Twelve nonprofits serving Gregg, Nacogdoches, Rusk, Smith, and Upshur counties were awarded grants totaling $100,000 from the T.J. and LaVerne Plunkett Foundation held at East Texas Communities Foundation in Tyler, Texas.

 “The Plunkett Foundation has a generous history of supporting East Texas charities,” said Kyle Penney, President of East Texas Communities Foundation. “We are honored to continue their work making grants to worthy nonprofits serving our neighbors in need.”

Rusk County nonprofit, Boys and Girls Club of Rusk County, received funding to assist with a new summer program aimed at helping students avoid losing ground academically during summer break. 

“This grant could not have come at a better time,” said Peggy McAlister, Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Rusk County. “Low income youth lose more than two months in reading achievement,” said McAlister.  “Summer learning losses can stack up from year to year causing kids to get further and further behind. We will use funding from the Plunkett Foundation grant to implement Summer Brain Gain, a summer reading program with a new book presented each week, along with supporting activities that bring the book to life.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Rusk County provides safe facilities and enriching programs for all youth to help them develop the qualities needed to become responsible citizens. Last year, the Boys and Girls Club of Rusk County served approximately 400 students.

T.J. and LaVerne Plunkett Foundation grant recipients for 2021 are:

Rusk County

  • Boys and Girls Club of Rusk County: implementation of summer Brain Gain
  • Christian Women’s Job Corps of Rusk County: general operating support
  • Sonshine Lighthouse Ministries: GED Onsite tutoring, smoking and vaping cessation program and general operating support
  • Keep Henderson Beautiful: add safety features to the playground at Lake Forest Park

Gregg County

  • Texas Shakespeare Festival Foundation: Texas Shakespeare Festival Summer Season
  • Family Promise of Longview: rent & utility assistance for families
  • Salvation Army of Longview: for the Commodities closet and Food Pantry

Upshur County

  • Presbyterian Camps at Gilmont: respite for caregivers of families with developmental disabilities

Nacogdoches County

  • Boys & Girls Club of Deep East Texas: creation of the Torch Club
  • Christian Women’s Job Corps of Nacogdoches County: general operating support

Smith County

  • East Texas Food Bank: general operating support
  • Habitat for Humanity of Smith County: assist with critical repairs for residence in Rusk County