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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Do You Have A Community Improvement Project For Logan Square? Church Offering Grants To Get Started

"It's such a difficult moment for all of us collectively, and we saw this as a way to invest in our community and its people," an organizer said.

Grace United Methodist Church at 3325 W. Wrightwood Ave.
Mina Bloom/Block Club Chicago
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LOGAN SQUARE — Logan Square neighbors looking to better the community through grassroots projects can apply for a small grant to make those efforts a reality.

Leaders at Grace United Methodist Church in Logan Square have launched Seeds: Young Adult Micro-Grants to give financial support to creative neighbors who want to do things like start a community garden or throw a giveaway for service industry workers.

The program is meant to give neighbors — and the community as a whole — a boost during the coronavirus pandemic, organizer Caitlin Closser Peart said.

“It’s such a difficult moment for all of us collectively, and we saw this as a way to invest in our community and its people,” Closser Peart said.

Up to five grants of $300-$1,000 will be available to applicants 25 to 35 years old. Applicants must be pursuing a community-driven project, such as painting a mural with a message of social justice or delivering basic supplies to people in need. Applications opened Monday and are due by April 15. Winners will be notified in mid-May.

Church leaders are using grant money leftover from the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and the Lilly Foundation to fund the initiative.

“This was extra money,” Closser Peart said. “This is our way of doing something new and faithful to the original intention.”

Up until two years ago, it wasn’t clear if the now-110-year-old Grace United Methodist Church would remain at the corner of Wrightwood and Kimball avenues.

The building at 3325 W. Wrightwood Ave. had deteriorated to the point where church leaders felt they needed to take action. For years, they worked with Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) and community stakeholders on a plan that would allow them to sell the building to a developer and move on. But that plan, which sparked fiery debate from some neighbors, never materialized due to a lack of interest from developers.

In 2019, church leaders decided to stay in the building after an anonymous donor stepped up to fund $100,000 in building repairs.

Since then, another local congregation — St. Luke’s Lutheran Church — has moved into the building, Closser Peart said. Now the goal is to “build a hub of community, faith and justice” with organizations sharing the space, she said.

Church leaders hope the grant program can help build community, as well. They named the program “Seeds” in hopes the projects will “continue to blossom and continue to support Logan Square” long after the pandemic, Closser Peart said.

“We’d love to see any kind of creative ideas that folks have for improving our Logan Square community,” she said. “The grant guidelines mentioned some ideas but we’re open to other ideas that fulfill the same criteria as well. We hope to have lots of interest.”

For more information about the grant and to apply, visit the church’s website.

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