A program aimed at supporting community groups near the Metro Central Transfer Station has announced the recipients of its 2017 grants.
The Metro Central Enhancement Grants awarded $259,225 for nine out of 11 of the projects to be completed this year. They’re awarded to enhance the neighborhoods impacted by the presence of the Metro Central waste transfer station.
In order to qualify for funding, projects must take place in or benefit residents of the target area surrounding the waste transfer station located in Northwest Portland. Grant recipients are chosen by a committee of representatives from the area’s surrounding neighborhoods, businesses and environmental community. The committee is chaired by Metro Councilor Sam Chase.
The funding for Metro’s oldest equity-based program comes from a surcharge on services collected at garbage transfer stations, which are then put into a fund and later distributed to winning projects.
Among the 2017 grant recipients is Chapman Elementary School, which will receive $19,000 to help fund Reading Results on campus, a literacy program that aids first, second and third grade students reading below grade level.
“We’re really thrilled about it,” said Chapman Elementary School principal Pamela Van Der Wolf. “Reading Results have really strong results working with kids who don’t necessarily have a learning disability, but they lag behind for one reason or another, so this is one of the ways that we make sure we get support for them.”
Another grant recipient, Friendly House, is a nonprofit neighborhood center that provides a variety of social services. It will receive $23,000 to support building improvements and $30,000 to use towards scholarships that aid low-income and LGBT seniors to live “an active, independent life” by providing access to the organization's fitness facilities.
“Our goal is to be of service to the community in some way and this helps us keep the doors open by helping pay for low income folks to come use the facility,” said Denise Lafond, who serves as operations manager at Friendly House. “People are taking advantage of it for sure.”
Last year, Friendly House was able to provide scholarships to community members along with unique classes, such as yoga, that otherwise wouldn’t be provided to participants.
“It’s a place where the community can gather and get resources,” Lafond said. “We have lots of low income folks and then we have people who live in the neighborhood who might be more wealthy and they’re all interacting together.”
Mike Snow, a volunteer and participant at Friendly House, says the center is important to him because it brings people together while simultaneously serving the community.
“This place is great because I’ve noticed it as an opportunity for people and families to get away, be together and get involved in community activities,” Snow said.
During the 2016 grant cycle, Metro awarded community organizations $377,406. Among last year’s recipients was Friends of Trees, a non-profit dedicated to planting trees throughout Portland.
“We really saw the need for the connection between trees and health to be a stronger connection that the public makes on a regular basis,” said Friends of Trees deputy director Whitney Dorer.
Dorer adds that Metro’s funding pushed Friends of Trees “to be more creative in thinking about new projects” which resulted in a series of symposia educating the public on trees and health.
“We wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise to really be doing this type of work,” Dorer said. “There is a lot of opportunity for the long term positive change in the Northwest industrial area.”
Find the full list of projects below.
Community Alliance of Tenants $48,000
Funding will support expansion of the organization’s tenant education, empowerment and engagement services in NW Portland.
Community Vision $25,000
Grant will support Our Home, an inclusive co-housing-inspired community in the Cathedral Park neighborhood of North Portland for families experiencing disability. Funding supports professional services for project design.
Forest Park Conservancy $7,432
The grant will fund the Forest Park Youth Volunteer Crew Leader Program to develop the next generation of stewards of Forest Park.
Friendly House $23,000
Funding will provide building improvements including exterior paint and $30,000 to support Community Services for Seniors supports older adults (with an emphasis on low income and underserved populations, including LGBT people) to live active, independent lives, with dignity, in the settings of their choice.
Hand2Mouth Theater $11,500
Funding will support a three-week run of Berlin Diary, a new play by Oregon Book Award winning playwright Andrea Stolowitz in association with Coho Theatre in Northwest Portland (April 13-30, 2017). The project will also include community conversations with audiences about Holocaust survival, diaspora and family displacement and to create a wider conversation about the lessons to be learned from the past that can help guide us today.
Linnton Community Center $42,243
Grant will fund the construction of a community workshop (The Linnton Toolbox). This space will become the home of technical projects that teach practical life skills and build community for younger residents of the Linnton neighborhood.
Meals on Wheels People $10,000
Funding to provide daily hot meals to elders served by the Elm Court Center in Portland, and home meal deliveries to 70,000 homebound elders, approximately 2/3 of whom reside in the Metro Central Community Enhancement Program target area.
PPS Chapman Elementary School $19,000
Grant to support Reading Results, a program which provides a proven reading intervention program to first, second, and third grade students who are reading one to two grades below grade level.
Sauvie Island Center $14,050
Funding to support STEM on the Farm, a program for approximately 165 third grade students who attend James John and Chapman Elementary Schools per year (2017- 2018).
Store to Door $30,000
Grant will support independent living for Portland area seniors and people with disabilities by providing a low-cost, volunteer-based grocery shopping and delivery service and increase residents served from the Metro Central Community Enhancement Program target area 40 percent over two years (2017-2018).