It’s grants time for the Foundation and this year’s awards were made considerably more difficult due to the record number of requests that came in. Our usual total is around $40,000 or so, but this year the requests topped $70,000. Our Available to Grant money (which comes from our endowed funds that many have donated to so generously) was around $32,000. So, our Grants Committee members and board needed to really dig down to understand how these different organizations and initiatives would benefit the greatest number of D12 residents. 

As always, considerable attention was paid to our schools with money going for essential environmental, music and arts programs.  Unfortunately, school budgets have decreasing abilities to pay for this curriculum so money from outside sources is necessary to ensure the participation of all our students. Also in the area of youth support is the grant given to Joy of the People Soccer housed in the SSA Rec Center. This fast-growing organization’s success has been recognized by the National Soccer Association with a grant of $80,000 towards construction of a year-round athletic field. JOTP has added on to that plan with a vision of additional recreational fields and equipment. The grant will help them develop a strategy for raising the rest of the money needed to complete the project.

The Foundation also granted money to the Bugle for a community mailing list and St. Anthony Park Area Seniors to help provide services and support for our aging neighbors, D12’s ongoing Transition Town initiative, local treasure Music in the Park Series, and one of our newest arts groups, the exciting TU Dance company. 

Finally, the Foundation found money to replace trees in Langford Park and helped secure an additional $47,000 to support the new environmental science class created by Murray Jr. High science teacher Tim Chase in partnership with Wolfridge Environmental Learning Center. This innovative opportunity to get talented students onto the AP science track could provide a template for producing the next generation of scientists we desperately need to deal with the environmental challenges we face. 

These last two, along with money raised from charitable events, are indicative of ways the Foundation’s fundraising is evolving. The community response to our annual general campaign has remained healthy but fairly static over the past few years, while contributions to designated funds (Endowment, Environmental Education and music) have increased significantly. Obviously, the Foundation welcomes all contributions. The general funds are critical to pay for staff time and programming. The designated contributions fund our grants and help encourage new solutions to neighborhood needs. Thanks to all for your donations of dollars, time and talent, this community would not be the same without it. 

D12 – the annual Kasota Pond clean-up will be this Saturday from 9-11am. It was rescheduled due to snow two weeks ago. We shouldn’t have to negotiate that this weekend, so c’mon down, you’ll see the crew just west of 280 in a parking lot off Energy Park Drive….the Creative Enterprise Zone task force is honing its focus a year out from the actual first train running on light rail. Everything planned for preparation and celebration of that significant date in the district’s life needs to get under way soon as things are starting to percolate along the avenue: the Gremlin Theater is hoping to have found a new home within blocks of its old one, the new owners of the Anodyne Theater & Gallery are talking about a housing development on their site which would feature various energy technologies, the C&E apartments are filling up and there are rumblings about other projects and tenants interested in the area. I don’t think I would say the CEZ is on fire just yet, but things are definitely heating up…D12 moved their elections from April to November to try to encourage more participation. Makes sense to me. 

SCHOOLS – Last week I mentioned that two teams from StAP Elementary School are going to the Global Destination Imagination competition in Tennessee at the end of the month. I was immediately alerted to the fact that two Murray teams are going as well. Much fundraising to be done, but a great honor and tribute to our schools and kids…the elementary school principal, Ann Johnson, made good on her promise to milk a goat last week. She had vowed to loosen up her fingers if the kids read over 270,000 minutes of books during their spring read-a-thon and they did, raising over $12,000 for the school library. She succeeded in getting some milk into a pail, can’t wait to see what she comes up with for next year. 

StAPnotes - Chanson Voice and Music Academy, a professional music school with voice as its primary focus has moved into a storefront on Raymond Avenue near University Avenue. Director Diana Grasselli, has an extensive background in singing all over the country and training top talents. You can read more here. In early June the library will close for repairs and move its summer reading events to the United Methodist Church. Reopening is planned for Aug.1…the Shanghai Quartet elicited smiles and appreciation for their appearances at the Senior Home and the schools. Thanks to Julie Himmelstrup and the Schubert Club for coordinating the event with financial support from the Foundation. 

That’s all for now. Take care of yourself and be a good neighbor.