Resident-led groups get Wean grant funds

Neighborhood SUCCESS Grants, a program of The Raymond John Wean Foundation, awarded more than $30,000 to eight resident-led organizations in Mahoning County.

Several of the groups are previous grant recipients, while three are first-time grantees.

“The foundation has supported our efforts to improve property standards and promote the interests of the residents in our service area for over three years,” said Danielle Anderson, communications and programs director at the Northeast Homeowners and Concerned Citizens Association, Youngstown.

“With the $5,000 award, a portion of the funding will be utilized to implement two new gardens. The remaining portion will be used to purchase equipment and supplies to offer snow- and ice-removal services — an effort to extend the NHCCA Youth Employment Program into the winter months, and foster collaboration with local organizations, businesses and residents.”

A variety of projects, all centering on race equity and inclusion, received grants:

• Boulevard Park Block Watch — Boulevard Park Phase IV, to bring neighbors with diverse backgrounds together through community building activities that includes maintenance of the blueberry patch, landscaping and neighborhood gatherings;

• Chess is Life — Zulu boxing, mentoring, physical fitness and boxing as a strategy to support student success inside and outside the classroom;

• Dare to Dream Children’s Foundation — CultureConnect, assisting qualified households with obtaining electronic devices and gaining internet access;

• Detroit Pemberton Neighborhood Association — Pemberton Park Vacant Lot Beautification, a beautification project to build on improvements of a vacant lot adjacent to the park.

• Know Your Neighbor Block Watch — KYN: Expanding the Potential of our Youth-Benita Avenue Project, to expand the potential of local youth by providing quality hands-on training through helping senior citizens and disabled individuals with yard work and general exterior home maintenance;

• Lit Youngstown — Writers-in-Residence Poetry and Black History Tour, to host three weekend events featuring prominent regional writers and a local historian;

• Northeast Homeowners and Concerned Citizens Association — NHCCA Year-Around Neighborhood Beautification, a project designed to control litter, provide safety services and beautify green spaces in their area.

• Will RESPECT Inc. — From Beefin to Brotherhood Mentoring Project, to host a series of community forums to explore, discuss and seek to resolve longstanding conflicts among youth and young adults to reduce and eliminate the potential for violence within the community.

Funded projects align with previously identified resident priorities and center race equity and inclusion in their work, expand participation and leadership of residents, and build community, collaboration and connection among residents, the foundation stated. These grassroots community builders leverage resources that exist in their communities to improve the quality of life in their neighborhoods.

“Know Your Neighbor knows the value of collaboration that the Wean Foundation encourages. Youth, residents, supervisors, KYN members, city groups and various agencies are all important to the success of this project,” Joyce Davidson, a member of the organization, said.

“With history comes story, and through the Black History and Poetry Workshop, we aim to honor, celebrate and capture the voices of our community. Thanks to the Neighborhood SUCCESS grant, residents will become neighbors as they learn together and share stories with each other,” Katie Urs, development coordinator, Lit Youngstown, said.


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