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Grateful recipients of Rise's new Advancing Lives Fund use gifts for a wide range of needs

Guests at the 2014 Celebrate Rise Fundraising Gala held last October not only enjoyed a fun and festive evening, they also seemed to enjoy generously donating to Rise’s new Advancing Lives Fund. They helped raise more than $20,000. 

In its first few months, more than a dozen people served by Rise have benefited from these special gifts which are to be used to meet needs that aren’t covered by other funding sources. 

Individual gifts so far have ranged from $75 to $500 for a wide range of items, such as:

* Wheelchair ramp for home
* Communication software
* Car repairs
* Tools for use at school for automotive repair training
* Computer and internet access
* DynaVox communication equipment for work
* Lock box for medication
* First month’s rent and security deposit for new housing
* One-month bus pass
* College textbook
* Haircut and job interview clothes

One of the first recipients of Advancing Lives Funds is Miranda Siedschlag who started at Anoka-Ramsey Community College in January. Her goal is to complete general studies and then transfer to a four-year college to major in marine biology because she wants to help rescue dolphins.  

Rise’s Mental Health & Housing Practitioner Holly Brabeck works with Miranda and helped her apply for Advancing Lives Fund monies to purchase textbooks for her college courses as well as a bus pass. 

Miranda is excited to be back in school and says she believes a college degree is the ticket to a better life.

Martin Tipton received $500 to help purchase tools for his automotive technician courses at St. Cloud Technical and Community College. He plans to graduate in May 2016 with an associate of applied science degree and then earn his master’s certification. Martin hopes to work in a car dealership or on his own. Housing Support Specialist Paul Kuhlmann assisted him in applying for Advancing Lives Funds.

“It means everything to me to get these funds because these tools are the key to my future and I simply couldn’t afford them,” said Martin. “School is my Number 1 priority now and I’m getting this degree for my kids and to be able to move forward. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is to me. Thank you.”

Advancing Lives Funds are:
    * Available for a one-time need that help move a person toward greater self-sufficiency (not ongoing bills)
    * Limited to a maximum $500 per person per year
    * Issued on a first-come, first-served basis    
    * Paid directly to the vendor, not the individual

To be eligible to apply for Rise’s Advancing Lives Funds, you need to:
    * Be served in a Rise program
    * Have explored other funding options without success
    * Work with your Rise program manager to apply for funds

If you would like to contribute to the Advancing Lives Fund, please:
    * Visit our website at http://rise.org/46/give.html, or
    * Contact Advancement Director Noel McCormick at 763-783-2832;  email: nmccormick@rise.org

Photo: Miranda Siedschlag is using her Advancing Lives Fund monies to purchase college textbooks and a bus pass.

This article appears in the March 2015 issue of the Rise Reporter.