TIMES UNION REPORTS – Cardinal Services has been notified that they have been awarded an AWS Foundation Vantage Grant for $984,000.
Earlier this year, Cardinal received a $75,000 planning grant from AWS Foundation. This led to a six-month planning period during which Cardinal worked with consultants gathering data and analyzing organizational challenges and opportunities. The goal being to achieve transformational change at Cardinal that positively impacts the community at large, according to a news release from Cardinal Services. Cardinal is one of only five organizations to be awarded a Vantage Grant. AWS Foundation CEO Patti Hays said, “The Vantage Grant will allow them to provide services or processes in their organizations that might otherwise have been years away from their existing resources.” She said direct nonprofit service providers rarely have the time, personnel or budgets to look beyond their daily operational demands.
Cardinal Services Executive Director Matt Boren said the Vantage funds will allow Cardinal to accomplish several goals that, until now, were only imagined. Among these, Boren said to look for the addition of a behavioral consultant and music therapist, Structured Family Caregiving services, and perhaps the most highly anticipated: a 24-hour call center which will give on-duty staff, persons served and families the support they need when they need it. Industry leaders tout call centers as a key to quality services, according to the release.
Boren said that for years, Cardinal has reimagined what day services programs could look like if they had the funding. Vantage funds will allow current classrooms to be recreated as club rooms, each stocked with the items necessary to provide a unique experience designed to connect individuals with people in their community who share similar interests and passions. Club room themes will rotate and to date include culinary arts, technology, performing arts, fitness, gardening, photography and more.
To enhance employment opportunities for people with disabilities, Cardinal will also be adding an Opportunity Lab. Cardinal will partner with area businesses to offer training and certification for good jobs in the community. Boren explained that the lab will be a space between sheltered work and community employment, and will aid employers in addressing their workforce challenges.
Boren concluded by thanking AWS Foundation and pointing out that the grant comes as Cardinal is working toward renovating their facility at 504 North Bay Drive, Warsaw, making the timing perfect for re-envisioning and building for the future.