The newly formed Bray Cares Foundation gave out its first grant awards last week, doling out $20,500. The foundation was created earlier this year as a way for Bray Real Estate to help address housing-related needs in the Grand Valley. Six local organizations were awarded checks between $2,000 and $5,000 on Nov. 14. The grant winners were:

American Red Cross
Home Fire Financial Assistance program
Grand Valley Catholic Outreach
Stop Eviction Rental Assistance program
Habitat for Humanity of Mesa County
Energy star appliances for home-builds
HomewardBound of the Grand Valley for preparing chronically homeless adults for housing
The Joseph Center GAP program to assist homeless families
and Karis Inc./The House: Karis Apartment Permanent for supportive housing for youth.

There were 13 applicants for grants. Upon creating Bray Cares, the organization partnered with the Western Colorado Community Foundation to manage the endowed donor-advised fund. Western Colorado Community Foundation manages more than 265 charitable funds totaling $80 million in assets and awards more than $3.4 million in grants and scholarships annually in several counties. Bray Real Estate CEO Robert Bray said he hopes to see the endowment grow and give out more money to causes like this. “We hope to expand on funds. We’re trying to make a difference where we can,” he said. Prior to establishing the foundation, Bray Real Estate already donated $30,000 to $40,000 per year to the community and had many staff volunteer around town. Still, Bray said it’s been rewarding to help reach organizations that assist those less fortunate and help them keep a roof over their head or put a roof over their head. “That was real meaningful for me,” he said.

Next year’s application process for grants will likely start in August, Bray said. He hopes to award next year’s funds around the Thanksgiving holiday. “You don’t have to look too far to be thankful for what you have,” he said.

Article by Joe Vaccarelli.