Lots of Compassion 2023 Grant Winners
A graphic that shows a yellow watering can, a logo that reads Lots of Compasstion, and then below the words 2023 Lots of Compassion Winners

Congratulations to the 2023 Lots of Compassion Winners!

Together Mrs. Meyers Clean Day and KidsGardening offer their congratulations to the new Lots of Compassion grant program winners. This program is designed to support local leaders looking to transform vacant lots into gardens to help grow compassion in their community.

In 2023, the following 10 grantees will receive $20,000 each to transform a vacant lot into a garden. A total of $200,000 will be awarded.

Brookelyn Elias Promise (Wyoming, Michigan)

The nonprofit Brookelyn Elias Promise works with youth completing community service hours due to being involved in the juvenile court system. In honor of the founder’s daughter, Brookelyn, who passed away in 2014, the organization will transform a vacant lot into a garden to provide an opportunity for youth in the girls-only court, mental health court, and general juvenile court to learn to garden in the city. The garden will be used to teach team building and communication skills, and youth will design and lead the development of the new garden space.

City Fields (Cleveland, Tennessee)

The mission of City Fields is to be a catalyst for change in Cleveland, Tennessee's most overlooked and marginalized neighborhoods due to segregation and racism. During the civil rights movement, a federal highway was constructed directly through College Hill, which displaced families and businesses, and the neighborhood was left without access to healthy food as the local grocery store moved. City Fields will transform a city-owned vacant lot into a garden to provide fresh produce and opportunities to learn healthy eating habits.

Food Exploration and Discovery (Monrovia, California)

Food Exploration and Discovery’s mission is to empower all ages to think and act sustainability in their neighborhoods and ecosystems through reimagining outdoor education in gardening, composting, and volunteering. The City of Monrovia offered a vacant lot located near high-density housing and a local middle school. They will transform this vacant lot into a thriving garden with raised beds, storage, proper fencing, and a compost program.

Material Institute (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Material Institute will transform a vacant lot into a garden to promote equitable access to vegetables, encourage lasting community relationships with soil, and build community liberation through the land. The new garden will be the BIPOC Youth Garden, rooted in the majority-Black 7th ward neighborhood of New Orleans. The garden will provide fresh vegetables, plant medicine, and skills sharing rooted in the traditions of the African diaspora and will be a hub to support the development of additional garden endeavors in Southeast Louisiana.

Natchitoches Parish 4-H (Natchitoches, Louisiana)

4-H’s mission is to provide meaningful opportunities for youth and adults to work together to create sustainable community changes. This is accomplished within three content areas — citizenship, healthy living, and science, engineering, and technology. Natchitoches Parish 4-H will transform a vacant lot into a compassion garden, fostering a healthier and more empathetic community. The garden will serve as a platform for youth to connect with nature, learn sustainable practices, and develop a deeper understanding of the importance of caring for both the environment and their community.

Project GO (Pickens, South Carolina)

"Grow and Be Your Best" is the motto for Project GO Opportunity School, a restorative alternative education program. All students within the program have either transferred from another alternative school, come from the juvenile detention center, have been expelled, or are pending expulsion from the district. The new garden at Project Go will empower and engage students through hands-on garden-based learning.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio (Columbus, Ohio)

The mission of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. The House is currently under construction, and their previously established 10,000 square foot on-site garden had to be removed. Now, the House will re-establish the garden with edible crops to feed families in need, establish learning and educational opportunities throughout the space, engage community volunteers, and the garden space will provide a much-needed respite for families and children.

Shamokin Community Gardens and Pocket Parks (Shamokin, Pennsylvania)

Shamokin Community Gardens and Pocket Parks’ mission is to maintain community gardens/pocket parks as well as transform vacant lots into new gardens. Food insecurity is a reality in Shamokin, and by transforming a vacant lot into a community garden in the Fifth Ward, residents gain a sense of community and pride while reducing, in some part, food insecurity.

Umoja Community Gardens (Troy, New York)

Umoja Community Gardens is catalyzing a movement for Black Lives by nurturing Black organizers, building critical mass, and leading a citywide coalition. They are igniting a new infrastructure for Black leadership through mentorship and community events that offer healing, connection, and education. After successfully converting one vacant lot in 2022, Umoja Community Gardens acquired a larger second lot that will be transformed into a garden that grows food and fosters healing and compassion.

Workin Rootz (Detroit, Michigan)

Workin Rootz’s mission is to revitalize and reengage the community by reconnecting to the earth through land stewardship, food sovereignty, herbalism, and sustainability. Workin Rootz will transform a vacant lot into a children's sensory-themed garden to encourage families and children to incorporate more nature-based learning into each day. In Detroit, there are not enough safe, functional parks, and Workin Rootz sees this vacant lot transform as a solution to this challenge. The garden will be a safe space with lots of colors, textures, smells, tastes, and sounds that will allow the children to feel and be free.

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