06 Jul Make It Greater Grant Awards Announced
We’re excited about the first-ever Make It Greater Grants announcement, which took place during Play on Plum on April 22nd.
In the Make It Greater Grants program, we put building and nurturing community front and center in our grantmaking. Our aim is to support the work happening in all areas of Reno County that strengthens social capital and community pride, building among community members a stronger sense of engagement and higher commitment to each other and the world around them. Studies show that higher levels of social capital are correlated with better health outcomes, higher educational achievement, and higher levels of civic engagement.
Make It Greater Grants help foster the spark and hope that keeps Reno County citizens healthy and happy, inspiring philanthropy, collaboration, and innovative leadership to strengthen our communities. We want to fund projects that experiment with new ways of addressing a community challenge and support projects in towns and neighborhoods in Reno County where a small grant can make a big difference.
This year’s eleven grant awards range from $750-$2,500, totaling over $17,000. Make It Greater Grants are made possible by the Fund for Hutchinson, our unrestricted community fund for the changing needs of Reno County and Hutchinson Community Foundation Donor Advised Fund holders who choose to partner with us on these exciting projects through the Foundation’s Giving Together program.
Congratulations to the 2017 Make It Greater Grant recipients:
At a family night in January, Boys & Girls Club staff polled members and their families about what they would do if they could improve any area of the Shadduck Park Playground. The most common ideas were replacing the basketball backboard and hoop, putting fresh sand in the sandbox, and repainting the benches and swing set. This grant will do just that, hoping that the playground will be more inviting to all Club and community members with a small facelift.
This grant will increase irrigable land at the Community Agricultural Site (CAS) by purchasing 40 irrigation units to provide irrigation to 105,000 square feet of community gardens. The units will be tested and adjusted by school-age students that participate in CAS as interns, and the resulting produce will be distributed free of cost to Women with Infants and Children (WIC) and Reno County Head Start/Early Head Start families.
In partnership with the City of Buhler, Buhler USD 313, and Sunshine Meadows Retirement Community, the Buhler Wellness Center is working to connect one side of town to the other with a designated walking path to encourage residents to walk for exercise and to events, stores, and schools. This grant will fund amenities & signage along the trail.
Central Christian School hosts its 6th annual Serve-A-Thon Day: Cougars Who Care, a day set aside for students in grades Pre-K to 12 to serve others in Reno County and gain an understanding of the value of touching lives. Students partnered with New Beginnings’ NOEL Lodge to provide 1,000 Morning Bags to meet the nutritional and physical needs of NOEL residents, helping them make it through the day when the shelter closes at 7am. This grant purchased items for students to make Morning Bags.
This first Arlington Community Work Day will focus on the Community Center and the adjoining playground and parking area to rehab and refresh equipment, repaint parking areas, deep clean facilities, and trim trees. This grant will purchase supplies needed to complete the projects. Through this Work Day, residents will support local businesses, engage multiple community groups, and together make the Community Center a useable, beautiful, and safe space for years to come.
As an extension of the City’s Drain Doodles program for storm water education, this project involves painting murals on select concrete surfaces within Avenue A Park to connect people to the environment, reflect our diverse community, and include an illustrated message to raise awareness about the importance of keeping the park and water clean. A local artist will be hired to design the murals, and youth and adult volunteer groups will paint them. Another piece of the project is to paint the park’s underpasses through artist-led workshops for graffiti artists to paint “street art” and serve as a legal location for graffiti artists to express themselves in the future.
In 2016, Crestview Bible Church installed a cycle repair station and bench on the corner of their property, which is very near the Northeast end of the trail on North Halstead in Hutchinson. To enhance and complete this rest area, the church plans to install a water fountain, as there is currently no access to water along the City’s trail system. With funding partnerships already established with the Vitality Team of Reno County and Friends of the Trail Fund, this grant makes up the difference to purchase and install the water fountain for people and dogs.
With the goal of reaching at-risk families who may not be aware of the resources in our community, Healthy Families is partnering with the Kansas Infant Death and SIDS Network and other local agencies to host two Community Baby Showers per year. They will provide short trainings on safe sleep, tobacco cessation, breastfeeding, and other newborn safety practices to ultimately reduce the number of infant deaths in Reno County. This award will allow them to purchase safe sleep incentives for parents to attend.
This project will host a 100-player chess tournament for students in Reno County elementary, middle, and high schools to help promote involvement in chess in the schools as a way to foster personal responsibility, analytical thinking, friendship, problem-solving, sportsmanship, and respect for individual differences. This award will fund marketing, prizes, facility rental, chess clocks, and a Tournament Director for the October 2017 event.
Sing Along Sundays will provide Reno County residents with the opportunity to come together on a regular basis to experience community building through a series of Sunday evening sing alongs at Stage 9, with the goal of increasing connection to community, self-expression, and appreciation of the arts. This grant will fund the musicians, promotions, and purchase of songbooks and licensing fees.
For several years now, neighbors south of Avenue A and east of Main in Hutchinson have been coming together for block parties and community improvement projects. To continue this momentum, residents are partnering with the new Community Resource Officers from the Hutchinson Police Department to offer resources for future events. With this grant, they will purchase a grill, propane tank, PA system, and projector to use at neighborhood gatherings and will be available for check-out by any community organizations in Hutchinson.