One group wants to add pet food and cleaning products to the free packages of food it provides to families in need.

Another group wants to move forward with plans to build a museum in the heart of the Monaghan Mill Village.

Those “wants” require money that’s been hard to come by, particularly during COVID-19. But nonprofits such as First Impression SC, Inc. and Greenville Revitalization Corp. are hopeful as they seek money for their projects from Gannett’s A Community Thrives.

A Community Thrives is a grantmaking and crowdfunding program from the USA TODAY NETWORK, which includes USA TODAY and The Greenville News.

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The program, supported by the Gannett Foundation, offers organizations an opportunity to share their ideas for how to improve the community. It also offers them a national platform to get neighbors, friends, family, and peers excited to support the ideas in their community.

The nationwide program is in its fourth year of supporting organizations that address social issues including education, housing, arts and culture, wellness and the environment.

Organizations fundraise on their official A Community Thrives challenge page.They can also compete for Top Fundraiser Grants ($10,000-$25,000) and Bonus Challenge Grants ($3,000-$5,000) until noon October 16, 2020.

Grant recipients will be announced in early December 2020.

Five Greenville nonprofits, including First Impression SC Inc. and Greenville Revitalization Corp, have applied to Community Thrives for aid.

First Impression SC Inc. would use the grant funds, in part, to stock shelves for its new community cupboard. (Photo: Submitted)

First Impression SC advocates for families and individuals in times of crisis. The organization has requested $13K to stock shelves and make upgrades to a space it has dedicated as the new Stella Hill McBee Cook Community Cupboard.

The cupboard, which has been open now for a month, uses donations to provide free groceries to people impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, the cupboard provides pet food, diapers, baby food, cleaning products, and emergency assistance funds for rent, mortgage, electricity and water bills, said Sandra Bullock, founder of First Impression SC. 

“We were trying to think out of the box,” Bullock said. “Conventional food pantries just do food. We wanted to take that extra step and have more things.”

Bullock said funds from Community Thrives would be used for future purchases of such things as paper and cleaning products, pet food, additional shelving for storage, to help purchase Mill Village Farm food boxes to offer to families, and for marketing.

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Rendering of the history museum planned for Textile Heritage Park in Monaghan. (Photo: Provided/Greenville Revitalization Corporation)

Greenville Revitalization Corp. (GRC) is asking for $100K or “any portion thereof” so that it can build a museum in Textile Heritage Park located in the Monaghan Mill community.

GRC is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt economic development organization that works to strengthen the local economy, particularly the communities of Greenville’s historic “Textile Crescent.”

The organization broke ground on Textile Heritage Park, located near of The Lofts of Greenville (the former Monaghan Mill) on Smythe Street, in 2018.

The museum is the signature piece of the park and will be the thing that really caps the park out, said Doug Dent, CEO of GRC.

The museum will cost $300K, he said, and “we’ve got one small grant towards it but we’re trying to raise (more) money.”

A playground, a mill walk, and monuments that share history of the various Greenville mills are among the features completed in the park.

Other needs include funding for a community garden and GRC is also working to get items, such as trash cans and benches.

The park is beginning to catch on, Dent said.

“If we can just finish it off, really get the finishing products there, I think it will really be a centerpiece for that part of the county,” he said.

Project Host Inc. has applied for $13K to continue to “use food as a tool to nourish the hungry and train the unemployed and underemployed.”

Project Host’s soup kitchen provides at least 150 individuals with a free meal six days a week, no questions asked, said Tobin Simpson, Project Host CEO.

Project Host also provides a six-week jobs skills program that trains unemployed and underemployed individuals to work in a professional kitchen, he said. It’s free of charge, as Project Host relies on the generosity of donors to help fund the programs.

In addition to culinary skills, the training includes resume writing, interview skills, and ServSafe certification (nationally recognized food safety certification), Simpson said.

Staff at Project Host making bag lunches Tuesday, March 17, 2020, for kids who have been kept home from school as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. (Photo: Provided by Paulette Dunn)

Qualified graduates of the culinary school have an opportunity to work can work at Project Host, which has a food truck, a garden, a bakery, along with the culinary school and soup kitchen.

Bob Jones University (BJU) applied for $100K on behalf of the Center for Global Opportunities. It is seeking to partner with the Nicholtown Neighborhood Association, The Phillis Wheatley Recreation Center and Dreamchasers Basketball Club, said Randy Page, BJU’s spokesperson, in an email.

The students will provide tutoring -online or in-person- at the Phillis Wheatley Center and workforce development for adults through the School for Continuing, Online and Professional Education, Page said.

BJU students will also provide mentoring for the Dream Chasers Basketball Club and small home improvement projects for the elderly and disabled Nicholtown residents, he said.

Sustaining Way, a nonprofit in Nicholtown is asking for $72,500.

This organization uses education, collaboration and workforce development to build a thriving, sustainable community and environment. Its programs are designed to educate, empower, and develop individuals in ways that promote responsibility, creative thinking, self-sufficiency, employability, and self-confidence, according to its application.

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