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. The program lifts participants out of poverty and away from dependency on public assistance.

According to Chris Hertel, President of the local Board, the TLC grant initiative is a fitting celebration for the Foundation’s 20th year.

(left to right) Susy Battles and Chris Hertel, members of the Knox County Community Foundation Advisory Board; Salvation Army Captain Laura Lunnam; Salvation Army Advisory Board chairman, Joel Smith; Pathway of Hope Case Manager, Kelly Britt; and Rob LaRoy and Steve Gray, members of the Salvation Army Advisory Board.

“The first TLC grant was awarded in 2008 to Life After Meth and the second awarded in 2012 to Hope’s Voice,” said Hertel. “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.”

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. Just like the Foundation’s Community Good grants, donors to unrestricted endowments make the program possible.

According to Salvation Army Captain Laura Lunnam, Pathway of Hope was established to break the cycle of 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. 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.”

One qualifying characteristic of Pathway of Hope participants is that they have a child in their home under the age of 18 so that the shift to self-reliance is actively modeled for the children. “Knox County has a large population of people that rely on government assistance and help from area agencies and churches,” Lunnam added. “We see many generations of the same family come in for food together.”

Eligibility for participation includes having at least one child under the age of 18 and being motivated to take action toward self-sufficiency. 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.