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January 17, 2012

IDVA Veterans Cash grant helps to deliver ‘freedom beneath the waves’ for disabled Illinois veterans
Funding gives injured veterans access to life-changing adaptive scuba diving program

CHICAGO – Since 2006, the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) has awarded nearly $10 million to help Illinois nonprofits deliver supportive programs to local veterans. One of those organizations is Downers Grove-based Diveheart, which received a $75,000 grant in the fourth-quarter last year (FY 11) to help disabled veterans overcome often debilitating physical barriers through weightlessness afforded by snorkeling and scuba diving.

“Win or lose, people who play the Illinois Lottery’s Veterans Cash scratch-off game are helping our state’s veterans,” said IDVA Director Erica Borggren. “Diveheart is among a host of Illinois-based nonprofits that are committed to serving those who have served.

Diveheart’s unique program truly makes a difference for veterans suffering from paralysis, traumatic brain injury and amputations.”

“The Veterans Cash grant has been a blessing for Diveheart,” said Founder Jim Elliott. “The funding helps my team deliver life-changing physical & psychological therapeutic experiences as well as recreation to Illinois’ disabled veteran community.”

Championed by now-Governor Pat Quinn in 2006, Veterans Cash has funded programs for veterans throughout Illinois. All proceeds from ticket sales are deposited into the Illinois Veterans Assistance Fund, making it the first Illinois Lottery ticket for which 100 percent of the net proceeds are dedicated to support Illinois veterans.

On a quarterly basis, IDVA’s Veterans Cash Grant Committee reviews applications and awards grants to groups that help veterans address PTSD, homelessness, health insurance costs, long-term care and disability benefits. To date, more than 160 organizations have shared nearly $10 million in funding.

To apply for a grant, please download an application at the Veterans Cash website.

For more information about IDVA and its programs, please visit the agency’s homepage.



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