AT&T spreads holiday cheer with donations to two Lakeland nonprofits

Christmas came early for Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and the Peace River Center.

Santa made a special delivery, by way of AT&T, to a pair of Lakeland nonprofits.

On Friday morning, the telecommunications company presented $10,000 checks to Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and the Peace River Center to help them continue serving those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year has seen AT&T announce several charitable contributions aimed at helping the nonprofits supporting Floridians impacted by the pandemic. This round of donations came about thanks Matt Mucci, regional director of External Affairs for AT&T, drawing the company’s attention to the work these organizations are doing in Polk County.

“COVID-19 has hit everyone hard, especially our not-for-profits,” Mucci said. “Providing some assistance in the areas of medications and mental health counseling for these two pillar organizations in Polk County is something AT&T was willing to do without hesitation.”

Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine provides free healthcare to the working uninsured in Polk County. The Peace River Center provides mental health and substance abuse services. Like many nonprofits, they too have faced challenges this year.

LVIM has been dealing with a significant cut to its pharmacy program’s grant funding, but the infusion from AT&T will help offset the loss so LVIM can continue providing life-saving medications to those in need.

“This year has been challenging to say the least, but it is contributions like these from companies like AT&T who believe in the power philanthropy that have helped LVIM keep our doors open and our patients out of the hospitals at a time when hospital beds are at a premium,” LVIM President and CEO Alice Koehler said. “LVIM stands ready to serve this community and steward AT&T’s generosity to make the biggest impact possible.”

Meanwhile, the transition to telehealth and PPE costs for staff have taken a toll on Peace River Center’s operational budget, but the AT&T donation will help the center purchase laptops for outpatient staff who continue working remotely to provide therapy, medication management and more to thousands of individuals in the community.

“These challenging times have engaged us to look for more innovative ways to serve our clients. We are so proud of our compassionate, dedicated staff, some who are still working on their own personal technology devices, and personal cell phones to provide care,” said Ileana Kniss, director of development and community relations at Peace River Center.

AT&T’s charitable arm has been active throughout 2020. It recently sent $100,000 the Urban League of Broward County and Urban League of Greater Miami, and donated $70,000 to Volunteer Florida’s Hurricane Sally relief efforts before that.

Friday didn’t mark its first charitable effort in Lakeland, either. In May, the company donated $25,000 to help Lakeland Regional Health secure PPE for frontline workers.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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