By: Carol Shaw
To decide how to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the Greenbelt Community Foundation (GCF) board started with a question. “How can we help people experience what we are doing? We don’t have a building to tour or direct services to show.” What GCF does is support projects that enhance the cultural, artistic, recreational, social, or environmental quality of life in all parts of Greenbelt. In its first 10 years, the Foundation has provided over $150,000 in small grants for programs that enable local organizations to launch and carry out activities that provide practical and creative ways to address problems and to make improvements that benefit the Greenbelt community.
The answer — to understand GCF’s accomplishments means experiencing the projects it has funded. Thus, Explore Your Greenbelt was born. This campaign, from April to October, highlights fourteen of the 50 projects funded to date. People can tour the Greenbelt Arts Center (GAC) and use the ADA compliant bathrooms and automatic doors. They can bring food to the Labor Day Festival to support the Ladies of Charity of St. Hughes Food Pantry. They can see the flourishing wildlife — both flora and fauna — by walking around the pond at Hanover Parkway and Ora Glen Drive, courtesy of the Greenbelt Girls Scouts wetlands restoration project.
The fourteen projects were chosen because the public can directly experience and participate in them; and because they appeal to a broad audience, particularly young professionals, families and seniors. This criteria eliminated projects that are not open to the public or, for safety reasons, not focused on young children. Many of the projects included in the Explore Your Greenbelt campaign are outdoors and happen between April and October.
Each project is implemented by its parent organization. For example, the first event, held Friday, April 8, was an Open House hosted by the GAC. CHEARS organizes and implements the two day Green Man Festival in May. Eleanor Roosevelt High School’s music program produces and stages the Best of the Coffee House concert in October.
GCF helps promote each event and provides education about itself at each event. Its goal is to have more people in Greenbelt be aware of the depth and breadth of its accomplishments through the organizations it supports.
People are invited to explore the many events and activities supported by GCF that make Greenbelt a special place to live. There is a full schedule of Explore Your Greenbelt events at greenbeltfoundtation.net/explore or people can email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a copy.