BallenIsles Donates $290,000 to Local Charities

Feb 2015 - Palm Beach Post Image

Palm Beach Gardens Division Chief of Training Shon Broedell (right) shows Palm Beach Gardens High School magnet coordinator, John Walker, the fire simulator made possible by the Foundation.

By Bill DiPaolo – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Programs to help wounded veterans, children with autism, the hungry and local high school students received about $290,000 Wednesday from BallenIsles Charities Foundation.

“These small charities fly under the radar. They do marvelous work,” said charities president Fred Corrado, a resident of BallenIsles, a gated community of about 1,600 homes off Northlake Boulevard.

An $11,000 fire simulator donated to the Palm Beach Gardens Fire Department will reduce training costs, said Division Chief of Training Shon Broedell. The baggage-crate-sized device simulates the sounds, smells and smoke from electrical, wood, carpet and other kinds of fire.

“We will still use live fire training, but not as often,” said Broedell, adding that the device will be used by neighboring departments.

A $10,000 grant to Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County will help pay for construction academy students at Seminole Ridge High School in Loxahatchee to build a house on K Street in Lake Worth. Habitat has also built homes in West Palm Beach, Greenacres and Jupiter.

“We build the home from floor to roof in four sections at the school. Then we load the rooms on a flat bed and take them to the site, where the sections are put together,” said Bernie Godek, executive director of the agency.

The $5,000 donated to Palm Beach Gardens High will be used to send students on a two-day tour of Florida colleges.

“It gives them a chance to get their admissions in order and get ahead of the game,” said John Walker, magnet coordinator for the school.

Residents of BallenIsles raised the money through a series of social events, said Corrado, a 10-year resident of the community and former vice chairman and chief financial officer of Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co.

Individual donations to the nonprofit charity varied from $25,000 to about $1,500. Counting this year’s total, the charity has given away about $865,000 since it started four years ago giving donations to programs such as Adopt-A-Family, Grandma’s Place and Paws 4 Liberty.

Members of the BallenIsles grants committee — all volunteers — checked the backgrounds of the applicants before making the awards to the 30 organizations. They also audit the program after the money is spent, said Corrado.

Money must be used for the purpose specified by the organization. For example, money donated to the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County must be used to buy 25 beds for families who have obtained permanent housing.

“We want to make sure they do what they said would,” Corrado said.

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Some of the recipients:

  • Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches – Clothes, supplies and hygiene items for 200 children
  • Alzheimier’s Community Care – One month of family nurse consultant care
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County – After-school STEM program
  • Caridad Center – Dental care for 60 children
  • Clinics Can Help – Buy 12 adaptive transit strollers, used in place of a wheelchair
  • Feed the Hungry – Provide 500 families with meats and fresh vegetables
  • First Tee of the Palm Beaches – Nine after-school golf sessions for 200 students
  • Grandma’s Place – 650 hours of care and educational support for children in crisis
  • Paws 4 Liberty – Funds to adopt, train and care for a dog for veterans with disabilities
  • Renaissance Learning Academy – Exercise machines for students with Autism Spectrum disorder
  • West Palm Beach Waterfront Warriors – Wounded veterans visit Palm Beach County for 4 days