Over the past year, a group of College Park residents from around the City have been meeting with the goal of establishing a College Park Community Foundation. A community foundation is a non-profit organization that raises funds and then distributes them as grants for projects and other non-profit organizations that benefit the community. It can support projects ranging from food kitchens to arts organizations, funds to revitalize blighted commercial areas to community events.
There are a number of examples of similar projects in the area. Greenbelt’s Community Foundation was started just a few years ago and has funded or helped fund a food bank, various youth projects, and a museum celebrating the heritage of Greenbelt (see greenbeltfoundation.net). The Columbia Foundation in Howard County is bigger and has funded hospice programs and supports, services and volunteer programs for people with disabilities, children’s choirs, arts festivals, and scholarships (www.columbiafoundation.org). Community Foundations can give grants to organizations for their own projects or seek out organizations that are interested in pursuing the goals established by the Foundation itself.
The possibilities for College Park are virtually endless. A Community Foundation could be used to support public art projects in commercial areas around the City. It could be used to establish partnerships in adult education with the University, have community clean-ups, work with City kids on public art projects, help underserved populations, or show movies at local parks. The only limit is the imagination and goals of the people running it.
We invite you to become part of the Steering Committee for the Foundation and help us make this vision a reality. The Steering Committee will create a plan for the organization, allocate the funds, and ultimately be in charge of raising the funds necessary to support community projects. Although some people don’t like fundraising, we want to make it easy – we’re looking for people who are willing to do things like help organize chili dinners and other events to raise funds, as well as make commitments to help out the Foundation personally.
The Steering Committee will be having a kick-off on Thursday, May 17, at 6:30 pm at the IHOP on Route 1, at 9680 Baltimore Avenue. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Wojahn at 240-988-7763.