Bexley News

Bexley Community Foundation

2013 grants back projects tracking history, trees

Projects reflect collaboration among groups, public library

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Collaboration among community organizations is the focus of the Bexley Community Foundation's 2013 major grant cycle.

"We were pleased to see collaboration among our grantees," said Whitney Abraham, executive director of the Bexley Community Foundation. "Their work is invaluable to Bexley."

Prior to announcing the most recent recipients, the foundation's Program and Grants Committee convened to discuss the merits of each grant application, said Judy Brachman, the committee's chairwoman.

"Everyone has the opportunity to ask questions of the applicants," she said, "so we have quite a bit of information by the time we sit down."

When evaluating grant applications, the committee, which consists of about 10 community members, evaluated each proposal's benefit to the community as a whole, Brachman said.

The committee discussed "how broad the impact will be in the community," she said.

Among this year's grantees are the Bexley Public Library and the Bexley Historical Society, which are working together to capture historical artifacts in digital format through the Bexley Historical Digitization Project.

The foundation awarded a $23,000 grant to cover the costs of purchasing software, digital scanners and other equipment to create a Bexley Collection of online historical artifacts for public use.

The project met the foundation's guidelines of broad community impact, Brachman said.

"Having a Bexley Collection, virtually anyone who is online can access the collection," she said.

Working together to preserve the community's history was a natural fit for the library and the historical society, said Library Director Rachel Rubin.

"The Bexley community has such a rich history," she said. "We saw this partnership as an opportunity, and it made so much sense. Libraries are in the business of archiving information."

Once the equipment is purchased, the digitization process is likely to begin in mid- to late 2014. It will take several months to index photographs, deeds, letters and other items that will be included, Rubin said.

"We really do see this as a long-term process," she said.

Residents who are interested in contributing items to be archived should contact the historical society by visiting Bexleyhistory.org.

Another grant recipient is the Bexley Arboretum, which received a $12,000 grant to begin functioning as an accredited level II arboretum. The funds will allow the city of Bexley to label 100 species of trees in Bexley, identify arboretum borders and provide a GIS software system for plant collection management, Brachman said.

"The Arboretum is a good example of community impact," she said. "We were the first city in the nation to be designated an 'urban arboretum.' "

Other grants include:

* A $15,010 grant to St. Alban's Episcopal Church and the Jewish Community Center to partner in engaging middle school childrenin the creation of artistic and informative videos of stories from Bexley community members. The objective of the Digital Storytelling Project is to teach respect for others through appropriate communication skills and to avoid bullying.

* A $6,500 grant to a collaboration led by the city of Bexley and the Bexley Women's Club to create banners that will be posted along East Main Street and other prime locations for communitywide events. Other collaborators involved with the project are the Bexley Public Library, Friends of the Library and Bexley City Schools.

To celebrate this year's grant awards, the Bexley Community Foundation is gearing up for its annual event, to be held Oct. 2 at the Columbus Foundation, 1234 E. Broad St.

For more information regarding future applications for funding or event information, call Abraham at 614-235-4070 or email wabraham@bexleycommunityfoundation.org.

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