By: Ana Altchek, Follow South Jersey Contributing Writer
LUMBERTON, NJ — The Gleaneayre Equestrian Program (GEP) received a $3,000 grant from the Community Foundation of South Jersey (CFSJ) Covid-19 Response Fund recently. The grant came in response to the GEP seeking support from the organization due to economic impacts from the pandemic.
The GEP exists to provide an experienced-based learning environment for people in difficult situations, including children, families and military personnel. The hands-on program helps teach students to learn, grow, and heal through providing them with an organized outlet that enforces character, ethics and responsibility to connect with nature and wildlife.
During the pandemic, the equestrian program was suspended and students and horses missed out on formulating connections with each other. Even though the GEP team continued to maintain the facility and care for the horses, they didn’t have the bandwidth to cover all the responsibilities.Luckily with CFSJ’s grant, some of those growing costs will be mitigated.
CFSJ works with South Jersey philanthropists, local nonprofits, and neighbors to build capital, contribute assets, and create permanent endowments for impact in perpetuity. According to the Executive Director of CFSJ, Andy Fraizer, the organization knew they had an important role to fill after understanding the issues they faced as a result of the pandemic.
“We felt the need to assist so ultimately participant youth could develop character, learn ethics and responsibility, grow physically and emotionally, and discover themselves,” said CFSJ Executive Director Andy Fraizer.
By aligning donor interests and using the investment earnings on each of its endowed funds the CFSJ manages and deploys permanent charitable assets, and exercises collaborative leadership to create a more equitable region. Currently, CFSJ manages assets of more than $30 million. Alongside its fund holders, CFSJ has issued more than $10 million in nonprofit grants and scholarships.
Now that GEP receives financial support from the CFSJ, they will be able to address blacksmith costs, horse health and general wellness expenses, which can be particularly costly for older horses with greater needs. This support has broadened and deepened the Gleneayre Equestrian Program’s network.
Bill Rube, Executive Director at GEP, said that the CFSJ played an active role in helping the program get the support they needed, engaging in regular correspondence with them before, during, and after the grant process was complete.
“CFSJ has a great team. When the pandemic hit, they knew there would be growing needs throughout the community, and they stepped up to make a difference” Rube said.
The GEP plans to use the support more broadly to get back to their mission to focus on people that are unable to be fully served by mainstream resources and programs. Their students are usually a combination of children facing challenges at school and at home, families struggling with the demands of military life, and service members in need of support.
By housing a group of donated horses that are safe for interaction with children, GEP aims to help get through to a diverse group of children and young adults who are otherwise difficult to reach.
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