Every nonprofit needs a cause—and the cause of the Police Officer Assistance Trust (POAT) is simple: Serve those who serve.
For the Miami-Dade area, police strive to keep the area happy and protected. However, the line of duty isn’t always safe; and tragedies can affect officers and their families. One such incident—the killing of a police officer in Detroit—set off a chain of events that would lead to the formation of POAT.
The death of the Detroit officer led his friend, William M. Packer, to create the 100 Club—in which he encouraged 100 friends and family to donate to a fund for the fallen officer. After an overwhelming success that allowed the officer’s widow to recover from the tragedy, the club grew, starting chapters all across the nation. Eventually, it evolved into the 200 Club, which became the first major donor for POAT.
Since its formation, the organization has been a positive presence in officers’ lives. In the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, POAT helped officers rebuild and dedicate more of their time to helping others in need. For injuries or for those that make the ultimate sacrifice, the nonprofit assists with counseling, medical, and funeral expenses.
The beauty of POAT is that it addresses a previously-unaddressed need. For officers going through difficult times, the lack of support can often be difficult, even with financial assistance. Having a community to both give extra and provide resources for the families of officers is imperative in mitigating hardship.
It’s a nonprofit that knows what it is. By keeping the organization local and centered around a single task, POAT has not lost sight of its mission or the families that it serves. As a result of its dedication, it has provided over $6 million to families in need through private and corporate donations, payroll donations, and fundraisers. Some events, including the recent Cops Ride For Kids, are intended to both generate funding and brings members of the community together, including those whose lives have been touched by POAT.
And it helps bridge a difficult gap—according to Miami-Dade Police Director and POAT President Juan Perez, many officers have trouble asking for help. Through the organization, officers always know that they have a support circle to turn to in times of hardship.
The Finker-Frenkel Family Foundation, in keeping with our mission of community engagement, is an ardent supporter of the Police Officer Assistance Trust. We’re proud to assist our Florida officers and support the work that they do in keeping the area safe. Visit poat.org for more information on how you can donate to this worthy organization.