Margaret Robinson, The Columbus Foundation
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Collaborative Program Helps Neighborhood Efforts Shine

Collaborative Program Helps Neighborhood Efforts Shine
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In 2007, the Neighborhood Partnership Grant (NPG) program was launched to assist neighborhood-based projects in low-and moderate-income areas in central Ohio. This innovative, collaborative concept brought together The Columbus Foundation’s Neighborhood Partnership Program Fund and United Way of Central Ohio’s (UWCO) Neighborhood Partnership Center.

For 2019, a total of $210,000 was awarded to 72 community building programs and projects through NPG. The Columbus Foundation, UWCO, and PNC Bank all provided funding to make the 2019 grants possible.

“The Columbus Foundation supports the Neighborhood Partnership Grant program because of the profound impact that can happen in a community when neighbors come together to address mutual concerns and to celebrate their common bonds,” said Matthew Martin, Community Research and Grants Management Officer.

One of the grant recipients from 2018 was South Central Commons Block Watch, a coalition of residents in the neighborhood that surrounds Columbus South High School, located near South Parsons Avenue and Thurman Avenue. The $2,200 grant was awarded to assist the Bulldog Band Boosters, a group formed by the Block Watch, to provide meals to band members and support upkeep of the South High School marching band’s uniforms and instruments.

Staci McWhirter, one of three project coordinators for the Bulldog Band Boosters, said before the group was formed, many members of the band and drill team did not have dinner supplied before their Friday night performances. The band director and drill team coach were paying for uniforms to be cleaned out of their own pockets. And, in addition, some band items were desperately in need of replacement, including drum sticks that, according to McWhirter, were “more tape than wood” after years of use.

“This grant was important to us because the students are a part of our community,” said McWhirter. “We can’t truly be an inclusive community if we don’t make the effort to know everyone that makes it special. There was little community presence at the school before this, and we’re excited to see the relationship continue to evolve.”

The block watch continues to grow, and serves as a way to bring the community together.

“What started as a collection of concerned citizens has grown to be an active group of friends. We are now a 501(c)(3), maintain a community garden that is free and open to any neighbor, started Bulldog Band Boosters, and schedule trash clean-up events,” McWhirter said.

Read more stories like this in the latest issue of NEXUS, The Columbus Foundation’s newsletter.

Better TogetherThe Columbus Foundation‘s crowdfunding platform, rallies individuals to work together to bring out the best in our community! Through Better Together, you can show love to our local nonprofits by donating toward their time-sensitive projects and programs. With new projects going up every month, you’re sure to see a cause that’s close to your heart, so be sure to stop in often to check them out!

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