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Vega’s legacy lives on with Fund for Social Justice

Date: 4/18/2014

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE – The legacy of the late community organizer Carlos Vega is being continued by the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice, which announced its third annual grants to programs in the greater Holyoke area addressing injustice and poverty.

Carlos’ son, state Rep. Aaron Vega, presided over the announcement ceremony at the Carriage House of the Wistariahurst Museum on April 15.

The fund was started in 2010 as a way to honor Carlos on his 60th birthday. The former executive director of Nueva Esperanza died at age 61 in 2012.

Aaron said the small grant program was designed to help nonprofit groups with specific supports to projects. This year the board approved $4,320 in grants, having received requests totaling $6,685, Aaron said.

The fund is administered through the Community Foundation, Aaron explained and the board presents one fund-raising event annually.

This years grant’s recipients were:

• Homework House, which received a grant to support its math and science program for girls in grades fourth through sixth that is being undertaken in a collaboration with the Girl Scouts of the Pioneer Valley.

• Keganin No Senshi Aikido, which will use its grant money to pay for the rental fee at the War Memorial where it will present an aikido program designed to assist veterans with post traumatic stress disorder.

• The Care Center, which will use its grant to underwrite a whale watching field trip for its students.

• The South Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative’s grant will help pay for its monthly family fun nights.

• The annual festival known as La Noche de San Juan received a grant that will assist in underwriting the festival.

• Arise for Social Justice will use its grant to pay for a forum on global warming.

• The Community Education Project’s High School Equivalency Testing Program assessment test will be partially underwritten by its grant.

• The grant given to Womanshelter/Companeros will help making sure women and children who are entering the shelter have personal items they might have left behind at their homes.

• Nuestras Racies and its Natural Resource Committee received two grants. One will be used to buy T-shirts for a tree planting program, while other will help fund a new greenhouse program that will raise houseplants for sale.

Aaron said there are positions open on the board of directors and encouraged interested people to contact him at