Mendon resident Ellen Smith is the founder of Keeping Our Promise. Photo provided by Ellen Smith

Keeping Our Promise Inc. of Mendon, NY is a grant recipient of A Community Thrives, a grantmaking and crowd-funding program from the USA TODAY NETWORK and a part of the Gannett Foundation.

Keeping Our Promise will receive a $50,000 Community Thrives grant to help cover housing costs for newly arrived Afghan families arriving in the Rochester, NY region who served as interpreters and support personnel for U.S. interests in Afghanistan.

A Community Thrives supports non-profit organizations with projects focused on community building and has helped to contribute more than $17 million since 2017. This year, A Community Thrives engaged participants in 45 states.

Over 700 organizations participated in this year’s challenge to become eligible for more than $2,000,000 in grants from USA TODAY NETWORK and the Gannett Foundation.

Keeping Our Promise was named one of 16 winners in this year’s National Project Grants to help resettle Afghan families who worked as interpreters and support personnel for the US military, US State Dept., and USAID funded programs in Afghanistan. The A Community Thrives grant will support housing costs for these new Americans.

“We are proud of the work Keeping Our Promise has done to enhance services for wartime allies in the Rochester, NY community. At Gannett, we take pride in supporting organizations that make a positive impact in their communities. Through A Community Thrives, we lend financial support to that purpose as well as rally the whole community to champion a good and meaningful cause,” said CEO and Chairman Mike Reed.

Keeping Our Promise Inc., founded by Mendon resident Ellen Smith in 2014, helps with visa advocacy for interpreters and support personnel from Afghanistan and Iraq. The not-for-profit organization offers resettlement services including a family’s first two months of rent, food, a phone, a refurbished laptop computer, and a modest car grant after a family achieves 100 hours of community service.  The organization had committed to help resettle 50 Afghan ally families in 2022, but had reached their goal by September. This grant will allow the resettlement of an additional five to eight families through December.

©2023 Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel

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