Speech by Fo-Ching Lu, President of Sheng-Yen Lu Foundation
Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue, WA – As True Buddha School (TBS) disciples, we are blessed to have a kind guru who puts a large emphasis on the importance of practicing compassion, encouraging us all to take part in charity work in our daily lives. The SYL Foundation is extremely fortunate to have the support of the worldwide TBS community. The Foundation is deeply grateful to its volunteers and its donors from around the world. With all of your support, we are able to diligently work towards our mission of advancing quality health and education for all.
This year, we have carefully selected seven organizations to partner with to better accomplish our mission. The SYL Foundation will be distributing a total of $134,000.00 US dollars to seven partner grantees, three of which are Education grants and four of which are Healthcare grants.
After a rigorous application process, a team of Foundation volunteers made up of educators and medical professionals visited each and every potential grantee organization. During each visit, we reached a thorough understanding of the organization’s capabilities and made sure its mission aligned with the Foundation’s mission. Most importantly, we sought to ensure that every grant dollar would be used towards improving the health and education of those who need it most. Furthermore, we looked for organizations with dedicated leadership: People who are truly committed to help and lift up the socially and economically disadvantaged population. Those leaders are here with us today and you will be able to meet them as I introduce each partner grantee.
The first Education Grant goes to 826 Seattle, a nonprofit writing center that helps students from ages 6 – 18 with writing skills, after school homework, and English language learning – all FREE of charge. As readers of the Founder’s books, I believe we can all agree that writing is an essential component to quality education. We hereby present this grant award to Kirk Clothier, a board member of 826 Seattle and invite Mr. Clothier to please come forward.
The second Education Grant goes to First Place School’s new Griffin Early Learning Center, a preschool serving children impacted by poverty and homelessness. There are many nonprofits that serve the poor and homeless in the Seattle area, but First Place School is the only organization that provides a rigorous school for kids in addition to case management services for parents. Here to accept the grant award is Robyn Govan, the Deputy Executive Director of First Place School.
The third Education Grant goes to Powerful Schools to support its “School Readiness Project.” Powerful Schools partners with local public schools through literacy, arts, afterschool, and leadership programs to help kids succeed both in and out of school. I welcome Tre Maxie, the Executive Director of Powerful Schools to come forward and accept the grant award.
Next, we have four healthcare grants to present. All the partner grantees reach out and offer medical and dental care to those who otherwise would be without. They never turn away patients who have no money to pay. And they are constantly mindful of providing culturally competent care.
Our first Healthcare grant goes to HealthPoint, a Federally Qualified Health Center that operates 12 medical and dental clinics in King County. HealthPoint aims to improve people’s health by delivering quality health care services, breaking down barriers and providing access to all. The grant award will be accepted by Lisa Yohalem, the Director of Planning and Development at HealthPoint.
Our second Healthcare grant goes to the International Community Health Services (or ICHS), a FQHC that is dedicated to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health care to Asian Pacific Islanders and other underserved communities. I welcome Hiroshi Nakano, the Board President of ICHS here to accept the grant award.
The third Healthcare grant goes to the Jubilee Reach Center. Among its many community-focused programs, Jubilee Reach operates a medical clinic and a mobile dental van program to serve Lake Hills, the most socially and economically diverse neighborhood in Bellevue. Jim Blakely, the Associate Executive Director of Jubilee is here to accept the grant award.
The last Healthcare grant goes to Neighborcare Health, a Federally Qualified Health Center that operates 16 medical, dental, and school-based clinics. Neighborcare is the largest provider of primary medical and dental care in Seattle for the uninsured and most vulnerable people in our community. We present the grant award to Joseph Sparacio, Development Director for Neighborcare.
Thank you to the grantees for all the good work that you do. We look forward to learning from you through this partnership, and together, we can ensure that quality health and education is within reach for all.
Thank you again to all those who support SYL Foundation. Continue to stay involved and together we can become a powerful voice for compassion and philanthropy.