Community Foundation Awards $432,000 in Special Project Grants
Five Local Nonprofits Benefit from Special Project Grant Funding
As part of its 2023 spring grants cycle, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County has awarded $432,000 in grants funding to five local nonprofit organizations through Special Project Grants.
The Special Project Grant process encourages projects in community development and urban affairs; parks, recreation, and environment; health and human services, and youth and education. All nonprofit organizations serving the citizens of St. Joseph County are eligible to apply.
These Special Project Grant recipients include:
- Cultivate Culinary School and Catering, Inc.: $250,000
Funding from this grant will be used for Cultivate’s Community Cold Storage capital expansion project. This new state-of-the-art cold storage facility will provide the community with 21,000 square feet of cold storage for rescued food with the capacity to receive up to 78 truckloads of food at once. This will allow for the rescue of 19 million pounds of food each year that will be redistributed to over 100 community partners. Cultivate has rescued over 1.5 million pounds of food directly from St. Joseph County in the past five years and over 50% of the organization’s food distribution remains in our county.
- Potawatomi Zoological Society: $100,000
Funds will be used to support Potawatomi Zoo’s newest capital project: a Concession Lodge and Bear Habitat. The 6,000-square-foot Lodge will include a dining area that looks directly into the bear habitat. This project is part of the Zoo’s $10.7-million “Phase 3” of its Master Plan, which also includes a new, upgraded lion habitat and a state-of-the-art Amur tiger exhibit. The Concession Lodge has capacity for indoor seating of 120 plus 300-400 on an outdoor plaza, a significant upgrade from the Zoo’s current modest concessions area.
- Kindness to Prevent Blindness: $50,000
The Kindness to Prevent Blindness (K2PB) program provides a community service annually to hundreds of students by treating and preventing eye issues. This mobile eye clinic provides space for screenings and a lab for making glasses. Students in need of glasses receive two free pairs, as well as a voucher for a replacement pair if needed. Since its founding in 2018, K2PB has provided over 5,000 eye exams and 8,000 pairs of eyeglasses to students in St. Joseph and Elkhart counties. This funding will support a dedicated pediatric optometrist to staff the mobile unit part-time, as staffing shortages in the medical industry are making it harder to find volunteer doctors. Over 65% of K2PB’s services have been for St. Joseph County students, serving over 60 different St. Joseph County schools.
- Center for Civic Innovation (University of Notre Dame): $25,000
Notre Dame’s Center for Civic Innovation (CCI) Summer Internship Program will partner with the Near Northwest Neighborhood (NNN) and St. Paul Bethel Baptist Church to design and implement a public play area for children on the church-owned lot at 715 Leland Avenue in South Bend. Funds will be used for construction materials for the play area; support for the interns performing the design work is provided by a matching grant from the Leighton Foundation. This collaborative project has additional support from the City of South Bend IGNITE grant.
- Reins of Life: $7,000
Funding from this grant will help expand Reins of Life’s Interactive Vaulting program, covering the mandatory workshop and training costs for two instructors to become PATH-certified in Interactive Vaulting and the necessary equipment for program expansion. Interactive Vaulting, or Therapeutic Vaulting, is a type of physical activity for children and adults with balance, attention, motor skill, or social-emotional deficits. This project will secure components to cover the growing demand for these services by participants with behavioral and social diagnoses.
Since 1992, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County has been connecting people who care with causes that matter. A nonprofit philanthropic endowment, the Community Foundation serves the people of St. Joseph County through initiatives and grantmaking in the areas of arts and culture, health and human services, youth and education, community development, and parks, recreation, and environment.