County coalition has funds for anti-tobacco programs
MOUNT HOLLY - A Burlington County-based coalition responsible for distributing some of the county's share of the money won from the tobacco industry in 1998 has $20,000 to give to groups that would like to run anti-tobacco programs.
The Burlington County Coalition Against Tobacco is accepting proposals for its mini-grant program until Nov. 12. The coalition is a 32-member panel representing various public and private agencies that have a stake in community health.
The grant program is geared toward funding anti-tobacco activities at the community level. Members of the coalition are hoping groups such as athletic associations, church groups and after-school activities groups apply for the grants.
"We really do want to get the word out,'' said Carol Tarr, the coalition's coordinator.
Although the funding is only for tobacco-control programs, participation from groups whose main goal isn't tobacco control could be a great way to spread the anti-tobacco message, Tarr said.
Proposals should meet the coalition's goal of "preventing or reducing environmental tobacco smoke,'' or keeping young people from starting the habit and encouraging adults to quit.
"We are making a great focus on youth, although we do work in other areas too,'' Tarr said.
The grant applications should say specifically what the group will be doing and how much money it needs. Grants will be reviewed by the coalition on an individual basis.
The coalition is funded by part of the county's share of the money that was paid to governments by the tobacco industry following the landmark 1998 litigation. The coalition decided earlier this month to double the amount of funding allocated to its mini-grant program, from $10,000 to $20,000, Tarr said.
One of the more successful initiatives the coalition funded during its last round of grants was a smoking survey conducted by Amity House, a Mount Holly-based substance abuse center. The survey provided the coalition with data that backed up its belief that restaurants should be smoke-free.
"That was a very worthwhile project,'' Tarr said.