A look at one of the four military- and veteran-focused charities that received $37,500 as part of this year’s Newman’s Own Awards. For more on the award program and on other award recipients, including the $50,000 winner, click here.

Charity/program: The Hampton Roads Community Development Initiative, part of the Armed Services Arts Partnership in Alexandria, Virginia.

What it does: The program connects veterans and military families with a variety of arts programs in their community, from ceramics to writing and performing drama and comedy. This also helps them connect with their communities, and promotes expression, skill development and camaraderie through classes, workshops and performances.

What the money will do: The $37,500 will help cover costs of the variety of programs, which are geared toward providing participants with transferable life skills, such as a renewed sense of purpose, in addition to performance-based training.

In brief: The nonprofit grew from founder and executive director Sam Pressler’s work as a student at Virginia’s College of William and Mary, where he started a comedy class and a writing group for veterans.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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