Reprinted from PN January 2012

The PVA Education Foundation funds numerous projects that benefit and serve people with spinal-cord injury/disease, their families, and caregivers.

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I hope everyone had an enjoyable holiday season with family and friends. But, with the new year upon us, unfortunately it’s time to get back to the “ol’ grindstone!” 

In my March 2011 message, I focused on the PVA Research Foundation. I explained the grant process and the type of proposals that can be considered. In response, I received several letters asking why we seemed to never fund any educational categories. The simple answer is that we do fund educational proposals. However, this funding is implemented through the PVA Education and Training Foundation (ETF). So, I think it appropriate to center my message around the ETF this month in order to answer some of those questions.

The PVA ETF funds educational projects that benefit and serve people with spinal-cord injury/disease (SCI/D), their families, and caregivers. Like the Research Foundation, ETF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation. Through generous contributions from PVA chapters and other sponsors, the foundation is able to secure funds to provide grants for the five following categories, as noted on


-             Consumer and community education to improve health, independence and quality of life for individuals with SCI/D

-             Professional development and education to improve the knowledge and competencies of health professionals who serve the SCI/D community, including fellowship and traineeship programs

-             Research utilization and dissemination, which translates findings into practice

-             Assistive technology—development of teaching tools or pilot programs that demonstrate innovative approaches to the use of assistive devices

-             Conferences and symposia that provide education and collaboration opportunities for members of the SCI/D community


The ETF Board of Directors reviews the applications, then meets to decide which grants will be eligible for funding each year. Each board member is assigned a number of grants to review. A grading system assists in the final determination as to which applications will be funded for that year. Unfortunately, there are never enough funds, and some of the applications, while totally worthwhile, cannot be funded. It is my sincere hope, having made that statement, that PVA chapters and those in a position to make contributions will take note of this and make the conscious decision to add the PVA Education Foundation to their list of worthy causes.

This past year, 22 applications were reviewed by the PVA Education Foundation Board of Directors. Of those 22, we were able to fund only eight new grants for a total of $257,938. Grants were awarded in four of five categories: consumer, caregiver and community education; professional development and education; research utilization and dissemination; and conference and symposia. (For details of the grants funded in this cycle, see “Improving Life After SCI,” by Rachel Hoeft, August 2011.)

I hope this will shed some light on the inquiries I received. If you still have questions regarding the funding policies, categories, or institutions awarded, contact the PVA National Office for answers.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned we were entering a brand-new year. As is the custom, we all make resolutions and then struggle to make good on promises of practicing better health; being a kinder, gentler person; or putting away more money each month into a “rainy day fund.”

I have a challenge for you all. Let’s join together with a mutual resolution to find time to visit our vets in VA hospitals. While I may tend to slip and slide on the better health issue or maybe spend more money than I should, I vow to keep my resolve and make more of an effort to put into “practice what I preach!” I hope you accept my challenge and visit a hospitalized vet today


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