If the total dollar amount of grant requests to the St. Anthony Park Community Foundation is an indicator of economic recovery, there is still a ways to go in the nonprofit sector, said Jon Schumacher, the foundation’s executive director. Foundation requests for the 2013 grant cycle topped $70,000, a significant increase from previous years, Schumacher said. The foundation usually receives requests totaling $40,000 to $50,000.
“These are requests for good programs addressing critical needs,” Schumacher said. “It would have been nice to grant them all, but with only $32,000 available, our grants committee did its best to determine which initiatives would benefit the greatest number of District 12 residents.”
The local schools topped the list, with money going toward environmental, music and arts programs not covered by the St. Paul Public Schools’ district budget. Joy of the People Soccer, housed in the South St. Anthony Recreation Center, was also a grant receipient. The organization was recently recognized by the U.S. Soccer Foundation with a grant of $80,000 toward construction of a year-round athletic field. Joy of the People has added on to that plan with a vision of additional recreational fields and equipment.
The foundation also granted money to the Park Bugle for the purchase of a community mailing list, St. Anthony Park Area Seniors to continue to provide services to the area’s senior citizens, District 12’s Transition Town initiative, Music in the Park, and TU Dance on University Avenue.
In addition, the foundation purchased trees to be planted in Langford Park to replace those that had been taken down due to an infestation of the emerald ash borer and it helped secure an additional $47,000 to support the new environmental science class created by Murray Junior High science teacher Tim Chase. The new course, a collaboration with Wolf Ridge Environmental Learning Center, is designed to help talented students move into the Advanced Placement science track. The course began this spring and has guaranteed funding for four years.
The science class and tree-planting projects are indicative of how the foundation’s fundraising is evolving, said Schumacher. The community response to the annual general campaign has remained healthy but fairly static over the past few years, while contributions to designated funds (the foundation’s endowment, environmental education and music) have increased significantly, he said.
The general funds pay for staff time and programming. Designated contributions fund grants and encourage new solutions to local needs.
“The foundation is very grateful for and welcomes all donations of dollars, time and talent,” Schumacher said.