Mayor Tom Bates and State Assemblywoman Loni Hancock were in attendance last week as the West Berkeley Foundation celebrated the $65,000 in grants it gave to neighborhood groups this year.
The group held its first ever “Grants Award Night” Aug. 6 at Rosa Parks Elementary School.
This year’s gifts helped fund an art program at Rosa Parks, a weight machine for teenage boys at a neighborhood recreation center and new bingo equipment for the West Berkeley Senior Center, among other projects.
“West Berkeley has experienced many changes in the last decade,” said the foundation’s Board President Lynn Berling-Manuel. “But our neighborhood continues as a gateway community of low-income families and many female single parent households and the need is no less great.”
The foundation was created in 1993 by a city of Berkeley development agreement with the Bayer Corporation. The agreement ended in 2002 and the foundation is pursuing fundraising to continue its work. The group has doled out almost $1 million in grants in the last decade.
This year, the foundation awarded 21 grants, ranging from $500 to $7,500.
The recipients were Ashkenaz, Ballet Folklorico Youth Dance Project, BAHIA, Berkeley Bear Swim Team, Berkeley NAACP Youth Council, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, East Bay Community Law Center, James Kenney Recreation Center, Kala Art Institute, Lifelong Medical Care, Rosa Parks Elementary School Collaborative, Parent Resource Center, Racial Justice Program, Rebuilding Together, Stiles Hall Mentor Program, Strawberry Lodge Senior Housing, Tinkers Workshop, West Berkeley Senior Center Advisory Council, Wee Poets, West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation, and YEAH!.
— David Scharfenberg