Common Good Grant Program Awards $15,050 to Local Non-Profits

Story posted April 16, 2008

Students participating in the 2008 Common Good Grant Program have awarded $15,050 to nine organizations in the greater Brunswick community. The program provides students the opportunity to learn about philanthropy while becoming familiar with the work and challenges of non-profit organizations.

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(L. to r.) Heather Page of Bath Community Garden, Alison Spencer '08 and Kelly Pitts '08 at the reception to award the Common Good Grants.

The Common Good Grant Program was established in 2001 by an anonymous alumnus who instituted an annual gift of $10,000 for a 12-member group of Bowdoin students to allocate to local non-profits in the form of grants.

This year, the base of $10,000 was supplemented by $5,050 in funds raised by students on the Common Good Grant Program Extension Committee. The raised funds enabled the students to support two additional projects.

A total of 23 applications from local organizations were submitted in February and reviewed by the committee in March. Overall to date, the program has allocated more than $91,000 to fund community projects.

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(L. to r.) Katherine Wen '10, Matt Carpenter '10, Ted Repa of Habitat for Humanity Seven Rivers Maine

Students participated in a rigorous educational and selection process, meeting weekly throughout the year to learn about philanthropy, non-profit organizational structures, grant writing, fundraising and donor relations. The program concluded Tuesday, April 15, 2008, when the students presented checks to recipient organizations at a dessert reception in Main Lounge of Moulton Union.

"Through this process I learned about the breadth and strength of Midcoast non-profit organizations," said Krista Bahm '11. "After a year of learning about philanthropy and non-profits, I have a whole new outlook on Bowdoin's ideal of the common good."

The Common Good Grant Program is coordinated by the Community Service Resource Center with volunteer support from community members and administrators in the Office of Development. The grant application is available each year in mid-November and can be downloaded here.

The 2007-2008 Common Good Grant recipients are:

Bath Community Garden (Bath)
The Bath Community Garden provides gardening plots to residents of the Lambert Park neighborhood. The garden provides fresh foods and helps connect residents of the area. The grant will fund a project to secure a permanent water source for the garden.

Bath Youth Meetinghouse and Skatepark Center (Bath)
The organization's meetinghouse and skatepark provides a place for hands-on self-expression for youth in a safe, positive and nurturing environment. In collaboration with The Home Depot in Topsham, the grant will be used to create a women's restroom so that the skatepark will be more accessible to women.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (Bath/Brunswick)
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick supports stable, enriching relationships between children and adult mentors. The grant will fund the Big for a Day program, through which children on the waiting list are paired with a mentor for a day and participate in activities such as bowling and drumming.

Brunswick Teen Center/People Plus (Brunswick)
The Brunswick Teen Center provides a safe environment for young people to explore creative outlets and utilize their talents. The center will offer a free SAT/ACT college test preparation course for 50 Brunswick students. The grant will help pay for materials and the cost of the instructor.

Family Crisis Services (Brunswick)
Family Crisis Services provides important resources to victims and survivors of domestic violence and also strives to alter the larger institutional and cultural values in which such abuse is fostered. Funds will be used to print and distribute outreach materials advertising Family Crisis' services and presence in the community.

Family Focus (Bath)
Family Focus is provides affordable community-based services for families with children in the Midcoast area, including childcare at centers in Bath and Brunswick, before and after school care in SAD 75, and the Healthy Families program. This project will create a 17-week music and movement education program for 100 children from the Bath and Brunswick Early Learning Centers, led by Matt Loosigian '03 of Earth Jams.

Habitat for Humanity (Bath)
Habitat for Humanity builds and renovates houses for low-income families. The grant will help fund materials to restore and repair the homes of several low-income families in the community.

Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (Brunswick)
SASSMM provides advocacy and support for survivors of sexual assault. Funds will expand a school-based education program that provides education about safe and healthy relationships.

Sweetser (Brunswick)
Sweetser provides support services to mental and behavioral health patients and their families. Funds will be directed to a program that transports low-income Midcoast residents to and from medical appointments.


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