by Sue Ann Rybak
Representatives of the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the Chestnut Hill Community Fund awarded $112, 727 in grants to local nonprofit organizations at a ceremony held Aug. 23 at the Chestnut Hill Hotel, 8229 Germantown Ave.
This year’s grants were divided into five categories: human services, cultural enrichment, education, environment and physical beautification. Besides allocating $89,753 in funds from the Chestnut Hill Community Fund, members of the CHCA and CHCF distributed $6,200 in funds from the Green Space Initiative Grant and $16, 774 in funds from the Ch allege grant.
Noreen Spota, CHCA administrative coordinator, said this year there were several first-time nonprofit grant recipients, including Fresh Artists, the Mt. Airy Art Garage, Time4Time, Tempesta di Mare, Woodmere Art Museum, Chestnut Hill Book Festival, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Musehouse: A Center for Literary Arts, Allens Lane Art Center, Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project.
Barbara Chandler Allen, executive director at Fresh Artists, received a $4,000 grant to install large-format reproductions of local children’s art in the new emergency room wing of Chestnut Hill Hospital.
Through a partnership between Friends of J.S. Jenks and Fresh Artists, students at J.S. Jenks School will work with Ron and Abby Pete, owners of the Chestnut Hill Hotel and Farmers Market, to develop “a silly city” – a phrase coined by Evelyn Bock, a retired art teacher who will be leading the Fresh Artists Sprout Studio at Jenks.
Allen said Bock “interprets the architectural designs with little kids, and they make absolutely wild interpretations.”
She said that when children see their artwork prominently displayed in the community, it sends a message that the community cares about them and values their artwork.
“Every time a piece of artwork is used [by a client or corporation] funds go back into the schools that we partner with,” Allen said. “It’s a big circle where the children are the first philanthropists creating artwork that generates art supplies and programing.”
Stan Moat, a member of the Chestnut Hill Community Fund board, praised the efforts and dedication of local nonprofits such as Friends of J.S. Jenks, to improve the quality of life in Chestnut Hill.
“One of the most gratifying things we do in the course of the year is to raise money for worthy causes that are below the radar everywhere else,” Moat said. “ But, without you guys it wouldn’t happen.”
Marianne Dwyer, director of Teenagers Inc., said without the support of the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the Chestnut Hill Community Fund the organization would not exist today. She said funds from the $14,000 grant would help play for operating costs.
“If any of you work with teens in any way you know they are a tough group – tougher today then they were even five years ago,” Dwyer said. “Even though teenagers today are very tech savvy, it doesn’t mean you can communicate with them any better. It has been a challenge for us in these changing times.”
She added that Teenagers Inc., Meals on Wheels and the Senior Center were originally funded under the Chestnut Hill Community Association.
“Without the support of the CHCA and the Chestnut Hill Community Fund over the last 17 years, we would not be here today – or even be founded,” Dwyer said. “The CHCA is really the driving force behind the fund. Without the staff at the CHCA and the volunteer board, the fund would not exist. So, I want to ask everyone to talk up the CHCA and encourage people to become members and support all their activities.”
Recipients of the 2013 Green Space Initiative grants include Stagecrafters, Chestnut Hill Friends Meetinghouse Project, Friends of the Wyndmoor Train Station and the St. Martins Station Committee.
Recipients of the 2013 Challenge Grants are Center on the Hill, Time4Time Community Exchange, Mt. Airy Art Garage, Mt. Airy Business Improvement District, Friends of J.S. Jenks and The Crossing Choir.
CHCA Community Manager Celeste Hardester said it was difficult to choose recipients because of the abundance of applicants and valuable contributions they make to the community.
“The range and scope of the activities of the grant applicants is moving to listen to,” Hardester said. “It was absolutely rich hearing about what these organizations do on an ongoing basis to contribute to the quality of life in their community and what they intend to do with the grant monies. I personally felt fortunate to be there listening to them. I wished I’d thought to suggest it be videotaped, so the community could witness first-hand what these people are doing. It was one inspiring story after another.”