Colony Youngstown Gets $10K Grant from Cafaro Foundation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Cafaro Foundation awarded The Colony Youngstown a $10,000 grant to help the organization with start-up costs associated with creating certification trainings for developing professionals, as well as displaced and emerging workforce members who are looking to take advantage of new opportunities in the sustainable green-space field.

The Colony Youngstown is a community development organization with a mission to engage, organize and mobilize residents around important initiatives aimed at improving the community. Ongoing activities include hosting neighborhood workshops around community development, certification program development, green space and green infrastructure installations, and facilitating cultural enrichment initiatives.

The grant will also help pay for initial design costs for Emerald Corridor, a low impact development demonstration project that is being done on 14 properties on Avondale Avenue and Boston Avenue of the city’s south side. Emerald Corridor will incorporate low impact development through various practices, which may include rain gardens, amended soils, native plantings, tree preservation and pervious concrete or paver components, depending on the final design.

A portion of the grant will go to developing the website for the colony’s community enrichment project, “I am a Poem Youth Poetry and Spoken Word Scholarship Festival” that is scheduled for next fall at the amphitheater.

“We started off as a group of friends that just wanted to have a positive impact on our own community,” said Keland Logan, executive director of The Colony Youngstown. “In 2017 first ward councilman, Julius Oliver, introduced me to April Mendez of Green Print Partners and that’s when we found our niche. The purpose of GI (stormwater mitigation) combined with the co-benefits (improved health, decreased crime, economic driver, increased value) in an area like Mahoning Valley made it a no brainer for us. Although at the time the future of this industry in the valley was uncertain, we felt as though it was and is the future of not only environmental sustainability but community development as well.”

Over the previous 18 months, the colony hosted 10 community education workshops and two awareness initiatives. In total these engaged over 3,000 residents. The organization also started a demonstration rain garden on the corner of Warren Avenue and Hillman Street that will be completed this spring with help from the Youngstown State University student group, Youngstown Environmental Sustainability Society, or YESS.

The Colony Youngstown’s Logan is traveling to Washington D.C. later this month to attend Water Week with the Water Environment Federation to talk with members of congress and the Environmental Protection Agency about the work being done in the Mahoning Valley. He is also registered for Coffee and Constituents with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, where he will engage the leaders for support of this area with respect to sustainable green projects and workforce development.

Anthony Cafaro, Sr., on behalf of the Cafaro Foundation, said “Our contribution is a vote of confidence in the work that The Colony Youngstown is doing. Its efforts to make the city more economically vital and improve the lives of its citizens is something we should all embrace.”

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