WCCF Announces Inaugural Grant from African American Community Fund

June 29, 2023

African American Community Fund Logo

The African American Community Fund Logo is inspired by traditional patchwork quilts.

Eighty Four, PA – The Washington County Community Foundation is pleased to announce that the inaugural grant of $5,000 from its African American Community Fund has been awarded to the Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation (HRCDC) for its Community Garden.

The Community Garden sits on the eastern end of a small HRCDC-owned city block in the heart of the historic African American community in Washington. Bordered by Lemoyne Community Center and Lincoln Terrace, a low-income housing complex, it is framed in by Central Avenue and Spells Alley. The garden was first developed 15 years ago by a group of volunteers, including two African American neighbors, Mildred Ivery and Clara Harper. The HRCDC rents out the 40 plus plots for planting vegetables, herbs and flowers to a variety of folks of all ages and incomes.

The $5,000 grant will be combined with other resources to improve the community garden with additional garden beds, including some raised beds for better accessibility, as well as benches, a storage facility, and a covered pavilion. The covered pavilion will be used for both educational presentations and socialization.

“The gardens are refreshed and inspiring,” remarked Sandy Mansmann, HRCDC Vice President. “As a result, all have been assigned to patrons, including a few free to the LeMoyne Community Center. Our beloved Clara Harper (d. 2021) lives on in our garden, with her nephew planting and caring for her veggie plot. We are thriving in physical improvements to the Garden and more importantly fostering a spirit of community.”

Img 0729

HRCDC Vice President, Sandy Mansmann and volunteers at the community garden.

“One of the reasons that the Highland Ridge Community Development Corporation was selected for the inaugural grant from the African American Community Fund is its focus on inclusion,” said WCCF President & CEO Betsie Trew. “The community garden has been a great resource for the Highland Ridge community for many years, but usage of the garden is open to everyone in the community. And we are very pleased that the grant will help to continue the long-time volunteer efforts of two African American community members.”

The African American Community Fund was created in 2022 and makes grants in five broad categories: Cultural Heritage, Education & Enrichment, Community Development, History & Preservation, and Entrepreneurship. The Fund accepts contributions on an ongoing basis and can be made via the Foundation’s website at www.wccf.net or by contacting the Foundation at 724-222-6330. To learn more about the community garden, visit www.highlandridgecdc.com.