Foundation Focuses Grant on Community-Wide Problem

The Salvation Army’s Pathway of Hope Program has been awarded a $40,000 TLC (Target Lasting Change) grant from the Knox County Community Foundation. Recipient TLC projects must strategically address a pressing community need and aim to make a significant and sustained, positive impact among the population being served and/or the broader community. The Pathway of Hope Program lifts participants out of poverty and away from dependency on public assistance.

According to Salvation Army Captain Laura Lunnam, Pathway of Hope was established to break the cycle of generational poverty.  “Too often poverty can be something a family has always lived in, or because of unforeseen circumstances, the family can be thrust into poverty without warning. We see many generations of the same family come in for food together. Many are living paycheck to paycheck with no source of emergency funding, so we want to help families establish self-sufficiency, so they can be better prepared if troubles come.”

The Pathway of Hope program is a national program provided by the Salvation Army. Participants join the program and receive help to navigate challenges toward a better future. To get there, a Salvation Army caseworker works with participants to design a plan around individual goals, needs, and strengths. Participants receive help to create a plan and then access needed services to attain personal and family goals leading to their independence and self-sufficiency.

Eligibility for participation includes having at least one child under the age of 18 and being motivated to take action toward self-sufficiency, so that the shift to self-reliance is actively modeled for the children. Program participants normally come from community referrals and families who have routinely requested assistance from The Salvation Army. “The well-established Food Pantry and Emergency Assistance Program that The Salvation Army has conducted for years provide great opportunities to engage persons in need and to make them aware of the program and its potential impact on their families,” said Lunnam.

“We believe long term community outcomes from this program would result in a reduction in homelessness, a reduction in bad debt/charity care among providers of goods and services, an increase in word of mouth among successful participants to encourage others, increased school attendance among participants’ children, and increased pro-social community participation among program participants, and an increase in employment and education levels among participants and their children,” Lunnam said.

According to Chris Hertel, President of the local Knox County Community Foundation Board, the TLC grant initiative is a fitting celebration for the Foundation’s 20th year. “What makes this grant so meaningful is we are able to award it during our 20th anniversary year and target those dollars to dramatically change the lives of those living in poverty.”

Donors to unrestricted endowments established with the Community Foundation make the TLC grant program possible. The first TLC grant was awarded in 2008 to Life After Meth, a program that helps  incarcerated addicts recover and re-enter the community, and the second in 2012 to Hope’s Voice, a program that works with those affected by domestic and sexual violence.