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Grant ideas sought
Harvest launches second round of 'PUP' funding

Sunday, January 19, 2014

By SAM JACKSON - Bulletin Staff Writer

The Harvest Foundation is seeking applications for a new round of its “Pick up the Pace” (PUP) small grant program, which aims to “engage the passion of this community,” said Harvest Executive Director Allyson Rothrock.

Begun in October 2012, the PUP program involves grants of up to $10,000 each to help more local organizations get involved in community redevelopment and make Henry County-Martinsville “a community of choice,” according to Harvest’s website.

In addition to the size of the grants, what separates the PUP program from Harvest’s traditional model of grant funding is the speed of the process. Once a grant proposal is received, Harvest will either accept or deny it within three weeks, Rothrock said. Once a project is begun, it must be finished within 90 days.

“This isn’t going to be a long, drawn-out, bureaucratic process,” she said.

One reason for that, she added, was because the PUP program seeks to involve organizations that “didn’t feel they had the ability to get in front of us” to seek grant funding previously.

“If we feel there’s a passionate individual who feels they can have an impact” with a project, Harvest wants to help them take the first step, Rothrock said.

Any project seeking PUP funding must benefit the community at large, not a single organization, she said.

“The more collaboration, the stronger we think it is,” Rothrock said.

As an example, she cited Dance Espanol, a free summer camp that teaches Spanish language and dance to fifth- through eighth-graders. The program is a partnership between Piedmont Arts, the Southwest Virginia Ballet and Harvest.

One of the goals of the PUP initiative is to encourage partnerships and networking among local organizations, businesses and nonprofits, Rothrock said, partially because such collaboration often helps those groups achieve more. A small, $10,000 project can grow once more voices become involved and seek out other sources of funding. Harvest intends to help grant recipients find additional resources to accomplish more, she added.

“There were some of these organizations that had other money they used” for their projects during the initial phase of PUP grants, Rothrock said. “That really quadrupled what they were able to do.”

One such project was the renovation of the baseball field at Sanville Elementary School, which involved a $10,000 grant from Harvest as well as donations to the school’s Parent Teacher Association and volunteer labor.

Harvest’s contribution was only part of what Sanville Principal Sally Rodgers estimated in February 2013 would be a $75,000 renovation, according to previous Bulletin reports.

Rothrock stressed that the intent of the initiative is to issue as many grants as possible with the $100,000 Harvest currently has budgeted for the program.

“It seems that when we say we will have up to $10,000 per grant, just about every application was for $10,000,” she said. “But some of the things we did that were less than that had great impact.”

If Harvest receives a grant request for $10,000 but determines that some of the funding can be acquired from other sources, the grant award may be less than requested, Rothrock said. Hence the importance of communication between Harvest and local agencies.

“We should be very well briefed” on where to find other sources of funding, Rothrock said. “The best thing Harvest can do is leverage their money with other sources of funding. That’s why relationships in the community are so strong.”

Among other grant recipients were the Fayette Area Historical Initiative (FAHI), which received $8,425 to upgrade the electrical system at its museum, put awnings up over the rear entrances to the building, install a security system, buy a computer system and software, and replace covers on the ceiling lights, according to FAHI Chairman Curtis Millner.

The United Way of Henry County and Martinsville received $9,500 to support its transition from a traditional United Way model to a “community-impact” model. That meant changing from being basically a community fundraiser to focusing on relevant topics and issues in the area.

Other grant recipients were the Mt. Olivet Ruritan Club, $10,000 to improve the Randy Dove Baseball field; Smith River Sports Complex, $10,000 to improve the access road to the lower field at the complex’s river access point; and Gateway Streetscape Foundation, $10,000 to support an anti-litter campaign called “Put Litter in its Place,” according to previous reports.

Online applications for PUP grants can be accessed through the Harvest Foundation website, Online applications are preferred, but they also can be submitted through email.

For details and assistance, contact Sheryl Agee, grants administrator, at 632-3329.


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