D&G Foundation awards $6m in grants for community initiatives

Six community-based philanthropic organisations have each received $1 million in the finals of the heavily contested Desnoes and Geddes (D&G) Foundation 6 for 60 competition.

Two outstanding community development programmes from each of the three counties won grants which will fund initiatives in the areas of sport, environmental conservation, education, or culture.

The six winners, chosen from more than 120 entries, were announced recently during a ceremony at Red Stripe’s Spanish Town Road, St Andrew, brewery.

“The D&G Foundation has several ongoing community development initiatives of its own, however, in recognition of Jamaica’s Diamond Jubilee we wanted to celebrate the spirit of community by supporting the work of grass-roots organisations that are making a difference,” said D&G Foundation’s Director Dianne Ashton-Smith.

“The judging process was difficult owing to the number of great programmes and the many Jamaicans who are sacrificing their time and resources daily to uplift those around them. The six winning projects are shining examples of what small groups of like-minded people can accomplish when they come together and work towards a good cause,” added Ashton-Smith.

The winning initiatives from Cornwall County were the Dumfries Moves project in St James, which is an effort to complete renovation to the community centre used to provide mental health and other support to community members, and the Thornton Community Club project in St Elizabeth, that involves renovating local community centres where residents receive educational, mental health, and other support.

Thornton Community Club member Shereace Senior explained, “Our organisation does a lot of outreach programmes, many of them targeted at unengaged youth. We also provide care packages and have sports teams to help build a fellowship among community youth.

“We have already partnered with HEART/NSTA Trust to provide some training programmes for our youth, and we plan to use the community centre as the home for those programmes. The centre is currently not in use, but we have started refurbishing it. This money from D&G Foundation will help us complete some essential elements of the renovations, like lighting and kitchen fixtures. We’re really grateful for this assistance to help us realise our dream.”

New Horizons Christian Outreach Ministries and Bucknor Homework and Community Centre took home the million-dollar grants for initiatives in Middlesex County.

The New Horizons project in St Catherine provides skills training and develops entrepreneurship among vulnerable community youth. The Bucknor Homework and Community Centre in Clarendon offers homework support and provides access to computers and Internet services for all community residents.

“Our programme operates a community computer centre, and we want to build out that space so students can get help with homework and access computers to help with their school work. With this prize we can renovate the centre, purchase more computers, and create a printing centre for students,” asserted David Thomas, leader of the Bucknor initiative.

The two prizes for projects in Surrey went to the Social Work Training and Research Centre at The University of the West Indies, Mona campus and the Eastwood Gardens Youth for Progress Club in Cassia Park, St Andrew, which hosts student classes, training, and community events.

Cerita Buchanan from the Social Work Training and Research Centre welcomed the prize, noting that the grant will help the institute’s One Step Away from Greatness project, which provides on-campus accommodation for students in need.

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