15 for its 15th: Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation to host grant challenge to improve neighborhood

In honor of its 15th anniversary, the Saint Anthony Park Community Foundation is hosting a $15,000 grant challenge. The competition will open May 11 with an announcement at the special Music in the Park/Community Foundation anniversary concerts featuring the New Standards.

Foundation grants chair Bruce Weber said the board decided to celebrate 15 years as a granting organization by inviting the community to come up with ideas to improve St. Anthony Park.

“We wanted to challenge our existing nonprofits as well as individual neighbors to think longer term about what makes this community great and how we can support new ideas to keep it that way,” he said.

To encourage that long-range creativity, the $15,000 will be paid out over three years with the first $5,000 awarded this fall.

Jon Schumacher, the foundation’s longtime executive director, hopes the competition sparks the creative imagination of all neighbors and breathes some fresh air into the granting process.

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“I think we can sometimes get in a bit of a rut around our annual grant cycle,” Schumacher stated. “This is a chance to do something different and really get the community involved in the process.”

The competition is open to any individual or group that serves the District 12 area of St. Paul. Submissions will be accepted from May 11 to July 31. At that time, the foundation board will select the top three entries based on the following criteria: originality, degree of impact and feasibility of implementation.

Those three entries will be made public Aug. 11 and community members will have a chance to vote for their favorite until Aug. 31. The winner will be announced at the foundation’s anniversary party scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19. Application forms and information are available on the foundation’s website at sapfoundation.org.

The organization’s 15th anniversary is a chance to honor the entire community, said Erica Schumacher, the foundation’s board chair.

“Thanks to the generosity of our neighbors and business community, we have been able to award more than $400,000 in grants to support our neighborhood schools and nonprofits,” she said. “Add to that our growing endowment fund and the community-building efforts of our executive director, and we feel there’s a lot to celebrate.”

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