Nonprofits across the country can apply now to qualify for a share of $2 million awarded by A Community Thrives, a grantmaking and crowdfunding program that supports community-building organizations.
The program is sponsored by the Gannett Foundation and USA TODAY NETWORK, the parent company of American-Statesman and seven other Texas newspapers.
For the entire month of June, nonprofit groups can apply to the 2022 campaign for A Community Thrives. But to qualify for the grants, they must raise matching funds from the public. You can participate in the fundraising portion of the challenge, which runs from July 18 to Aug. 12.
Texas recipient in El Paso
Last year’s recipients include food pantries and after-school programs, to name a few. Past recipients have used A Community Thrives as a way to build community support for their ideas and to get funding to get their ideas off the ground.
In Texas, the El Paso-based community-building program Ciudad Nueva last year received $50,000, which helped increase its expansion by 10%. Abby Carl-Klassen, who works in partnerships and development at the organization, said the grant helped it with outreach and in reconnecting with the community after the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted its operations.
“During that time, we launched learning pods to serve our students who were most vulnerable and needed that space for the online schooling,” Carl-Klassen said. “We were wanting to just really reconnect with students that maybe we'd lost contact with or connect with new students in the community.”
Other past winners include:
CARES of Farmington Hills in Michigan received a $50,000 grant last year that helped reorganize its food pantry into a self-serve grocery-style pantry that provided people with a more caring and dignified experience.
In 2017, the organization bought a former church building and renovated it to expand pantry operations. Todd Lipa, the organization's executive director, said it fixed everything from the roof to the floor in its free family pantry with the help of grants from Gannett and others.
“We've gone from about 400 families that we feed to almost 600 families because people feel that they're given respect and dignity when they come through a place like we're offering,” Lipa said.
Eras Senior Network is a nonprofit in Wisconsin that supports older adults, adults with disabilities, and family caregivers. It received $25,000 last year that it has used for expanding volunteer recruitment and clientele. Development Director Heather Uzowulu said it also used part of the grant to buy a new vehicle to deliver food stock boxes to older adults in Milwaukee’s Harambee neighborhood.
“This is a portion of the community that we're really trying to focus on,” Uzowulu said. “We know it's been underserved for decades, and we're really grateful for the support that we have been given to be able to better serve older adults, specifically in the Harambee neighborhood.”
Julie Duhon is the co-founder of Tandem Community Birth Center and Postpartum House, an Indiana nonprofit that aims to improve perinatal outcomes by increasing options for care by providing midwives in a birth center set to open this year. Duhon said the nonprofit hopes to open a facility called Postpartum House next year to provide professional support and doulas in the months after birth.
“It's really important for families coming from diverse backgrounds with diverse needs and experiences, to be able to find a provider that meets their needs and kind of feels like a good match or fit for their family,” Duhon said.
Their $50,000 Community Thrives grant allowed the organization to confidently sign a lease for a new birth center. Duhon and co-founder Haddie Katz recently walked through the new building, making a checklist of things to do before it opens.
“We'd be like, 'We've got to do this, don't forget we need a sign for the bathroom door' and we have a little checklist of items,” Duhon said. “We're so close. It was just really fun. It was really satisfying to know that we can do this. We're really going to make it a reality.”
This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: A Community Thrives: Nonprofits apply for support with public's help