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2018-06-15 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


June 15, 2018  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

New local grant program for special needs community

Tikvah Suncoast Inc. a milliondollar plus Jewish-inspired nonprofit, began issuing its first grants early this month and is seeking more grant applications from individuals and families to help enhance the quality of life for the special needs population throughout Tampa Bay and West Central Florida.

The organization, founded by Beatrice Mehl, has a mission to “Open Doors to Special Lives,” and has recently partnered with the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties in administering the grant program.

Ron Yogman, chair of Tikvah Suncoast, said Mehl, who died in 2011 at age 95, was a resident of St. Petersburg for more than half a century who “was very keen on anything Jewish and special needs,” Yogman said.

“She got to know a child with special needs and she adopted those with special needs as a cause,” Yogman said, explaining that the child she got to know years ago was Yogman’s daughter Kandice, who is now 39 and has autism at a high functioning level. He said Mehl had no children but became concerned as to what happens to those with special needs when their parents die or can no longer care for them.

Tikvah Suncoast was founded in 2008 with the mission to better the lives of individuals with special needs and varying exceptionalities in our greater community, including but not limited to those living with autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, Down Syndrome, and physical challenges.

The inaugural grant program was jointly announced “with high hopes and great expectations of making a difference,” by Yogman, Chief Financial Officer Jay Kauffman, and board member Adele Morris.

Those interested in receiving a grant are asked to submit an application by visiting and state in a single-page letter the nature, urgency, perceived benefit(s), timing, and reasonable cost estimate for the request. Priority will be given to those applications seeking support for opportunities that will further enhance connection with the applicant’s Jewish identity and experience.

All future grants will be flexible as to the amount and duration, subject to availability of funds and the continuing generosity of the community at large. Ages of potential recipients will range from young children to mature adults and the elderly.

The need to aid those with special needs is high, according to the recent demographics study of the Jewish community in Pinellas and Pasco counties. The study found that 18 percent of Jewish children up to age 17 are in need of programs for children with learning disabilities or other special needs, ranking our community with the greatest percentage of those with such needs when compared to 30 other Jewish communities in the nation.

Both applications for grants and tax-deductible donations may be submitted to: Tikvah Suncoast, Inc., 5368 First Ave. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33710, and should include all relevant contact information.

For more information, contact Yogman at (727) 321-4673.

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