We have distributed nearly $35,000 to 14 organizations through the second round of our Bridging Divides, Healing Communities grant program, which supports community-building efforts to bridge differences and drive positive change at the local level.
Organizations in Berkshire, Columbia, northeast Dutchess and northwest Litchfield counties received grants of up to $3,000 for projects that seek to bring people together to explore shared interests, address problems through dialogue and action, and consider issues through a range of perspectives. Funded projects include community conversations, training sessions, service work, artistic and cultural activities, and educational programs for students.
Our Bridging Divides, Healing Communities initiative includes a Youth Film Challenge that awarded $3,500 in cash prizes in November to storytellers ages 14-24 followed by public screenings and panel discussions, and a recent speaker series on topics of race, social cohesion, the media’s role in polarized times and promising local engagement efforts. A first round of grants provided $50,000 to 21 local groups earlier this year.
Alliance for a Viable Future (with fiscal sponsor Good Work Institute): $2,500 to expand its Indigenous Peoples' Day programming by connecting communities in Berkshire and Columbia counties with Native American leaders who will share their perspectives, values and experiences.
Berkshire Pulse: $3,000 to help immigrants engage in the arts and celebrate their heritage through a weekly Moving Life Stories free dance workshop.
Literacy Network of South Berkshire: $1,462 to create LitNet’s first Learner Advisory Council of adult students to provide input on programming for enrolled learners, who are predominantly immigrants working on their English language skills.
Sheffield Historical Society: $3,000 to support the planning, staging and presentation of a play and discussion celebrating the life of Elizabeth “Mum Bett” Freeman.
Williamstown Chamber of Commerce: $1,500 to offer a free virtual training workshop on diversity, equity and inclusion for businesses and community members, in partnership with BRIDGE.
Free Columbia (as fiscal sponsor for Loki Anthony): $3,000 for a three-month Hip Hop Culture 101 workshop that will help young men explore different points of view through the creative process.
Free Columbia (as fiscal Sponsor for Roxanne Wilkins): $2,900 to host monthly Philmont Diversity Conversations that will focus on diversity issues in Philmont and nationwide, as well as support a youth group.
Friends of Oakdale Lake: $3,000 to bring together community members to clean Oakdale Park and remove invasive species.
Bridging the Gap Games (with fiscal sponsor Millbrook Library): $1,000 to bring together young adults and residents at the Fountains at Millbrook retirement community to play card games, board games and chess.
Rock Steady Farm and Flowers: $3,000 to share the stories of queer and transgender farmers through short videos.
Stonewood Community Project: $3,000 to expand outreach for its First Harvest Community Garden and Pantry to engage individuals from across the spectrum of social identities to participate in their charitable and educational offerings.
Wassaic Project: $3,000 to create a 16-week program for middle and high school students to participate in the new Troutbeck Symposium on racial history in Amenia and creatively express their findings through film, writing and art.
Housatonic Valley Association: $1,500 to host virtual sessions with land trust members and faith-based groups in northwest Litchfield County to reflect upon the intersection of religion and ecology.
Salisbury School: $3,000 for the new Troutbeck Symposium, which will explore and share the region’s significant role in the early history of the civil rights movement and the Harlem Renaissance, in partnership with area schools and organizations.