This year's 2012 recipients of the Aquidneck Land Trust's Merritt Neighborhood Fund grants include several Portsmouth organizations.
This year, ALT's Merritt Fund has given $7,250 in grant awards to local neighborhood groups, schools and community associations for the preservation and use of small open spaces.
Fourteen organizations from Aquidneck Island's three municipalities have received grants: Methodist Community Gardens, Norman Bird Sanctuary, East Bay Community Action Program's NFCOZ and Head Start, Portsmouth Garden Club, Portsmouth Playground Committee, The Pennfield School, Sustainable Aquidneck, Friends of the Middletown Public Library, Rogers High School, St. Michael's Country Day School, St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Middletown Tree Association and Thompson Middle School.
All of this year's grant recipients were chosen because their proposed projects represent Peter Merritt's vision of fostering a greater sense of community and connection to the land through small scale land conservation and beautification projects. This year's grant awards will be used to expand community gardens that provide food to local shelters, creation of community gardens, creation of a water garden, installation of a well for garden irrigation, community clean up projects and for wildlife education projects.
The Merritt Neighborhood Fund at the Aquidneck Land Trust was established in 1999 to honor the late Peter M. Merritt, the organization's visionary Board President Emeritus, for his decade of leadership.
The purpose of the fund is to provide modest ($100 - $2,500) grants to Aquidneck Island neighborhood and community groups. To date, the Merritt Fund has awarded $70,000 to over 40 local groups for community gardens, park revitalization, repair and purchase of playground equipment and for landscaping.
ALT's time-sensitive mission is to conserve Aquidneck Island's open spaces and natural character for the lasting benefit of our community. The organization has conserved over 2,387 acres on 66 properties on Aquidneck Island. ALT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the first land trust in Rhode Island to have received national accreditation. For more information, visit www.AquidneckLandTrust.org.