With nearly 4,000 votes cast by the viewing public, Toro announced on Dec. 3 the grant recipients in its second annual ‘Green Spaces Make Great Places’ program. The program awards funds to communities and non-profits seeking to improve outdoor environments across America.
The recipient of the most votes and the $7,000 first-place grant is Wonder Workshop. The Wonder Workshop Children’s Museum in Manhattan, Kan., is working to create a new outdoor garden space that is healthy and green. The program’s goal is to teach kids how to grow healthy foods, and give them a safe and fun place to play outdoors.
The $4,000 second-place grant recipient is Unity Charter School. The school, located in Morristown, N.J., recently relocated to a larger building in a semi-industrial area with a lack of green space. Using funds raised by the parents in the community, the group created a playground and small turf field. They also have plans to transform an additional area to serve as an outdoor classroom for students.
The two remaining finalists, Growing Solutions and the Irmo Arbor Day Commission, each will receive a $2,000 grant.
The Julie+Michael Tracy Foundation and Growing Solutions Farm, located in Chicago, took a barren 1.5-acre city plot and are converting it into a vocational therapeutic garden to help young adults with autism learn life and career skills.
The Irmo Arbor Day Commission is raising funds to complete major beautification projects at local schools and in other areas around the town of Irmo, S.C. In addition to creating green areas for kids, funds raised by the organization have helped beautify a new veteran’s park and facilitated the planting of crepe myrtles along the railroad tracks that run through the town.
“All of the finalists shared a compelling story in their efforts to help others through education or by improving green spaces,” explained Judson McNeil, manager of Toro Giving. “We are thrilled to be able to help further their individual causes and the greater impact on the community.”
The four finalist organizations each submitted a video explaining their proposed initiative and how the grant would help further efforts to improve green spaces. Public voting determined the grant level awarded to each group.