Community News

Community Foundation Awards Environment Grants (Jan, 2013)

April 22, 2016

The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound has awarded $25,000 from The Fund for the Environment to two area nonprofits. The grants were made in response to a RFP inviting local nonprofits to submit proposals for project(s) that support a dynamic, strong agricultural environment within Thurston, Lewis and Mason counties. The Foundation’s environmental fund was established in 2011. The fund’s focus is on conservation, promoting “green enterprises, and strengthening a sustainable local food economy.

“Our objective with these grants is to support development of a robust regional food system so that all community residents have access to a nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and economic development,” says Lori Drummond, Foundation board chair and CEO of Olympia Federal Savings.

“The Foundation’s review committee evaluated eight diverse, well-presented environmental grant applications,” reports Norma Schuiteman, Foundation executive director. “Information contained in the proposals helped our board members and volunteers increase their awareness of local issues and opportunities surrounding the production, delivery and utilization of locally grown food.”

The inaugural environmental grants were made to projects submitted by nonprofit alliances. The first, headed by Enterprise for Equity, Olympia, in partnership with WSU Thurston County Extension, will survey 40-50 local food producers and buyers, summarize the findings, and host a series of forums bringing farmers and buyers together in late 2013. The project aims to expand locally-produced food sales in the tri-county area. Local community leaders, producers and chefs will help guide the project.

The second grant, made to Blue Earth Farms, Chehalis, will provide experiential learning opportunities in the areas of health, nutrition and environmental stewardship. The project will support a farmers’ market on the Centralia College campus and provide hands on training for students enrolled in the Teens Entering Education Now (TEEN) program, designed to provide support services for high-school aged students to be successful in graduating and parenting. The Blue Earth Farms program will expose students to careers ranging from farming to catering, with science-related careers in between.

“Both projects went to the heart of our vision for this nascent grantmaking effort,” says Schuiteman.

April 22, 2016

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