MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nine philanthropic organizations from across the country will receive charitable grants from Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK as the winners of the company’s “A Community Thrives” social impact program.
Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK launched "A Community Thrives" (ACT) this year to focus on funding great ideas in its communities across the country. Hundreds of individuals and groups submitted ideas via video explaining how their project would have a positive impact on their community. The winners offer creative solutions to addressing their communities needs and interests.
"Our purpose at Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK is built on strengthening and empowering the communities we serve. ‘A Community Thrives’ feeds that mission by enabling people in our communities to surface the issues important to them that a grant from this program can impact in meaningful way,” said Andy Yost, chief marketing officer of Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK.
“We are proud to be able to empower people to make a positive impact in their community,” said Bob Dickey, chief executive officer of Gannett | USA TODAY NETWORK. “The participation from our local communities was overwhelming in its first year, and we look forward to growing this program to touch many more people in the years to come.”
The program received hundreds of thousands of votes for each of its three categories: Health and Wellness, Education, and Arts and Culture. Three winners were chosen from each category, with the first-place winners receiving grants of $100,000, and each runner-up receiving grants of $50,000. The winners chosen are as follows:
Arts & Culture:
Promise in Brevard Creative Arts Center - $100,000
- Promise in Brevard is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to enriching the lives of adults with disabilities by providing an amazing and safe place for them to live, work and enjoy a fulfilling life with their friends. The grant will support the buildout of a Creative Arts Center which will serve as a resident and community classroom and a gallery that will provide employment opportunities to residents and revenue to sustain the program.
Garden Artist-in-Residence Program - $50,000
- Bookworm Gardens, a non-profit in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, brings children’s books to life with its interactive outdoor gardens. It is ready to write its next chapter with the Bookworm Gardens Artists-in-Residence Program, which will allow local artists to create new works on-site and explore the relationship between art, literature, nature, and culture.
Art at the Crossroads - $50,000
- Art at the Crossroads is a new community-based initiative in collaboration with the Poughkeepsie Alliance to create small scale design and arts projects that improve the lives of those who conceive of, make, and use them. The grant will support the development of Mural Square Project creating a public space with a farmer’s market and community programming for the Poughkeepsie community.
Kopernik Science Park - $100,000
- The Junior League of Binghamton plans to expand the Kopernik Observatory and Science Center by creating an outdoor science themed park, equipped with a playground and interactive STEM educational experiences. The goal of this expansion is to “energize STEM education programs for children [of all ages], sparking their imagination and interest in pursuing local STEM careers.”
Rise Above - $50,000
- Valiant Cross Academy (VCA), an all-male school in Montgomery, AL, aims to provide young men from underserved communities with “hope, opportunity, and belief in one’s self that they can ‘Rise Above’ anything.” Many students are raised without positive role models, so VCA works to create a bright future with hope and opportunity for one young man at a time. The grant will support the renovation of a space at Troy University at Montgomery to serve as a high school space beginning in 2018-2019.
The Floating Classroom – New Jersey - $50,000
- The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is a non-profit aiming to improve New Jersey’s largest lake. With the grant and other funds, “the Foundation will purchase a 40-foot, custom-built, covered pontoon as [its] Floating Classroom,” which will provide classes educating the community about watershed protection and fresh water ecology.
Health & Wellness:
IU Dental Students Building Better Smiles - $100,000
- Students from Indiana University dental school provide free dental services to patients in need. The grant will provide students with funds for dental work, allowing patients to build better smiles and self-esteem for job interviews.
- The Hendersonville, TN, playground “will be an all-inclusive playground where children of ALL abilities can play.” This uniquely-designed ADA compliant space will foster barrier-free social interactions, raise awareness, reduce prejudices, and increase physical activity to the special needs population who is often underserved.
- Atwater Beach park will serve as a diverse gathering place for the entire community and will activate a strategic location along the Detroit Riverfront. With a great deal of support from the community, Atwater Beach park will link the area to other waterfront developments transforming the way people use the Detroit RiverWalk while providing a vital gathering place where social boundaries are softened.
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