(JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla.) — A Florida-based charity announced Wednesday that it will cover the funding cut from scholarships for children of military members who died fighting in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars caused by sequestration.
ABC News reported Tuesday that scholarships were being cut by as much as $2,133.81 per recipient this year because of automatic budget cuts to the Department of Education included in the sequester legislation.
The Children of Fallen Patriots Foundation, a Jacksonville Beach organization that helps children of military members who perished while on active duty to finance their education, said it will use funding from private donations to cover the gap left by sequester cuts.
“We work with our children any way to find them all available funding and grants towards college,” Executive Director John Coogan told ABC News Wednesday.
Coogan said the organization dedicates every dollar of donations to identifying children of the fallen, advising them on how best to find grants and scholarships for higher education, and covering whatever costs are left over.
The foundation is nonpartisan, but Coogan said the announcement about sequestration triggered an increased sense of responsibility to help out in this respect.
“I think, generally speaking, it’s important for us to stay focused that the children of these fallen patriots aren’t affected by policy disagreements,” Coogan said.
The challenge for the organization is finding these children – be they infants or just reaching college age – so they can help. Coogan said the organization had already enrolled 1,800 children, but he estimated there were about 15,000 who had lost a parent in the line of duty.
“We’re really looking to increase the number of children that we’ve identified so that we can be sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing as an organization,” Coogan said.
In speaking Wednesday afternoon, Coogan said the group had already begun the process of reaching out to families of those Marines killed in a training exercise in Nevada on Tuesday.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Robert Pattern, EastIdahoNews.com
Stephen Collinson, CNN