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community sustaining fund 2017 grant awards

Congratulations to these groups (scroll for more about their grant awards)

The Bridge Music Project
Edible Forest Gardens
Strengthening Sanctuary
Common Cause Property Alliance
Women of Color Leadership Movement

The Community Sustaining Fund has been a Co-op round up for many years, providing opportunity for shoppers to directly participate in funding progressive and community groups. The award selections are based on a bi-annual granting process, and awards are given to support a variety of needs, some for specific projects, basic start-up funds, or to stock a group’s office to further their outreach efforts. Some the groups have grown from volunteer organizations to providing employment, and many have provided social justice influence in our town and beyond.

Often recipients are in need for more than is available, and the funds available are heavily dependent upon our Co-op shoppers. One of their Leadership Group members, Desdra Dawning, writes, “As you can see, very community, heart and environmentally-oriented groups come to the Community Sustaining Fund for help with their projects. And every time, as you stand at the Co-op register ready to pay for your purchases, you say “Round Up for the Community Sustaining Fund,” you are adding to the possibility of their requests being met in full. Thank you for your help in bringing their dreams to reality!”

Below are the Fall 2017 awards and where the funds will allocated

The Bridge Music Project Granted $600
Beginning with an idea to help adolescents in foster care learn how to communicate through music, the Bridge Music Project started working with Community Youth Services. Soon they expanded, became a nonprofit, and are now involving at-risk professionals, homeless case monitors, juvenile court, and other youth supporting organizations. Their workshops begin with creating a community contract of behavior expectations for safety and security, then move into team building, accountability activities, and music education. As they develop these concepts, they work in collaboration to write music together. Next is a recording at a professional studio and then a concert, free for the community. The grant of $600 will pay for their performances in their final concert.

Edible Forest Gardens Granted $500
Working in accordance with the concepts of regenerative organic agriculture, Edible Forest Gardens aims to restore soil and help reduce carbon in the atmosphere through climate smart farming techniques, such as perennial permaculture gardening, or terracing to make the most of rainfall. Working with neighborhood gardens, GRuB, The Evergreen State College interns, and other community groups, Edible Forest Gardens hopes to bring more of this kind of agriculture to our area. To provide opportunity to expand services to more local community gardens, they are in need of a laser level, a tool for laying out swales for contouring gardens using water conservation techniques. The grant of $500 will go toward purchase of a laser level.

Strengthening Sanctuary. Granted $500
Following the December 2016 Olympia City Council’s resolution to declare Olympia a sanctuary city (here is an article by a local newsletter Works In Progress, September 2017) Strengthening Sanctuary, was formed. Funded by local faith groups to “…come together to advocate for and support the need of the vibrant immigrant communities of Thurston, Mason, and Lewis counties.” To support immigrants with information of how to navigate difficult situations, Know Your Rights seminars were created, and printouts were designed, including cards to be used as a legal document. The grant of $500 will go toward office supplies and printing of materials.

Common Cause Property Alliance Granted $450
Downtown Olympia has many buildings that are empty. Are global investors watching, considering to bring corporate development to our town? A new organization of local businesses has formed to create a crowd sourced equity platform, where community members and residents of Washington state can collectively invest in the purchase of buildings to be rented, or sold, at reasonable prices to local businesses. This will promote sustainability by keeping downtown locally owned. To obtain funds in this way, a request for a crowd sourcing exemption must be filed. The grant of $450 will go toward their filing fees.

Women of Color in Leadership Movement Granted $200
Recently receiving their 501c3 nonprofit status, the Women of Color in Leadership Movement creates a safe space and support for women of color with groups, workshops, training sessions, festivals, and guest speaker engagements. A few years ago, they were part of a student group at The Evergreen State College, where they brought in Joy De Gruy, a dynamic speaker on the subject of historical trauma. She also authored Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome. Wanting to bring Joy back for a speaking event in Olympia (including workshops, panel discussions, surveys, and other outreach), they have requested funds to support the event, and will also be partnering with GRuB, Power, and the LGBTQ community.  The Community Sustaining Fund grant of $200 will go toward the event.

Thank you to our Co-op shoppers who have participated in keeping the Community Sustaining Fund alive in Olympia!