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Casper nonprofit seeks community help to win $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 5:33 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Two Wyoming nonprofits submitted their causes to the State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant program with the hopes of receiving $25,000 to continue serving their communities.

Four thousand submissions were received in February through State Farm Neighborhood Assist, a crowd-sourced philanthropic program that empowers communities to identify issues in their neighborhoods. The State Farm Review Committee selected the top 200 finalists, of which 41 states are represented.

Adults with a valid email address can vote for their favorite organization or cause to win the grant funding. Out of the 200 current causes available to choose from, 100 will receive funding.

Project Kenny was founded to assist active and former military personnel, who have sustained injuries from, or suffered through trauma during military service. The nonprofit helps to train and certify service dogs and connect them with veterans. Since 2017, they have paired over 30 dogs with veterans.

“We’re really excited, and I do believe that Project Kenny has a chance we’ve really rallied the troops, and Carol said just last week we have a 50/50 chance because there’s 200 in the last pool and 100 [grants] will be given,” said State Farm Agent Megan Spence.

Project Kenny currently trains six dogs a year, but they have a waiting list of over 70 veterans. If they win the funding, the organization would add five more dogs a year to the training rotation. The amount would cover the cost of food, veterinary services, training, and the opportunity to purchase the first round of dog supplies for each veteran to set up their home for the dog. A training rotation ensures each dog is trained in multiple environments.

The nonprofit also offers certification courses for veterans who want their current pet to serve as an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) or a certified service animal. They provide free training virtually or in-person to help the veteran accomplish this goal. With additional funding, they hope to help ease the costs of travel for service members who cannot afford to get to the Casper location.

Every day, there is an average of 22 deaths to veteran suicide, Project Kenny is working to lower this number with the support and companionship of a service dog.

“After five years I still get emotional that my son Bobby was a Green Beret decorated served in Afghanistan and Iraq and he committed suicide due to PTS and through that I decided I wanted to start training dogs for veterans with post-traumatic stress,” said Project Kenny Lead Dog Trainer Carol Salveson.

Adults over 18 can vote up to ten times a day through the State Farm Neighborhood Assist webpage. Voting will close Friday, May 6. The 100 winning causes will be announced on June 7.

For additional information about Project Kenny visit their State Farm page or the Project Kenny website.

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