The University of Hartford's Best Buddies chapter won a $15,000 grant from the Newman's Own Foundation and was presented a check during the semi-finals of the America East Basketball Tournament on the University campus on Sunday, March 7. Best Buddies places individuals will intellectual and developmental disabilities in one-on-one friendships with University of Hartford students. The $15,000 was the second place award in the Newman's Own Foundation Campus Community Service Challenge which was launched specially during the America East Tournament.
Judges honored Best Buddies for its involvement with the Farmington Valley Transition Academy (FVTA), a program that brings 19 young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to the University of Hartford campus everyday to learn and practice skills that will help them lead independent lives. The campus chapter also hosts monthly group activities that draw as many as 90 college students to interact with their buddies from the FVTA.
The Newman's Own Foundation launched the first-ever Campus Community Service Challenge to highlight and foster social good on the nine America East Conference campuses and in surrounding communities. One student group from each of the America East's nine member schools competed on behalf of its affiliated nonprofit for the top grant of $25,000. In total, $100,000 was awarded to the nominated nonprofits.
"We thought bringing this challenge to America East Conference campuses would be a good way to seed future leadership with these ideals," said Bob Forrester, president of Newman's Own Foundation. Forrester also is a generous supporter, regent, and alumnus of the University of Hartford. "The responses from the universities have demonstrated that the cornerstone for philanthropy is already solidly in place at these institutions. In fact, these students represent the next generation of leadership."