Spark MicroGrants created a dynamic model for community organizing and granting, working with enthusiastic local facilitators who want to help an impoverished community that they know of and care for. The local facilitator organizes community meetings, asks the community to define their most pressing social problem, comes up with ways to solve that problem, and implements the best one with funding from a MicroGrant.
In 2008, Gladwin county had 3 deaths related to drug overdose, and in 2009 that number doubled to 6 deaths. After two years of increasing numbers of deaths from drug overdoses, Ten Sixteen Recovery Network hosted dinners for local law enforcement and the medical community to discuss the issue. The events helped generate specific action steps to raise community awareness of the issue.
Stand & Serve works with schools, families, and the community of Maricopa County, Arizona, to cultivate safety, equality and respect as norms for all. Their goal is to prevent homelessness, child abuse, violence, substance abuse, oppression, depression, suicide, and more - BEFORE they begin.
The South Coast Hospice for Psychosocial Care Memory Box Workshops are 5-day sessions with a Counseling Psychologist, two Social Workers and two Caregivers. They are offered to children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa, and special emphasis is placed on memory work, with modules dealing with family stories and family trees, and memory boxes which the children can decorate, and use to keep stories, photos, and other mementos of their deceased parents and their past.
The Empowerment Group’s Entrepreneurship Program trains low-income entrepreneurs in the skills they need to create sustainable businesses in the city of Philadelphia. The group helps educate individuals on the benefits of community businesses: self-employment, additional jobs for low-income individuals, and increased commercial activity. Their program attempts to address poverty issues in the struggling communities of Philadelphia.
Breakthrough Club, in Wichita, Kansas, planned a unique approach to educating communities about mental illness through a reader’s theatre presentation. The content was developed by a local playwright who used the life stories of Breakthrough Club members as his inspiration. The event was held at the Century II Mary Jane Teall Theatre, one of the largest in Wichita, Kansas. Professional actors played the roles of persons with mental illness, it was directed by a local, well-known director, and the event was videotaped for future distribution.
The Growing Community Project (GCP) works with stakeholders to build community gardens in order to increase food security in Helena, Montana, as well as to strengthen their neighborhoods. GCP aims to work with low-income populations, giving them gardening space and teaching them gardening skills so that they may take control of the quality of food they and their families consume. Currently, GCP manages five gardens and over 60 gardeners in Helena. Almost half of the gardeners stated in 2009 that their community garden plot allowed them to save $15.00/week on food.
Breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death among African American women; diagnosis is 10% lower among African American women than white women, but mortality rate for African American women is 37% higher. This disparity is attributed to later-stage detection and unequal receipt of high-quality medical treatment. Gilda’s Club South Florida, a free cancer support community for all, is trying to address this healthcare disparity issue.
Majaso Human Development (MAHUDE) is an NGO working in Kenya to provide the local villages with clean water. Since open water sources typically are more susceptible to being contaminated, polluted, or depleted by evaporation, they decided the first step to reducing water-borne illness was protecting the springs that serve as the main water supplies for villages.
My Neighbor’s Garden/Our Healthy Fridge (MNG/OHF) is a service provided by the Community Settlement Association (CSA) in Riverside, California. MNG/OHF’s goal is to improve the overall health in the Eastside neighborhood community. CSA promotes a healthy lifestyle by providing fresh produce, exercise programs, and cooking and nutrition classes. CSA’s clientele is predominantly Hispanic (87.5%) and extremely low income (76.8%).