Applications for $3 million worth of funding from the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance is now available.

The grants are awarded to organizations seeking to help veterans and their families.

“Through the generous contributions of all those interested in helping Texas veterans, we have been able to help (more than) 135,000 veterans and their families through 85 grantees dedicated to veteran support,” said Thomas Palladino, executive director of the commission, in a statement. “We are excited to receive new applications for funding and continue the mission of serving veterans and their families in Texas.”

For the past two grants cycles, Communities in Schools of Greater Central Texas received funding totaling more than $570,000, said Michael Dewees, director of development for the nonprofit that helps children in seven school districts across four counties who are struggling, as well as their families.

The veterans commission grant money goes specifically to pay for 10 site coordinators who work on eight campuses within the Killeen Independent School District, which have a heavy concentration of military-connected students. In one year, the nonprofit served more than 1,771 military dependent children.

Dewees said the site coordinators provide support, counseling, academic assistance

opportunities as well as group sessions with military students.

“Without that money, we would not have been able to have these ... professional staff members on campuses,” Dewees said.

In October, Communities in Schools received the Community Partnership Award for Distinguished Service to Texas Veterans from the commission, to signify exceptional administration of the funding.

Dewees said he is already planning to apply for this latest cycle of funding. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. Feb. 28.

Since 2009, the increase in applications has more than tripled, but funding sources have not kept pace with demand, said Cheri Smith, spokeswoman for the commission.

The Texas lottery scratch-off game, Veterans Cash, is the primary funding source for grants. From 2011 to 2012, the lottery game revenue decreased by $3.5 million, or about 40 percent, according to commission information. The fund also is supported through online donations at or when people specify a donation amount at the bottom of their vehicle registration form.

For more information about the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans’ Assistance and grant application materials, go to

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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