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Samantha Quigley, Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs
The Fisher House Foundation has announced the start of the 2009 Newman's Own Award competition, jointly sponsored by Newman's Own, the Fisher House Foundation and the Military Times Media Group.
The program awards grants to organizations with innovative solutions to improving quality of life for active-duty, reserve or National Guard families. Also acceptable are organizations with programs benefiting veterans' families, Jim Weiskopf, executive vice president of communications for the Fisher House Foundation, said.
Actor Paul Newman, who died in September, began his Newman's Own line of food products in 1982. All royalties and after-tax profits of the sales from the line have been donated to educational and charitable organizations.
In 1997, the World War II Navy veteran decided he wanted to take his line of products to the military. It was suggested that the proceeds from those sales at military facilities go back to the military, and the Fisher House Foundation was chosen to make that happen. Newman's Own salad dressing, pasta sauces and salsas are sold in military commissaries worldwide.
The Newman's Own Awards program awards grants totaling $75,000 to between 12 and 15 volunteer and nonprofit organizations each year, Weiskopf said.
"When Mr. Newman was alive, ... he wanted us to have one grand-prize winner. He wanted one to be designated above the rest," he said. "Because we're now getting $75,000 from [Newman's Own], the group with the highest score gets $15,000."
The remaining $60,000 in award money will be divided among the top-scoring entries by the judges as they see fit, Weiskopf said.
"Because we're not giving out a huge amount of money, ... we're more focused on small nonprofits," he said. "We're looking for where the infusion the money from us will mean the difference of whether or not they can do their program."
Organizations wishing to be considered for a Newman's Own Award can find more information and eligibility requirements on the Fisher House Foundation Web site. All proposals must be received by May 1.
Award recipients will be announced in early September.
In nine years, the program has recognized 114 organizations with grants totaling more than $500,000. This includes last year's top winner, Freedom Calls Foundation, which focuses on keeping families and deployed service members connected.