Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 6628 MSFocus Summer 2016 applicant asked for, and received, a slab roller for her pottery studio. Derrick said, “Who’s going to give a grant to help get art supplies? Expression through art can be therapeutic. To provide something like that is beneficial to the MS community.” Art and hobby supplies became another mainstay of the program. Over the years, these have ranged from a reclining easel for an artist who could no longer stand, to an adaptive bicycle for a cycling enthusiast. In its second year, the newly renamed Brighter Tomorrow Grant tripled in size, serving the needs of 60 people across the country. The program has grown steadily ever since.Last year,the BrighterTomorrow Grant received nearly 600 applications, of which 109 applications were approved, awarding nearly $52,000 to people with MS. After an application is received, a committee of MSF staff members reads through every application and identifies what is possible to award within the boundaries of the grant’s available resources. The grant is needs-based, so the applicants who have no possible way to afford the item are prioritized. The applicant may be on a fixed income or unable to budget for the requested item. After reviewing hundreds of applications, the committee selects the recipients. Then Program Coordinator Vicki works to find quality items at the best prices and have them shipped to recipients’ homes. While some of the requests can seem mundane, the committee members recognize that the need for tires, a mattress, furniture, or a major appliance is anything but mundane to the person making the request. One of the early requests that touched committee members’ hearts was from a woman who had become homebound because of her MS progression. Her wish was a simple one: new drapes. “She enjoyed watching the sunshine and trees from her window each day,” explained Kasey Minnis, Director of Operations and Communications for the MSF. “But her enjoyment was hampered whenever she noticed the shabby state of her old curtains. Her excitement and gratitude over such a minor grant really taught us that even the smallest gift can make a large difference in someone’s outlook.” It is one of the best times of the year around the MSF when we award the grant winners. The unique nature of the program makes it one of our most popular. Vicki continued, “As soon as it’s over, we start getting calls for the next year.” Vicki sums up by saying, “That is the essence of the Brighter Tomorrow Grant – to make your days better, to make your days brighter.” To qualify, a person must be 18 years of age or older and diagnosed with MS, or the parent of a minor diagnosed with MS, and be a permanent U.S. resident. They must not have any other means of fulfilling the need they request. Applicants are asked to provide basic personal and financial information, and to write an essay, one page or less, describing how the grant would help them have A Brighter Tomorrow. To apply for a Brighter Tomorrow Grant, see our application on the following pages, call 888-MSFocus (673-6287) or apply online at msfocus.org/Brighter-Tomorrow-Grant.aspx. Applications are accepted from June 1 to Sept. 1 of each year.