DETROIT (WWJ) – A $50,000 grant is being made to Focus: HOPE in honor of its late co-founder Eleanor Josaitis. This is one of 50 charities receiving grants as part of Art Van Furniture’s annual Million Dollar Charity challenge.

Company founder and chairman Art Van Elsender was a long-time friend of Josaitis.

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“She to me is like Mother Theresa.  I mean, Eleanor was just unbelievable,” said Van Elsender. “Both she and (co-founder) Father Cunningham over the years were unbelievable,” he said.

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Van Elsender said the need today among charities is as big as ever been since the challenge began in 2009.

“I had no idea when we started this initially, and as a result of being involved in it I’ve learned more and more about it,” he said. “The need continues to grow and its terrible. On the other hand, I’m delighted, really, to be able to have started this and to see people respond to it.”

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The company is making challenge grants totaling $1 million to 50 local and statewide charities.