With funding from the Transformation Initiative by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Long Beach Community Foundation distributed $80,000 in funding to nine recipients on Feb. 22 as part of the Leadership Long Beach Atlantic Corridor Phase Three Project, commonly referred to as the Connected Corridor. Phase Three focuses on the Central and Wrigley areas.
With a mission to connect the Atlantic corridor from the top of the town to downtown, Connected Corridor has already successfully completed Phases One and Two. Grants for Phases One, Two, and Three now total $240,000.
“As we progress along the Atlantic Avenue Corridor, we’re encouraged by how many community members and groups are becoming engaged in this process to connect and collaborate,” said Jim Worsham, president and CEO of the Long Beach Community Foundation. “The impact of the grant projects in Phase 3 will be significant for all who live and work in Central Long Beach and the Wrigley District.”
Tracy Colunga, Site Director for the City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Weed and Seed Program, received one of the grants. “With support from the Connected Corridor, we can increase programs and activities to meet the needs of low-income youth within the individual, school, family, and neighborhood systems,” she said.
Key to the success of the Connected Corridor project is creating collaborations among the multiple neighborhoods. Building on the success of last year’s October arts tour that brought residents right into the studios of talented local artists, Art City Tours will use its award to ensure that there is always an annual art tour during Long Beach’s October is Arts Month. This year’s event will take place on Oct. 2 and 3.
Since opening summer 2009, the Wrigley Garden has fed more than 40 families from its raised garden beds on the site of two former drug houses. A new grant-supported greenhouse will support community outreach and help gardeners understand where their food comes from while defraying the cost of new plants.
For The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, the grant provides an opportunity to let Atlantic Corridor businesses and residents know about the Burnett Library’s versatile Learning Express Program. Today’s library is inside, outside and online and offers business information services, community resource data, bilingual academic and job-skill building assistance, and practice job/career-related testing programs.
Working with Burnett Elementary School, Centro CHA will reach out to parents to help promote citizenship/civic engagement and parent participation through parent education workshops. Using an innovative approach, Dramatic Results teaches measurement and geometry through art-based basket weaving.
For the last 25 years, Pan African Art Gallery and Studio has combined art lessons with a curriculum that includes social and cultural awareness and artistic expression while enhancing leadership skills. Students develop ongoing connections with the community through the gallery’s “open door policy.” The grant will help the studio continue its work.
Thanks to its grant, The Long Beach Central Area Association will incorporate three new components into the 14th Annual Juneteenth Celebration by bringing academicians, community leaders, city stakeholders, and the general public together to explore building community. Juneteenth is the oldest celebration in the nation commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.