Here’s the rundown on what projects we’ve funded so far:
January Grant – Westside Community Garden | Tonya Rooks
February Grant | Youth Basketball Uniforms | Chattanooga Elite Basketball
March Grant – Deep Creek Climbing Routes | Michael Wurzel
April Grant – Ukelele Camp | Folk School of Chattanooga
May Grant – MLK on MLK (mural) | Kevin Bate
June Grant - Summer camp Scholarships | Girls, Inc.
July Grant – Back To School Backpack Program & Party | Jessica Martin
August Grant – Don’t Touch | Amy Johnson
September Grant – PlayCore Buildout | Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center
October Grant – Emergency Weather Warning Systems – Chris Berryman | Signal Centers
November Grant – Pop-Up Film Series 2013 | Mise En Scenesters
December Grant – Concert Music N.O.T.E.S | Music Therapy Gateway In Communications, Inc.
January Grant – The Musical Tree Quilt | David & Yang Welch
February Grant – Environmental Connections | Lookout Mountain Conservancy
March Grant – Edible Nature | Beverly Bardin, a student at Ivy Academy
April Grant – Summer Art Camp | BRUSH Paint and Sip
May Grant – Mrs. Jessica’s Summer Camp | Mrs. Jessica Lawrence
June Grant – 1 Million Cups Chattanooga | 1 Million Cups
July Grant – Art Bikes & Local Students | Art 120
2012 Grant Details
Our first grant was to the College Hill Courts Residency Council, headed by Tonya Rooks. The UNfoundation granted towards the implementation of a community garden that now belongs to the West Side residents. The graden was created to meet the need created by the ever increasing ‘food desert’ scenario in the Westside. Raised beds were built to grow fresh produce to be consumed by the residents of the neighborhood. As a first project, we were really thrilled, and this quality set the tone for what was to come from The UnFoundation.
The Chattanooga Elite Basketball league was the recipient of our February grant. Kathleen Hunt, a volunteer, applied for a grant to cover a set of 100 uniforms for their players. Wee granted Chattanooga Elite Basketball $1,700 for the purchase of uniforms, and they came out great. Reversable, and reusable for seasons, these Jerseys were high quality. The UNFoundation felt that crisp uniforms would make youth feel like they are a part of a team; a part of something worth working for. Sometimes the only after-school activity available, this program leverages the youth’s excitement about basketball to promote teamwork, leadership, and academic skills.
We funded the Southeastern Climber’s Association to go climb, develop, and bolt routes all over Lookout Mountain, Signal Mountain, Mowbray Mountain, and Monteagle Mountain. And they’re still going. They’re establishing between 25-35 new routes across this area, improving and promoting Chattanooga as an innovative outdoor city.
In April, we granted to the Folk School of Chattanooga to enable them to pursue an effort to establish ukelele teaching programs in partnership with other Chattanooga non-profits. They currently already have a program underway at the St. Andrews Center and two others currently in development. The Folk School of Chattanooga will run a short series of teacher training sessions with the ukelele, enabling music instructors to teach and engage with their students in their communities. There will be a core curriculum that the ukelele projects draw from, ultimately enabling groups from all over the city to potentially come together and play in one large ensemble.
MLK on MLK was our May Grant, it’s a mural of Martin Luther King Jr. that will go on Martin Luther King Blvd. in the heart of Downtown Chattanooga. Martin Luther King Jr. fought for civil rights throughout his life and had an incredible impact on the world we live in today. He was a prominent, if not the most prominent, leader of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, adopting nonviolence as a form of protest and civil disobedience. He organized and led marches for the rights of African-Americans to vote, desegregation, and labor rights. Honoring his legacy with a mural is going to be simultaneously one of the coolest and most reverent things we’ve ever funded, and we’re excited about that.
For June, we donated $1,200 to Girls Inc.’s summer scholarship fund, providing three economically disadvantaged girls with a safe and enriching place to spend their summer break. Because of the UNFoundation, two girls attended “American Girl”, during which girls ages 6 to 11 investigated the differences and similarities between the urban, rural and suburban ways of life in America. Additionally, one girl attended “iGirl”, which introduced girls ages 12 to 14 to the exciting and ever-changing worlds of print, radio, television, and social media.
Our July Grant filled a financing gap for a new “backpack donor” program for kids living in the Hill City Neighborhood of Chattanooga. The new program sought to match kids with donors who would supply them with much needed backpacks and basic school supplies. 65 kids signed up for the program, but only 20 donors were available. The UNFoundation stepped in to provide funds for 45 backpacks to fill the entire demand, as well as help fund a portion of their annual “back to school” party. It’s hard to convey the goodness of a gym filled with kids getting a year’s worth of new school supplies on an awesome summer day!
This project will be shedding light into the underground sex industry taking place in our region. We are especially intrigued at the role that Chattanooga plays, as we are a trucking hub that heavily feeds into the demand (Interstates 24 and 75 intersecting in our town). Many individuals around Chattanooga are being exploited by the industry, and local documentation has been almost non-existent.
Amy will be shooting in large format film and will be producing many large scale pieces to be shown in and around the Chattanooga area.
The Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center sees thousands of kids a year walk through their doors and into the wonderful world of natural experiences. It is tough for families, however, to keep their youngest children entertained while the rest of the family enjoys the wonderful sights and sounds. Our September grant will help pay for the renovation of their playground for the youngest CNC visitors!
Chris was awarded $1,475 to install emergency warning systems into the homes of 9 identified deaf and/or handicapped families. These systems will strobe, shake the bed, and alert individuals in numerous ways of serious weather or other dangerous conditions that are on the way.
The units cost $165 a piece, and are unaffordable for the families identified for this project. Signal Centers is generously donating time and equipment required to install these systems!
Mise en Scenesters is a film club and a pop-up movie theater with the goal of providing more opportunities for people to see great films that aren’t likely to ever play a multiplex near them.
We funded these folks to show a series of great films throughout the early part of 2013. Specifically, the UNFoundation paid for film licensing fees and the assorted costs (promotional materials, venue rentals, etc.) that go into putting those events together. These films were a huge success and were well-attended, bringing some great cultural capital to the City of Chattanooga.
MTGIC is a non-profit 501c3 organization in the Chattanooga area with a mission of providing education and hands on assistance in the use of scientifically developed neurologic music techniques to help persons with special needs.
The UNFoundation funded an effort to present three performances of a solo piano recital, including a pre-concert lecture discussing neural effects of music on the brain. The result was a broader group of Chattanoogans are exposed to concerts and typical concert patrons gained an additional insight into music and a broader perspective of the role it can play in therapy.
2013 Grant Details
David is a recent MIT alumni and Yang is an artist and design engineer. Together, David and Yang came to the UNFoundation and pitched an idea: a musical quilt that honors the flora of southeast Tennessee. They’ve combined traditional quilting methods with e-textiles and open-hardware embedded devices, creating a quilt that sings to the touch. They’re using their research to further their endeavors in e-textile crafting, open-source music, and research.
The project uses conductive and piezoresitive fabrics that ultimately comes together to create a unique instrument. The goal is to create a 4×3 feet quilt, composed of 4 panels, with each panel featuring a tree of special significance to the Southern Appalachians. They’ve organized a talk with a class of fifth graders and plan to present to other local schools as well.
The UNFoundation funded the Lookout Mountain Conservancy, an organization funded in 1991 with the mission to protect Lookout Mountain’s resources of scenic, historical, and ecological value through Conservancy, Advocacy, Recreation, and Education. The project we funded allows the organization to engage and partner with The Center for Mindful Living to provide an outdoor classroom experience for the students of The Howard School.
The program has two parts. First, Environmental Education, which teaches students about invasive plant and proper treatment, issues surrounding erosion, and restoration of land with native plants. Second, Personal Growth and Leadership Development, which gives students a medium to learn about themselves, their environment, and their classmates. Students are able to feel safe enough to develop skills to work with each other in an outdoor, non-violent environment. Connecting kids to the lands they live on has been a rewarding experience for this organization and the UNFoundation was excited to fund such a successful program.
Beverly Bardin, a recent graduate of Ivy Academy, submitted an application to the UNFoundation to fund a cookbook that would be distributed to area students and community members. At Ivy Academy, students get a strong focus on the flora and fauna on the campus, giving the curriculum an emphasis on nature and biology.
For her senior project, Beverly created a cookbook of recipes from native plants that are indigenous to the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy adjacent to the school’s campus. The cookbook consisted of ten recipes and a list of different teas that will educate readers on how to use local plants to enhance both their culinary skills and a broader appreciation for the environment around them. She wants to make an impact on 310 young people by doing field trips and publishing the book for others to read.
BRUSH Paint and Sip is a painting part business based in Chattanooga. The business is owned by John and Connie Tallman. John is an artist with over 20 years experience in art and teaching. Connie has over 20 years of experience in the business world. They offer classes to businesses, organizations, and individuals to folks that typically have no prior experience in art.
In coordination with the Glass House Collective, the UNFoundation funded BRUSH to offer a one-week summer art camp to some of the most vulnerable and under-served children in the Chattanooga community. It was free for participants and provided an opportunity for these kids to experience art in a way they had never before.
Mrs. Jessica Lawrence, a longtime resident of East Lake Courts, started a summer camp over ten years ago for the children in her community. She wanted to create a safe and fun place for children to be able to go for the summer months. While social services and education funding is being cut from municipal and state budgets across the United States, the UNFoundation was eager to fund such an awesome example of do-it-yourself community building.
The summer camp ran from May 28 through August 7, with the hopes of transitioning to an after school program. The camp was organized as a collaboration between the East Lake Courts Recreation and Community Center, Grove Street Settlement House, and the Chattanooga Housing Authority—all with the help of some critical volunteers including university students from area Universities and Colleges. A majority of the attendants were students from Clifton Hills Elementary or East Lake Elementary, where over 95% of students are receiving free or reduce lunches. The program provided a critical source of meals for breakfast and lunch each day, but also a place for them to continue critical learning through LEXIA, a computer-based reading program.
1 Million Cups is based on the premise that it takes a million cups of coffee and the conversations that begin around them to build a strong entrepreneurial community. Bill Brock and Allie O’Connell visited Kansas City in March where the concept began through a program of the Kauffman Foundation. They started with just a couple dozen people, and has grown to be a weekly staple of their startup community with 250 attendees every Wednesday morning.
1MC Chattanooga kicked off on May 29th with a presentation by Joe Ledbetter of Chattanooga Whiskey. The UNFoundation funded badly needed chairs, a projector, and a screen that was previously being borrowed and scraped together each week from local non-profits. The results are already occurring and gaining momentum each week. New Chattanooga business are getting feedback from potential customers and collaborators. Future entrepreneurs are exposed to an array of types of businesses and projects. Attendees are bouncing new business ideas off of one another
Art 120 is a local non-profit organization in Chattanooga that was launched to enrich Chattanooga and the surrounding community through the creation, education, and celebration of art.
The organization put together several series of art bike workshops, giving students the opportunity to present a concept in front of their peers, safely use power tools, measure and cut steel beams, and learn how to weld properly from an experienced professional. The kids came up with some fantastic ideas and produced four really cool art bikes: a car, bike, or wheeled contraption that has had its appearance modified to take the form of art. The UNFoundation funded them to take thirteen young minds from Chattanooga to the Mini Maker Faire in Atlanta to show off their creations. They’ll be exposed to over 7,500 makers and guests, and they’ll have the opportunity to see a variety of possibilities for their future.