MCDC awards grant to Bridges Foundation
Critical job training and related services facility gets a boost during pandemic crisis
Midlothian-based nonprofit Bridges Training Foundation announced it won a grant from the Midlothian Community Development Corporation. A major breakthrough during the pandemic, the grant will help Bridges in its struggle to remain open and serve the community.
In addition to adults with disabilities or special needs, Ellis County businesses rely on Bridges Training Foundation to help enhance their workforces in a way that’s diverse and inclusive. Yet, like many businesses, Bridges was facing a crisis during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 13, 2020, 67% of its service level and 50% of its staff had to be cut back.
“Our clients are already underserved, so completely shuttering and waiting things out was not an option,” said MeLissa Boler, Executive Director and CEO of Bridges. “We made the very difficult decision to close our Corporate / Workforce offices and consolidate operations to the Midlothian Resource Center location.” The foundation also participated in forgivable assistance programs while continuing to serve its clients. And while those measures certainly helped, the vastly underserved people counting on Bridges for support needed more.
That’s when Boler reached out to the Midlothian Community Development Corporation (MCDC). Its mission includes sales tax administration and funding maintenance and operating costs for projects that positively impact the quality of life for Midlothian citizens. “We were very familiar with MeLissa and the important work Bridges does,” said MCDC board member Alyn Nix. “When she let us know their challenge, we worked quickly to help fund a grant.”
“We’re beyond grateful for the grant,” said Boler. “With it, we’ll be able to continue serving our clients, not only during the pandemic, but well after it’s over.” In part, Bridges will use the grant to fund critical workspace needs for its caseworkers, including new workstations. Bridges caseworkers have long needed space better suited to their daily tasks as well as greater privacy due to the sensitive nature of their service to clients. “Without the grant, we most certainly faced a lapse in services and worse, lost opportunities for people who simply don’t get many chances in the first place.”
Founded in 2012 by MeLissa and Michael Boler, Bridges Training Foundation is a complete life center for individuals with disabilities or special needs, their families, and the greater community. Their mission is to elevate lives beyond limits and labels toward more independent living through education and encouragement — one person, one family, one community at a time. Bridges makes a lifetime provider commitment to each client, offering vocational exploration, developmental training in interpersonal skills, ﬁnancial literacy training, and more. Individuals served by Bridges make a difference in their own lives, which impacts the entire community in very tangible ways. In health care alone, for example, 27% to 37% of total health expenditures in the US are largely borne by the public sector (Medicaid and Medicare). By contrast, working Bridges clients drive down the health care burden—simply by being part of the productive workforce community. Learn more at BridgesTF.org or call (469) 672-6902.