This year’s Project Hope recipients gathered at Piedmont Arts on Dec. 7 to celebrate their upcoming projects and the 20th Anniversary of The Harvest Foundation.
The Project Hope grants initiative, announced Aug. 16 on Harvest’s 20th Anniversary, not only celebrates the occasion but it’s also designed to plant seeds of hope for the future and develop opportunities to strengthen relationships among neighbors through grassroots organizing and engagement.
Throughout the foundation’s extensive strategic planning process in 2021, Program Officer India Brown said it was clear that community engagement and community voice were necessary to spark real hope in Martinsville-Henry County.
“What better way to kick off the Harvest Foundation’s 20th anniversary than to provide an opportunity for residents to take action on building a better community where we all live, work, and play?” Brown said.
A group of local “hope builders” worked on Project Hope
from developing the RFP (request for proposals) to vetting projects and allocating funding. Committee members include Kendall Davis, Cameron Brummitt, Brandon Martin, Autumn Morris, Kimberly Keller, Beverly P. Lyle, Larissa Rash, Sarah Short, DeShanta Hairston, and Viola Rich.
“I am inspired and impressed by the Project Hope grant recipients this year, and I’m excited to see their ideas brought to life in our community,” Lyle said. “My hope for the future is that Project Hope continues next year and that we will see more and more citizens engaged in it. Harvest has provided a support system for grassroots visioning (whether the idea is big or small), organizing, and implementation. Let’s all encourage and facilitate this and continue to see the hopes of our citizens realized and celebrated.”
Joyce Staples, chair of the Fayette Area Historical Initiative (FAHI) board of directors, received funding for her proposal to create a Hope Book Club for Middle School Girls. When she envisioned a book club for middle school girls a year ago, she said she had no idea how her dream would manifest into reality.
“My sincere thanks to the Harvest Foundation for this opportunity to allow young ladies to have an enriching experience with books, to find their voices, and hopefully develop a lifelong love of reading,” Staples said. “We’re developing a group of critical thinkers and a more literate society, and we’re building and engaging the community.”
According to Staples, the Hope Book Club has 22 girls registered, seven more than anticipated in her proposal. Club members will receive a bag of goodies that include a reading journal and a copy of the first book they plan to read, “A Long Walk to Water,” by Linda Sue Park.
Harvest announced five approved grants totaling $44,525, while two are pending. Approved proposals include:
*Greater Bassett Area Community (GBAC) received $10,000 for the Carson Lane School Restoration Project;
*Piedmont Arts received $9,180 to fund a Pollinator Garden and Art Trail;
*The Martinsville-Henry County Chamber’s Partnership for Economic Growth received $10,000 to fund a “Rooting” for the Same Hope Mural; the
*U.S. Army Corps of Engineers received $10,000 to fund trail improvements at Philpott Lake; and
*Fayette Area Historical Initiative received $5,345 to fund the Hope Book Club for Middle School Girls.
Visit www.theharvestfoundation.org to find out more about Project Hope.