America Walks Announces Community Change Grantees
America Walks is pleased to announce the latest grantees of the Community Change Micro Grant program. This micro grant program provides funds that support grassroots efforts aimed at empowering communities to create more safe, accessible and enjoyable places to walk and be physically active. Now in its third year, this program has supported everything from new art to improved way-finding, local events to school engagement projects.
This year we received over 750 applications for projects that demonstrate the passion, creativity, and commitment of local walking champions. With support from partners, including Cooper’s Ferry Partnership via Get Healthy Camden, the Juliet Ashby Hillman Foundation, the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), Partners for Health Foundation, and WalkBoston, 27 projects will be supported in 2018. Projects will receive funds as well as support and other resources from America Walks and other members of the Every Body Walk! Collaborative.
“We are excited to engage with these communities throughout 2018 and find ways to use their inspiring stories to encourage other walking champions,” said Executive Director Kate Kraft. “As we celebrate our 20th anniversary as an organization, we know all too well that our success in creating safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and be active stems directly from the strength and success of the thousands of community change agents who we work with around the US.”
Meet the newest class of Community Change Grantees in their own words.
Arnoldsburg Elementary, Arnoldsburg, WV
Arnoldsburg Elementary is a community school. We are seeking funds to improve the walking trail at our Community Park. Our town has no sidewalks or designated walking trails besides this area. Getting lights for this trail would benefit the whole area by increasing the hours of availability.
Bristol Bay Borough, Naknek, AK
The Bristol Bay Borough is located in Southwest Alaska and accessible by air or water. The communities of King Salmon, Naknek, and South Naknek house a population of 844 people. IN the summer months the populations grows in excess of 10,000 people who participate in and support the world’s largest Sockeye Salmon Fishery. The economy revolves around the tax revenue and sales of salmon. The salmon also support a large recreational sport fishing business with many lodges operating in the area. The Borough is also the gateway to Katmai National Monument, famous for bear viewing. The Borough hosts the Sockeye Fitness Trail, Kvlmarvik Pool, basketball courts and indoor gyms. The project will hire a contractor to clear the overgown areas of a local trail, resurface trail areas that are not easily walked and inspect the exercise equipment for any needed maintenance or safety issues.
Cave City Tourist & Convention Commission, Cave City, KY
Cave City Trail Town is a community organization working to promote and develop outdoor adventure and healthy lifestyle to residents and tourists. The Cave City Trail Town effort is sponsored by the Cave City Tourist & Convention Commission, which was formed in 1980 to promote and market Cave City as the home of Mammoth Cave National Park, the second oldest tourist attraction in the United States. Creating interesting and educational wayfinding and art along the existing sidewalk infrastructure will promote walkability as a means of exercise while conveying history to visitors and residents.
City of Cupertino, Cupertino, CA
Cupertino Safe Route 2 School strives to create a safer environment for Cupertino students and families to travel to and from school actively. This program unites educators, parents, students, city planners and engineers, business and community leaders, bicycle and pedestrian advocates, community volunteers, etc. to examine conditions around schools and come together to share ideas, recommend projects to improve safety and accessibility, and reduce traffic and air pollution in the vicinity of our local schools. With this grant, we hope to increase the number of middle school students who walk during or outside of school hours using a student-driven initiative.
City of Dearborn, Dearborn, MI
The City of Dearborn, hometown of Henry Ford, is a community of almost 100,000 residents within the Detroit Metro Area. The City aims to create additional safe space for non-motorized traffic in one of its commercial corridors by implementing a crosswalk installation that will consist of a themed artistic pattern as a visual warning to vehicular traffic.
City of High Point, High Point, NC
The City of High Point’s Parks and Recreation, Library and Engineering staff will collaborate to identify walkable and safe routes, and create maps based on this information. We will utilize the grant money, in order to create maps of the routes to be given out at the High Point Public Library, where the High Point Farmers Market is located on Saturday mornings.
City of Mulberry, Mulberry, AR
The City of Mulberry is a municipal government located in Mulberry Arkansas, with a population of 1,655. Sixty-seven percent of our residents are low to moderate income. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound within our community and we stress healthy living.
Our project would be the installation of solar lights at our City Park for the safety and security of our citizens. Having solar lights would allow citizens to use the park whenever they wanted. Solar lights will help to illuminate the trail. The new lights will also encourage those who have not been walking to get out and use the trails.
City of Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland, OR
PedPDX: Portland’s Citywide Pedestrian Plan will prioritize sidewalks, crossing improvements, and other investments to make walking safer and more comfortable across the city. The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) will make a video that tells the story of PedPDX, the range and diversity of needs that Portlanders have when it comes to walking, and how public feedback impacts the plan and decision-making. PBOT will use the video (and shortened snippets) to launch a social media campaign encouraging public dialogue about people’s own walking stories that may be used throughout the PedPDX report to bring home what we learned.
City of Pryor Creek, Pryor, OK
Rural city in the state of Oklahoma, population of 9,865 per census report. While cities are totally dependent on sales tax revenue and not being able to comingle funds, grants are beneficial in safety, helath, and other initiatives. This project allows the city to improve crosswalks with updated lighting and signage. It allows the city to maintain ADA compliance in existing areas. The grant provides for materials and the city provides the labor, it is a win for all.
Ellsworth Garden Club, Ellsworth, ME
Ellsworth’s Green Plan Steering Committee is leading a citizens’ initiative focused on developing a phased plan to guide this Maine city in becoming a model green community. A key component of this plan will be a system of accessible, walkable and bikable corridors linking neighborhoods with the downtown core- and in particular, making the City’s historic riverfront more accessible. The Riverwalk Project will refurbish and extend a neglected and scenic walkway connecting an elementary school, a residential neighborhood and lakefront green space with the grounds of the city library as well as restaurants, businesses and offices on the main street.
Feet First Philly, Philadelphia, PA
Feet First Philly is a pedestrian advocacy group sponsored by the Clean Air Council. Our aims are to raise awareness of issues facing pedestrians in the City of Philadelphia, improve the pedestrian environment, protect the rights of pedestrians, and encourage walking as a mode of transportation, as well as for exercise and recreation.
Feet First Philly will work with community groups to evaluate the safety of walking corridors or intersections in their neighborhoods and provide low-cost improvements where appropriate. Feet First Philly will rely on volunteers for the evaluations and community partners to maintain the improvements that are implemented.
Friends of Patterson Park, Baltimore, MD
The Friends of Patterson Park is a 501c3 organization with a mission to ensure the park’s vitality and encourage its use and appreciation by neighbors, visitors, and future generations. This grant will support our Junior Pagoda Docent Program, which will train Baltimore youth to help run an after-school program for elementary school children who live walking distance to the park. Children will arrive at the park via a “walking school bus” and then enjoy a tour of the park’s historic Pagoda, as well as fitness and arts activities, encouraging them to walk to and around the park with their parents.
Hudson Valley Community Services, Inc., Hawthorne, NY
Hudson Valley Community Services’ mission is to promote prevention and wellness for all people, to encourage life-affirming decisions maximizing their quality of life, and to coordinate care for those with complex health conditions. Walk it Off will operate in Poughkeepside, NY, and target individuals who are living with a complex health condition and are obese. Participants will attend six monthly sessions. These sessions will cover walking-related topics, and clients will set walking goals. Staff will offer support and help participants find ways to overcome any barriers to achieving their walking goals. Participation will result in weight loss and improved health.
KC Healthy Kids, Kansas City, KS
KC Healthy Kids rallies the people in our communities to improve access to affordable fresh food and safe places to walk and play. We shape policies that improve our food system and physical surroundings, and, ultimately, the places where we live, work, learn, and play.
With The Walking Detective, kids can conduct walking audits to find clues and collect evidence to show how walkable their communities are. A scoring guide helps them evaluate sidewalks, crosswalks, traffic, safety, and amenities like parks and benches. They can build a case report to show city officials what things need to be improved.
Local 20/20, Port Townsend, WA
Local 20/20, an all-volunteer grassroots non-profit located in East Jefferson County, WA, is dedicated to promoting self-reliance, sustainability and resiliency at a community level. It recognizes motorized transportation as a major source of greenhouse gases, and promotes walking, biking and mass transit as climate-friendly options.
The grant will fund the implementation of walking maps into the local transit system. Local 20/20 recently created a map with walking times to various locations around town. Signs with the maps will be placed on the major bus stops around our community, and handouts with the maps will be placed inside the buses.
Montclair Center, Montclair, NJ
The Montclair Center BID is directly responsible for the music performances, beautification projects including plants and decorations, banners, wayfinding signage and maintenance throughout our district located in Essex County, NJ. Montclair is a high-traffic area which could be made even more pedestrian friendly with slower, more cautious drivers. The BID will use the America Walks grant to purchase pedestrian walk signs to better alert drivers to crosswalks and pedestrian traffic. The BID also will promote the initiative through traditional media outreach and promoted, targeted posts on social media to remind as many people as possible to “Slow it Down, Downtown”
Oregon Walks, Portland, OR
Oregon Walks is the state’s pedestrian advocacy organization. We are dedicated to making walking, and the conditions for walking, safe, convenient, and attractive for everyone. This project will elevate safety priorities in East Portland, with a goal of delivering a complete streets project in the Rosewood community. We will host community advocate trainings for local residents, as well as deliver Oregon Walkways – a walking-focused open streets event – as a part of our outreach and engagement strategy with the local community and in partnership with The Rosewood Initiative.
Partnership for Providence Parks, Providence, RI
Providence Recreation Department, Partnership for Providence Parks and Providence College announce the first-of-its-kind Walking Rec Van (WRV)through generous funding by America Walks! WRV is based on the national Walking School Bus model where students who must walk to school are escorted by trained volunteers. WRV will provide supervised access to after-school recreation services for underserved youth 5-15 who live 1+ miles from a recreation center including nutritious meals, homework help, quality sports and arts programming, and the benefits of walking. It will combine fitness, food, fun…and more!
Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, Westminster, CO
The Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center (RMMSC) improves the quality of life of individuals and their families living with multiple sclerosis and related neurological diseases through care, support, education and research. The purpose of our America Walks project is to enhance the walking path at the King Adult Day Enrichment Program facility so that: people with severe neurological disabilities have increased opportunities to engage in regular physical exercise outdoors; neighbors have access to the walking path on evenings and weekends; and RMMSC can host its annual “Multiple Summits for MS” walking event to raise awareness about neurological diseases, build community, and promote exercise.
The Salvation Army, Camden, NJ
The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, NJ is a 120,000 square foot facility on a 24-acre campus offering human services, health and fitness, as well as spiritual, community and educational programming for Southwest New Jersey communities, particularly Camden City. The funded project allows us to continue our walking bus program for our after school program 5 days a week. Children are active through walking and then participate in arts, STEAM and academic support programming with a hot dinner. We will implement clean-up days for our walking routes and add to our safety gear.
Santa Ana Pueblo, Santa Ana Pueblo, NM
The Tamaya Wellness Program has been providing programming to increase physical activity and improve nutrition habits at Santa Ana Pueblo since 1999. This project will enhance recreation paths at Santa Ana Pueblo by adding signage. The signs will include words in Keres, distances and other interactive information on the benefits of walking. Since the language is not a written language, an audio component could make it possible for the community to hear the words as well as read them to increase the educational aspect of the signage. In this way, we will increase use of the paths and support language learning.
Shoals Community Clinic, Florence, AL
SHOALS WALK ACROSS ALABAMA will be a 10-week walking event held during the Scale Back Alabama challenge, a state initiative to address obesity. The clinic and its partners will offer both indoor and outdoor walking activities encouraging a more active lifestyle to the community at large, and better weight and health levels for participants.
The Shoals Community Clinic is a non-profit organization serving residents of Northwest Alabama. Established in 1997, the clinic provides primary health and dental care as well as wellness and preventative health programs. It is a partner agency of United Way of Northwest Alabama.
South Boston Boys and Girls Club, South Boston, MA
We will use the funds for a walking club – The Condon Walking Bus. Our staff walk as many 55 kids each day three large city blocks from their school (Condon) to our after-school program. These are kids who do not have school bus transportation or other safe and reliable means to get to the program. The kids learn how to help each other, and how to keep themselves safe while walking in the city. They receive the health benefits from exercise and community benefits from belonging to a positive group.
The Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club is the most comprehensive youth program in South Boston, offering the widest range of programs and serving the highest numbers of young people. A part of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston (BGCB), we have been providing South Boston youth with life-changing opportunities for 79 years.
The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is to help young people, especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. We do this by providing: a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs.
The Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club served 323 youth per day during the 2016-17 school year. The Club served 1,105 youth in FY17 (an increase of 193 over the prior year) and 744 attended at least once per week.
St. Paul Transportation Management Organization, St. Paul, MN
A recently-merged organization, Transit for Livable Communities & St. Paul Smart Trips is committed to ensuring that all Minnesotans have access to transportation that is safe, affordable, sustainable, and healthy. We promote a bold vision that actively supports biking, walking, and transit.
Our project, Bridging a Path to Health, sparks conversations about the impact Interstate 94 still has on the well-being of the Rondo community, which was displaced by the freeway’s construction in the 1960s. Support from America Walks will fund community walking tours as part of the larger project, and inform recommendations to regional authoritative body the Metropolitan Council.
Town of Olla, Olla, LA
The Town of Olla, a community of 1,400 residents in central Louisiana, have embarked on a healthy communities initiative and desire to create a sense of place in the town’s courtyard area. The courtyard is located in the historic district and is adjacent to the Farmers’ Market, local arts center and town’s meeting hall. With the addition of outdoor seating, this area will become a gathering place for people of all ages. This new outdoor classroom will help to reinvigorate the downtown area by becoming a hub for walking clubs, cooking demos, yoga classes or art walks.
Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership, Warren, OH
TNP is a 501c3 non-profit community development corporation with a mission to empower residents through programming and projects that improve the quality of life in the neighborhoods of Warren, Ohio. TNP will host 4 walks within neighborhoods to be held during the nationwide Jane’s Walk events on May 4-6. Our neighborhoods are rebuilding and residents are seeking a voice. Through these walks, neighbors will begin a collective discussion about their neighborhood’s challenges and opportunities. A resident leader will guide participants along a path through the neighborhood ending at site where a next steps discussion will be held.
Urban Health Partnerships, Inc., Miami, FL
Urban Health Partnerships (UHP) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to invest in communities by co-designing sustainable change and promoting equity and wellbeing. UHP brings a unique lens to place-based and community initiatives as its multidisciplinary team is able to integrate multiple perspectives to implement policy, system, and environment change. The NW 2nd Street project in Little Havana will improve walkability and access to Henderson Park, through built environment improvements. This project will serve as an example for how streets can be transformed to increase safety, promote active transportation, increase access to assets, and build greater social connection.