Organizations and nonprofits in Memphis and across the country have been impacted by the pandemic, limiting the services they were able to provide. Organizations struggled to keep up with the demand and many people started quitting their jobs, which was dubbed the Great Quit.
More than two years into the pandemic, groups are beginning to recover but need help providing essential services.
Enter the 2022 A Community Thrivs program, a $2 million initiative created by the Gannett Foundation. The program will provide grants to groups seeking to improve their communities. A Community Thrives is a grantmaking and crowdfunding program sponsored by Gannett, the parent company of the USA TODAY Network.
Since the program’s inception in 2017, more than $17 million has been donated through crowdfunding efforts that have been distributed to more than 500 organizations across the country.
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In an effort that began June 1, A Community Thrives has begun accepting applications from organizations seeking to raise awareness for a specific community-building project with a focus on impact on individuals and communities. historically underserved groups.
“The program not only provides grants, but opportunities for organizations to expand their networks and deepen their donor base by connecting with our consumers,” said Sue Madden, director of the Gannett Foundation. “In addition, participation in the A Community Thrives program can result in national and local media exposure. Year after year, we hear fantastic stories from participants about how the program has accelerated development,” a- she continued.
Organizations will first raise funds through crowdfunding, then they will be eligible for 16 project grants up to $100,000: three grants of $100,000, seven grants of $50,000 and six grants of $25,000, according to the A Community Thrives website.
Other grants include operating grants for eligible participants with community operations in Gannett Markets, incentive grants for groups that raise the most funds, and bonus challenge grants for those who wish to compete.
Organizations can apply on this site from June 1, 2022. The fundraising phase of the program will run from July 18 to August 12 and recipients will be announced on October 5.
In 2021, The Black Clergy Collaborative of Memphis received a $10,000 grant from A Community Thrives. The Collaborative, a 40-member group of pastors and other church leaders focused on civic engagement, economic empowerment and criminal justice reform, is working to develop community gardens that can supply farmers’ markets around the world. piece.
The Black Clergy organization was one of three recipients last year of $10,000 grants in Shelby County. The other two were Hope House Day Care Center and the National Foundation for Transplants. Concord Academy, which specializes in teaching students with disabilities or learning differences, received $2,500.
“We want to start community gardens in areas that are food deserts,” said Turner, senior pastor of Mississippi Blvd. Christian Church, said in 2021. “And distribute the food at farmers’ markets and explore the possibility of community-owned grocery stores.” He said the Memphis program concept is modeled after Baltimore’s Black Church Food Insecurity Network program.
Why fundraise for local communities
Local stories told by reporters from The Commercial Appeal and other USA TODAY Network newsrooms helped inspire the creation of A Community Thrives. By telling these stories, journalists hear amazing ideas for improving American communities.
“A Community Thrives further underscores Gannett’s mission of empowering communities to thrive not only by telling their stories, but also by providing support to those who need it most,” said Mike Reed, CEO of Gannett and Chairman of the Gannett Foundation. “This initiative is organically helping quality organizations that share our desire to improve lives and we are proud to implement the program for the sixth year.”
Interfaith Neighbors received a $100,000 grant in 2021 to support the expansion of the Kula Urban Farm in New Jersey which helps the community with a homelessness prevention program and meal programs.
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“Communities matter,” Paul McEvily, executive director of Interfaith Neighbors, told USA TODAY in 2021. “The people who reside in this community need to understand and appreciate what makes the community thrive, and a community thrives when everything everyone in this community is doing well.”
Since the farm’s inception in 2014, it has become a community gathering place for residents to come and harvest produce to use in their meal preparations, young people to participate in STEM learning, people of all ages from participate in community workshops, he says. on the organization’s donation page in 2021. Their farm-to-table dinner series features local chefs and brings residents together in a social setting for fellowship and healthy eating.
Interfaith Neighbors planned “to purchase an adjacent vacant plot of land which will allow us to double our hydroponics operations, expand our seasonal agricultural beds, as well as construct a 3 season lodge structure to accommodate our community workshops and program educational in an expanded space,” the company wrote on its donations page in 2021.
Mark Russell of The Commercial Appeal contributed to this report.