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 re-imagined to cultivate leaders as well as 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 — 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 the foundation’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, said Jennifer E. Roller, program officer for urban affairs and neighborhoods.
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 grass roots 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, Roller said.
They also are able to tap into public resources such as city councils and parks departments. More information may be found at www.rjweanfdn.org/NeighborhoodSuccess.aspx, Roller said.