Wean Foundation awards over $100,000 in Neighborhood SUCCESS, leadership grants

The Raymond John Wean Foundation has awarded 30 grants totaling almost $110,000 under its Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program, a five-year-old effort that has been focused to cultivate leaders and engage residents of Warren and Youngstown in grass-roots projects.

Examples of this year’s recipients and award amounts include the Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee, to promote Hispanic cultural awareness in Youngstown City Schools, $1,500; Central City Gardeners, for the Central City Unity Garden and bike racks in Warren, $4,529; and St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Red Door Pantry in Youngstown, to offset expenses and to encourage participants’ involvement in its leadership committee, $2,400.

The original program, now designated the Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program, has two distinct, yet overlapping components: “Neighborhood SUCCESS 1.0: Engaging Residents” and “Neighborhood SUCCESS 2.0: Cultivating Leaders.” The components concentrate on Wean’s five issue priorities –early childhood, educational opportunity, economic opportunity, community revitalization and public and civic sector leadership – and on projects with an intentional focus on encouraging, cultivating and supporting resident engagement and leadership development.

Under Neighborhood SUCCESS 1.0, a maximum of 30 grants between $500 and $5,000 will be made at the beginning of each year.  A Resident Council, made up of residents from Warren and Youngstown, guides the Foundation’s funding of the projects.

The program was designed to support grassroots groups in small community development projects that improve the quality of life in Warren and Youngstown. As a way to connect residents to each other and resources, grantees will participate in a year-long series of convenings, check-ins and a shared learning event at the end of the year.

“We found that folks thrived on the opportunity to come together, network and learn from one another,” said Jennifer E. Roller, program officer for urban affairs and neighborhoods. “We took what we learned worked best about the program and added a more hands-on approach.”

Neighborhood SUCCESS 1.0 and 2.0 aim to include resident participation in decision-making that affects their neighborhoods and communities. Neighborhood SUCCESS 2.0 is designed to build fundamental leadership skills through focused learning, including workshops, technical assistance and convenings.

“Both cities have a lot to offer, starting with the residents and their knowledge of how to get things done,” said Roller. “Residents have shown through the projects we have funded that they know how to attract other resources, establish relationships and get really creative in instances where they have had to make do.”

“They are also able to tap into public resources, such as obtaining services from the city councils and the parks departments,” said Roller. More information may be found at http://www.rjweanfdn.org/NeighborhoodSuccess.aspx.

The Raymond John Wean Foundation 2013 Grant Awards – Neighborhood SUCCESS and Leadership Program include:

• Bennington Block Watch, Youngstown, Bennington Block Watch Community Garden, $1,515.

• Boulevard Park Block Watch, Youngstown, Beautiful Boulevards of Rush and Euclid, $4,180.

• Central City Gardeners, Warren, Central City Unity Garden, $4,529.

• Earth Angel Farm, Warren. Education and Job Skills Training, $4,280.

• Fifth Avenue Community Church, Youngstown. Freedom from Addiction, $5,000.

• Gregg’s Gardens, Warren. Gregg’s Garden-Garden District, $5,000.
• Hispanic Heritage Planning Committee, Youngstown. Hispanic Cultural Awareness, $1,500.

• Idora Neighborhood Association, Youngstown. Glenwood/Warren Gateway Project, $5,000.

• Lakewood Community, Youngstown. YEAST (Youth Elders and Adults Serving Together) $2,000.

• Oak Hill Collaborative, Inc., Youngstown. Business Incubator, $5,000.

• Precious Ones Family Resource Center, Youngstown. Proceed to Lead Leadership and Wellness Training, $2,148.

• Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, Youngstown. Summer Bridge Literacy Program, $3,550.

• Pride Youngstown. Fifth Annual Gay Pride Festival, $3,840.

• Project Linus, Warren. Quilts from the Heart, $5,000.

• Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association, Youngstown. Strengthening Our Roots, $3,362.

• South Side Community Garden, Youngstown. Year 2/3 Plan, $2,944.

• Southside Ministries Inc., Youngstown. Summer Educational Enrichment Program, $3,050.

• Spotlight Performing Arts Studio, Youngstown. Community Enrichment Project, $4,392.

• St. John’s Episcopal Church’s Red Door Pantry, Youngstown. Food Pantry, $2,400.

• St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warren. 2013 Bicycle Rodeo, $2,705.

• Stop One Place Help is Available Inc., Warren. Direct Assistance to Residents, $4,500.

• T.N.R. of Warren, Inc. Southeast Warren Cat Blitz, $5,000.

• The Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past, Youngstown. Sojourn to the Past, $5,000.

• The Youngstown Playhouse. Glenwood Neighbors Mural Initiative, $5,000.

• Warren Interfaith Community Action Committee. Warren Interfaith Park and Southeast Community, $1,000.

• Warren City Schools – Jefferson PK-2 Pod. Jefferson Reaching for the Stars, $5,000.

• West Side Community Center, Youngstown. Science Fair 2013, $4,382.

• Westside Citizens Coalition, Youngstown. Oakwood Gardens, $4,171.

• Youngstown City Schools – East High School. East High School Panthers Garden Club, $3,400.

• Youngstown City Schools – Youngstown After School Alliance. YAA Service Learning Projects, $809.

About The Raymond John Wean Foundation – Raymond John Wean, after having achieved success in the flat-rolled steel processing industry, in 1949 created the Foundation that bears his name in Warren. Since then, The Raymond John Wean Foundation has made more than $100 million in grants to a broad variety of non-profit organizations. The Wean Foundation has evolved from a small, board-managed organization with informal grantmaking procedures to a strategic, professionally staffed Foundation. Gordon B. Wean, a third generation of the Wean family, serves as chairman. For more information, visit http://www.rjweanfdn.org.

© 2013 Metro Monthly. All rights reserved.

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