The Trenton Historic Development Collaborative, in partnership with I Am Trenton Community Foundation and Isles, has awarded $30,000 in grants to 13 community projects for the spring funding cycle. The grants support grassroots community development projects in the neighborhood bordered by West State Street, Willow Street, Hermitage Avenue, and Bellevue and Rutherford Avenues.
Projects ranging from a summer camp run by Urban Promise to vacant lot cleanups organized by the Bellevue Area Civic Association to young filmmaker Ronnie Patman’s efforts to document the positive aspects of her neighborhood. Projects will run until September. Awards range from $250 to $5,000.
The small grants program was established in 2014 by the Trenton Historic Development Collaborative, a coalition of stakeholders convened by the Shiloh Community Development Corporation in 2006 to revitalize their neighborhood through a resident-driven plan. Recognizing that small, grassroots groups do significant work but lack access to traditional funding sources, the program was established with support from Isles, Inc. through New Jersey’s Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit Program as part of implementing the neighborhood plan.
To set up the program, Isles partnered with the I Am Trenton Community Foundation. I Am Trenton was established in 2007 to make Trenton even better through community engagement, building pride in the city, and community-focused giving.
Grantees will receive their awards at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 13th, at 6 p.m. in the Serenity Garden at the corner of Bellevue Avenue and Prospect Street. The Serenity Garden was one of the first projects supported under the small grants program.
“The Serenity Garden is a labor of love for all of us who have felt pain in our hearts due to violence,” said Amini Sababu, who oversaw the first grant. “The small grants program is helping us to make it a true community asset. I’m very happy that we will start the spring round here.”
The sprint 2015 grant recipients are:
A Better Way: Community First – To support a training program geared toward those who have been previously incarcerated, giving them in-demand skills such as running lift trucks and landscaping while improving problem properties in the THDC footprint.
Amini Sababu: Summer Fun at the Serenity Garden – To support outreach for summer programming in the Serenity Garden, a place of healing and memory dedicated to victims of violence.
Bellevue Area Civic Association: Clean & Safe Neighborhoods – To engage neighborhood residents to keep and maintain a safe and clean environment within the Bellevue Area Civic Association footprint.
GEMS Youth Development Program: Youth Programs – To continue an arts and academic program that uplifts and builds cognitive, socio-emotional and physical development through stepping, dancing, and mentoring for both boys and girls.
Jennifer Shaw: Know Thyself – To empower girls between the ages of 11 and 16 from the THDC neighborhood with a focus on self-worth and self-respect.
Jonathan Gordon: Swings – To install three swings in vacant lots using reclaimed wood from the “Trenton Makes” bridge.
Nutrition Obesity Weight Management: NOW Program for Kids – To create a safe haven in which kids can learn about nutrition, while also providing space for physical activity in a gym-like setting.
Prospect Street Gardeners: Brighter Prospects – To support making the formerly-derelict Prospect Street Garden a focal point for community engagement this summer.
Ronnie Patman: Altering Visions – To create and launch a short film that will capture scenes from the THDC neighborhood in a variety of settings, and to showcase people, including their passions, concerns and ideas.
Urban Mental Health Alliance: Clear Hearts & Minds Conference – To support an event focused on positive mental health practices and behaviors, including recognizing and understanding mental health challenges, with tips on advocacy.
Urban Promise: Camp Promise and Camp Truth Summer Camps – To support the participation of THDC neighborhood kids in summer programs focused on academic achievement, life management and leadership training; as well as launching the StreetLeader program that provides jobs for youth in the THDC neighborhood.
Vocational and Service Training (VAST): GED with City History Instruction and Civic Service – To support VAST’s GED training, which combines a focus on city history, language arts, and social studies, with hands-on training and civic service through D&R Canal maintenance.
Willow Green Townhouse Association: Parking Lot Safety – To install motion-sensor lights and video cameras for the parking lots of the town houses, to provide additional monitoring and foster a sense of safety.