A community-implemented mini library, a mural commissioned by a local group, or the establishment of a support program for neighbors.
Whatever shape it takes, “there are many wonderful projects enhancing the character of CHUN neighborhoods,” said Travis Leiker, president of the board of directors for Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods. “If CHUN can play some part in supporting these programs and bringing to light civic entrepreneurship, then this is a job well done.”
Bringing back a regenerated form of its since-suspended community grants program, CHUN launched its S.E.E.D. Funding Program last year.
“As our financial status grew healthier, the board sought new ways to have a positive impact in the community,” Leiker said. “Direct financial investments made the most sense.”
The S.E.E.D. Funding Program exists to “meet immediate funding needs of smaller projects that would be brought to scale if another organization provided direct financial support,” Leiker added.
To be awarded S.E.E.D. funding, a project must enhance the greater Capitol Hill community and align with CHUN's mission and values. S.E.E.D. is an acronym for Smart development, Enrichment, Environmental sustainability, and Diversity in the community.
“Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods is excited to foster collaboration throughout our neighborhoods and support the community we love and cherish,” said Vickie Berkley, a C.H.U.N. board member who chaired the S.E.E.D. application review committee.
S.E.E.D. funding awards range between $500 and $1,000 per recipient. Funding came from the income generated through CHUN's Tears-McFarlane House and Community Center, 1290 Williams St., and the organization's membership program.
“The support of our benefactors, members and patrons of the Tears-McFarlane House made this new initiative possible (and) we hope to support more S.E.E.D. projects in 2020 and beyond,” Leiker said in a news release. “This initiative is an opportunity for our 50-year old organization to put creative ideas into action and for CHUN to improve neighborhoods through impact investing.”
List of honorees
Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods celebrated its inaugural S.E.E.D. Funding Program recipients and recognized those receiving a 2020 Good Neighbor Award on Jan. 9. Here is a look at the honorees:
S.E.E.D. Award recipients
Friends of Morey Middle School PTO
The Friends of Morey Middle School PTO will use its S.E.E.D. Award funding to support student access to basic hygiene needs, school supplies and after-school enrichment; and to purchase Chromebooks for students who lack access to technology. Morey Middle School is located at 840 E. 14th Ave. in Denver.
The Blue Bench
The Blue Bench is a nonprofit that strives to eliminate sexual assault incidents and diminish the impact sexual assault has on individuals and community. The organization will use its S.E.E.D. Award funding to conduct Safe Bars trainings in the Capitol Hill community, which will help prepare staff at alcohol-serving establishments to recognize and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and assault.
Harm Reduction Action Center
The Harm Reduction Action Center is a local public health organization that exists to reduce the harms associated with drug use. It will use its S.E.E.D. Award funding to underwrite ongoing harm reduction community clean-ups, which facilitate conversations with people who are homeless and neighbors who inject drugs. The clean-ups take place throughout Capitol Hill and include removing improperly disposed syringes and syringe-related litter.
Warren Village, a residential community located at 1323 Gilpin St. that serves homeless or housing insecure single-parent households, will use its S.E.E.D. Award funding for a new resident mural. The mural will be located on the first floor of the building and will be representative of the cultures and diversity of the families living at Warren Village.
The Molly Brown House Museum will benefit from Historic Denver's S.E.E.D. Award funding. The historic house located at 1340 Pennsylvania St. will receive access amenities such as railings and a wheelchair lift. Historic Denver is a local historic preservation and advocacy organization that got its start by saving the Molly Brown House — the 1889 home of Titanic survivor Margaret “Molly” Brown — from demolition in 1970.
Spirit of the Sun
Spirit of the Sun works in partnership with Native American communities to empower Native youths to become leaders, entrepreneurs and skilled professionals who will help guide their communities toward wellness, prosperity and cultural revitalization. The nonprofit will use its S.E.E.D. Award funding to for its Indigenous Youth Art & Culture program, which strengthens cultural ties and provides an outlet for emotional expression to indigenous peoples residing in the greater Capitol Hill community.
The Denver Turnverein, 1570 Clarkson St., is a local, nonprofit dance hall and education center where members learn the educational, social and physical benefits of dancing. It will use its S.E.E.D. Award funding to enhance its neighborhood block by adding greenery and environmentally/climate appropriate landscaping.
2020 Good Neighbor Award recipients
Margie Valdez — The Tom Knorr Award for Community Service
Molly Williams — The Roger Armstrong Outstanding Volunteer Award
Rose Andom Center — Safe Neighborhood Award
Ivy on 7th and Carboy Winery — Neighborhood Character Award
Denver NEST Program — Homelessness and Affordable Housing Award
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