inc.
TERI, Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in San Marcos that provides cutting-edge support and education to children and adults who have been diagnosed with Autism, developmental disabilities and/or learning disabilities. TERI currently serves approximately 600 children and adults through their wide array of services such as specialized schools for children and residential programs for adults. All of TERI’s programs focus on helping those it cares for lead rich and fulfilling lives while still providing them with the necessary safety and security.
CEO and Founder of TERI, Inc. Cheryl Kilmer told us that she will be using the grant money to help support and build the organization’s communications program.
“Communication is key and central to all of the students we serve,” said Kilmer. “They need extra support in order to learn and communicate effectively, and that makes all the difference in their lives.”
Kilmer and her team at TERI, Inc. are also working on building their new 20-acre “Campus of Life” facility that will house all their programs and services in one central San Marcos location.
Moving on to our SECOND PLACE winner and recipient of the $20,000 grant: K9 Guardians
K9 Guardians is a nonprofit organization based in Fallbrook, California that trains German Shepherd puppies as service dogs to help veterans in need. Founder and President Leisa Tilley-Grajek and her team of volunteers breed, raise, train and pair their pups with a disabled veteran.
“Service dogs are proven to be able to help and assist with disabled veterans and their needs, whether it’s PTSD, mobility issues, or someone suffering from traumatic brain injury,” said Tilley-Grajek. “We found that these service dogs do save lives, they’re amazing animals.”
With the United States Department of Veterans Affairs estimating that 22 veterans commit suicide each day, there is surely a need for these loving companions and life partners. The K9 Guardians program is doing all it can to help with the significant backlog of veterans in need of service animals.
K9 Guardians says the grant money will go directly to providing training, veterinary care and food for the animals, while helping them improve their facility. In addition, the funds will help to provide the new puppy parents with all the necessary equipment like a crate, food bowls, harness, leashes, collars and cape identifying them as a service dog.
Finally, we are couldn’t be more excited to announce our FIRST PLACE winner and recipient of the grand prize $40,000 grant: Our Nicholas Foundation
The Our Nicholas Foundation is another nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping the local Autism community thrive. Based out of Temecula, California this 100-percent volunteer run organization provides support to the Autism community by putting together play dates and workshops for children, adults and the families of those affected by Autism. The Our Nicholas Foundation is even responsible for organizing Southern California’s largest Autism-based soccer league.
Due to the large need for work and living opportunities in the Autism community, the Our Nicholas Foundation is currently working to start up their newest program, “Shredders.” Founder Mark Anselmo hopes that this shredding company will help men and women with Autism find their place in the workforce.
In addition, Anselmo says that they are looking to build a place called “Hope Ranch,” which will allow those in the Autism community to work and live off the land while also providing a place for them to host summer camps.
The Our Nicholas Foundation is planning to use their grant to continue to fund a long list of current programs, as well as support their dreams of building Hope Ranch.
But those aren’t the only winners! You can see a complete list of all 12 grant winners by clicking HERE.
Congratulations to all of our winners big and small!