FORT WASHINGTON — The Prince George’s County Local Development Council (LDC) awarded $337,000 in grants to local nonprofits in its second annual Local Impact Grants Awards Ceremony on July 25. “There are a lot of good organizations, a lot of nonprofit organizations, that are doing good work,” said LDC Chair Jeffrey Chandler. “A lot of […]
FORT WASHINGTON — The Prince George’s County Local Development Council (LDC) awarded $337,000 in grants to local nonprofits in its second annual Local Impact Grants Awards Ceremony on July 25.
“There are a lot of good organizations, a lot of nonprofit organizations, that are doing good work,” said LDC Chair Jeffrey Chandler. “A lot of their funding comes from grants and any resource that can help support their efforts is a welcome addition to any organization.”
The LDC was formed after the opening of the MGM National Harbor Casino in 2016. By legal statute, it was required that an advising council be established consisting of consisting of community business leaders, residents and two elected officials representing the district appointed by the county executive.
Their responsibilities consist of making recommendations to the county executive on how local impact funds should be spent and issuing grants to nonprofit organizations that make an impact and provide services to the community.
Eleven local organizations such as the Alliance for Innovation in Education, the Coalition for Public Safety and Training, the Community Ministry of Prince George’s County and The Ivy Community Charities of Prince George’s were awarded between $20,000 and $35,000.
Lisa Rowe from the L.E.E.P. to College Foundation said that receiving the grant was “a true blessing.”
“It means we’ve been entrusted to do this big job,” she said. “To empower our youth, to enhance their education. It means that we’ll be able to make better experiences for high school students in this area and also pilot a middle school program to better prepare their excitement about college.”
The L.E.E.P. to College Foundation received $35,000 to go toward their mission of reducing the high school dropout rate and ensuring that graduates attend college by helping them with career exploration and giving them an opportunity to see schools like Bowie State University and University of Maryland up close.
“It’s hard to provide funds that can provide that emergency assistance,” said Sandy Washington from Community Outreach and Development CDC who provide emergency assistance for families. “To do that and leverage those dollars, if someone needs $300 to keep the lights on in their home, it makes a big difference. We can help someone get through a crisis and keep them on track. The funds allow us to work with more families.”
The Alice Ferguson Foundation has been serving students for more than 60 years by hosting overnight and day educational programs for fifth-grade students and beyond to connect them to nature, to regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices and the cultural heritage of their local watershed through educational advocacy. The organization was given $30,000 to continue their efforts.
“The support that we were delighted to receive tonight goes toward our on-site education programs as we host overnight student and an experiential education program that helps connect them to the land, their sources of food, and to the outcomes of that around trash,” said Lori Arguelles, president and CEO of the foundation.
During their first grant cycle last year, the LDC awarded $225,000 to 24 organizations, Chandler said. Although they had more money to give this year, only 11 organizations were awarded due to procedural errors where some organizations were disqualified before they had a chance to be reviewed leaving them to have only 16 organizations to choose from during the process.
“Our hope, however, is that though we’ve already gone through the cycle, an appropriate process will be developed and we will be able to support other organizations,” Chandler said.
Despite the setback, next year the LDC expects to have at least $750,000 in grants and hopes to have a more significant number of organizations to provide.
The LDC allows the MGM to become active in the community as well. With their partnership, it will enable the casino to not only grow revenue and increase tax payments toward the state and county but to develop the community and “be involved in the community whether it is financially or through volunteerism,” said MGM President Melonie Johnson.
“For MGM as an enterprise, we believe in our CSR which is Corporate Social Responsibility,” she said. “In the community we have businesses and we become part of that community and giving back to their community is essential to what we do.”
For the next grant cycle, the LDC hopes to expand their awards to different areas, such as nonprofits benefiting the arts as well as continue their grant workshop where they invited organizations in to talk about how the program works and how they can apply.
“If we can help to infuse the funds for some of these organizations to expand their reach,” said Chandler, “I think it’s a win-win for the organizations and the county and for the citizens that they serve.”