When the submission process closed we were thrilled to have 27 diverse, exciting, new & seasoned causes to research. Over the next week we read every detailed grant proposal (and we mean detailed!) and narrowed it down to 10 organizations we wanted to get to know better. It took a lot of Little Ceasers, passionate discussion and ultimately tough decisions, but we finally felt confident in scheduling 10 follow-up meetings. For the next two weeks we met with directors, founders and board members of these organizations. We visited facilities and, in some cases, met with the youth that our grant would be benefitting. Needless to say, the whole experience was both eye-opening and inspiring. The following week we announced the Top 5, and on Tuesday, April 9th, we gave away $35,000 dollars at a casual reception at Green Dot Stables.
The recipients are as follows:
1. Ruth Ellis Center, located in Highland Park, is one of only 4 youth social services facilities in the ENTIRE country that serves the needs of runaway, thrown away, at-risk and homeless LGBTQ youth. Specifically, their $10,000 grant request was to support the Second Stories Drop-In Center. The Center is open three days a week (initially the Center was open for 7 days a week) and for many of these kids this is the only time they will be able to get a hot meal, safe shelter, a warm shower, or have access to other necessities.They serve about 50-60 kids on a given evening.
2. Alternatives for Girls, located in Southwest Detroit, requested funding for their Adventure Club, a previously successful program that had been eliminated in recent years due to budget cuts. AFG provides opportunities for girls to get out of their neighborhoods to participate in activities that teach team building, challenge their own personal barriers and open their eyes to new experiences. The Adventure Club consists of 6 outdoor excursions and 24 hours of educational workshops that can consist of anything from healthy eating to yoga. At the Green Dot Stables reception, they informed us the girls are already in the throes of planning their first 3 day camping trip!! Also, if you know of anyone who might have an interesting 2 hour workshop topic, let us know. We would love to share some educational insight from our networks with this program! This $10,000 grant funds the entire Adventure Club.
3. Horizons Upward Bound requested a $10,000 grant to pilot a new Detroit location focusing on a math & science for high achieving students. Since the 1960′s Cranbrook Schools has provided the physical location for this academic program that serves about 180 high school kids from Detroit Public Schools that are operating at a 0% proficiency level. HUB is a 6 week summer program with 24 Saturdays throughout the school year, focusing on improving ACT scores up to the national averages of 21. Not only does this program give the kids a place to go during the summer and on the weekends, it also focuses on career & college counseling. The new Detroit Campus will begin with 30 students who will participate in the 6 week summer program & 24 Saturdays. The total budget for this project is $15,000.
4. Beyond Basics uses a phonics teaching aid to get kids reading at grade level in 6 weeks. Instead of falling farther behind in school, these kids are given the tools to learn to read and excel moving forward. A “Beyond Basics” school also has access to arts & crafts, speakers from the community (including DSO performances!) and book binding facilities where kids can turn their stories into actual books. We decided to also donate $5,000 to get 18 kids reading at grade level. It was something we just couldn’t turn down!
So, in the end, we ended up donating $35,000 to 4 amazing Detroit-based non-profits. These organizations could not be more excited to partner with BARD and each other. During our reception at Green Dot Stables, we observed the many synergies available when you get like-minded people all together in one room. For instance, Horizons-Upward Bound is already in talks with Alternative’s for Girls to start an ACT prep course at the AFG facilities. The most exciting thing is that because of the work of so many Detroiters, all over the country, we can start to see how this Born & Raised Detroit network has the ability to create and connect positivity in Detroit.