Grant money from One Great Hour of Sharing helps oppressed, disadvantaged people achieve self-sufficiency
by Margaret Mwale | Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People
LOUISVILLE — The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP) has approved grants totaling $155,000 to fund 10 self-help projects in the United States and abroad. The national committee met recently to approve funding made possible through the One Great Hour of Sharing. SDOP enables members and non-members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to form partnerships with oppressed and disadvantaged people and help them achieve self-sufficiency.
The projects and grant amounts include:
- Dexter Linwood-Cordon in Detroit, $15,000 to transform eight blocks of vacant land in an underserved urban community into an urban garden and community green space. The project will assist the low-income group and its community residents by offering an aesthetic environment that brings members and residents together. Additionally, the newly created storm water management system will reduce the storm water runoff that floods basements, provide water for the garden and save the members money by providing drainage fee credits.
- Daughters of Sarah, Milton, N.Y., $15,000 for this rural community group that assists project members and other women in overcoming challenges unique to the region. The women gather frequently to share concerns, problem solve and learn leadership skills. They have faced issues of poverty, prejudice and gender violence. They hold retreats and workshops and reach out to women in trouble.
- Green Light NY: Driving Together (NYS driver’s license campaign), Rochester, N.Y., $15,000. The project’s main goal is to work in collaboration with the statewide Green Light Driving Together campaign to attain access to driver’s licenses for all New York residents regardless of their immigration status.
- Welcome Back, Missoula. $15,000 was awarded to this group of formerly incarcerated and recently returned citizens who have banded together to advocate for increased housing and job opportunities. Social stigma and bureaucratic policies make it very difficult for returning citizens to be reintegrated into the community. The group sought funding for training opportunities in advocacy and leadership skills to help expand the group’s capacity and effectiveness.
- Leadership Development Project, Worcester, Mass., $15,000 to provide a leadership training /internship program for formerly incarcerated persons. Project members with the Ex-prisoners and Prisoners Organizing for Community Advancement group (E.P.O.C.A.) see this project as a pre-workforce training in which participants will be able “to identify weaknesses and begin to strengthen their skills.” All interns and apprentices have been able to find employment after their completion of the leadership training program.
- Homefulness, Oakland, Calif., $15,000 for this sweat equity community working on co-housing, a multigenerational school, media center, and community garden/farm — all in various stages of development and being phased in over a number of years. Homefulness is a collective building and creating a nonhierarchical community, both physical and conceptual. SDOP funds will help with construction materials and support members who will provide physical labor.
- Tenants Rights and Protection group, Jersey City, N.J., $15,000 for this group of tenants fighting for the rights and protection of people who are harassed, intimidated and evicted from their homes (apartments) by landlords who then rent the vacated apartment at a much higher illegal price. The members of the Tenants Rights and Protection group educate renters on their rights, organize together to hold city elected officials responsible for enforcing existing tenant/landlord ordinances and unite against landlords who are ignoring existing ordinances and train other renters as tenant rights and protection advocates.
- CE-MUJER, Dominican Republic, $25,000 for this organization that provides leadership and technical training to women’s federations and associations throughout the Dominican Republic. This project will support technical training related to other projects in the Dominican Repuplic.
- Presbyterian Church of Rwanda, $25,000 to assist with agricultural projects, handicrafts projects, water supply and electricity, etc. using SDOP guidelines.
- Seine Bight Village Council, Belize, $3,000. This is a technical assistance grant to establish a strategic plan for guiding the village council in sustainable development in Seine Bight Village. The strategic plan will identify development activities which will enable the village council to attain its community development mandate. The plan will also provide for continuity of work upon termination of present village council tenure. The development of a strategic plan is the specific objective of the project.
Self-Development of People is always looking for new community groups to forge great partnerships with and receives/reviews grant applications year-round. Potential community partners must meet SDOP’s funding criteria of group members directly controlling, owning and benefiting from the project.
Groups interested in being considered for the next funding cycle will need to apply soon. Visit (http://www.youtube.com/user/selfdevelopment/videos) then click on the “The Visible Community, Maine” video for more on the application process. Click here for more information about Self-Development of People and its projects or to host a SDOP community workshop (information session).
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