Growing Hope receives $75,000 challenge grant from anonymous donor
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Growing Hope just got a major boost to its capital campaign fund — a donor who prefers to remain anonymous gave them $75,000 upfront, along with a $75,000 challenge grant they only can receive if they match that amount in donations by October 2012.
The Ypsilanti-based organization provides training for community members, schools and low-income families to create vegetable gardens, hold educational programs on healthy foods and run the Downtown Ypsilanti Farmers’ Market. The organization has spent the past four years developing its Growing Hope Center, a full headquarters located at 922 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti.
The 1.4 acre working urban farm includes a house that is slowly being renovated that will include a commercial kitchen and office and training space.
The grant could enable Growing Hope to finish the renovations and move into a new location this March.
“It is really exciting,” said Amanda Edmonds, executive director of Growing Hope. “We are anxious to move in and complete our campaign.”
The group has raised more than $500,000 over the past four years for this campaign. The initial $75,000, with the potential for an additional $150,000, will bring them closer to their million-dollar goal, which includes retiring the debt on the property.
At the anonymous foundation donor’s request, the organization will work to expand its donor base to reach those who may not have been engaged in Ypsilanti or with the organization before.
“This is a chance to leverage a different base of support to reach more donors who see the value of an organization like ours which helps others improve their own lives,” Edmonds said.
With plenty of green space but still within city limits, the site was selected for its proximity to the low income neighborhoods it serves, as well as easy access to bus routes. Edmunds welcomes the opportunity to give interested visitors tours of their site, which features a 3,000 square foot hoop house, an adobe oven used to make pizza, beehives and community beekeepers as part of the Ypsilanti Honey Project and scales of various home gardens that showcase what low income families are doing at their own homes.
The property serves as a demonstration site for being “green on a shoestring,” Edmonds said.
Those interested can go to www.growinghope.net to make a donation to the campaign or learn more about volunteering opportunities.