Richmond ‘Love Your Block’ mini-grants awarded to 9 organizations

Nine organizations awarded Richmond 'Love Your Block' mini-grants
Photo of Nicholl Park skatepark by Kathy Chouteau

Nine local organization serving Richmond received a share of $80,000 in Love Your Block mini-grants that will be used in beautification projects in various city neighborhoods.

Organizations receiving grants include Bay Area Girls Club; Boys and Girls Club of Contra Costa; Friends of Dirt World; Greenbriar Neighborhood Council; Groundwork Richmond; Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council; Richmond LAND; the Richmond Main Street Initiative and The Watershed Project.

Funded projects include revitalizing the Mary “Peace” Head Memorial Garden in Parchester; creating a beautiful walkway for students and families headed to Olinda School; beautifying the Nicholl Park skatepark area; sprucing up Macdonald Avenue and Nevin Park in the Iron Triangle neighborhood; and a project featuring NIAD artists to create 18 wooden heart-shaped pieces of art that will be exhibited in the Community Green Space Garden on Harbour Way and Macdonald Avenue and at NIAD for six months.

The Love Your Block Mini-Grant program is funded through a partnership between the Community Services Department and City Manager’s Office, Economic Development.

Here are longer summaries of the projects that have been funded in the latest round of Love Your Block grants, courtesy of the city.

The Bay Area Girls Club will beautify and revitalize their backyard by creating a communal open space with a gazebo and seating. Volunteers will help design, prepare, and clean-up the space. The space will be accessible to the public at no cost during regular hours of operation of the Multicultural Bookstore. The transformation will be celebrated with a community event during the organization’s 47th anniversary, with the help of volunteers.

The Boys and Girls Club of Contra Costa, in partnership with Rosie the Riveter Trust Foundation and Yellow Heart Committee, will serve the Parchester neighborhood by revitalizing the Mary “Peace” Head Memorial Garden, restoring the Parchester Touches the World mural, repainting a basketball court, and installing a Little Free Library with volunteers. They will also lead volunteer community clean-ups at Unity Park on the Richmond Greenway in collaboration with Urban Tilth. At both locations, there will be mental health components that will cover the importance of self- and community care.

Friends of Dirt World Bike Park will keep their Adopt-a-Spot on the Richmond Greenway clean, green and safe! At least 3 volunteer clean-up events will be hosted to remove trash, weeds, and large debris dumped illegally. Additionally, they will renovate track surfaces to allow for safe daily use of the park for all skill levels. 

Greenbriar Neighborhood Council will host two sidewalk beautification and clean-up events to help create a beautiful walkway to school for children and families living near Olinda School.  They will combine their beautification efforts with wilfire prevention outreach activities, such as training residents how to prepare their homes for firewise “hardening.”

Groundwork Richmond, in collaboration with 3 Beans on a Board, will beautify the skatepark area of Nicholl Park with volunteers by restoring and protecting vandalized trees through education and art. Educational events will bridge the environmental justice and skateboarding worlds, teaching participants how crucial trees are in addressing climate change. Volunteers will also learn how to crochet as an alternative to spray painting trees and create yarn sweaters to put on trees. Groundwork Richmond will also work with volunteers to create an art wall and signage as well as install trash cans.

Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council will host two volunteer beautification days to spruce up the visible corridor along Macdonald Ave, including Nevin Park. Volunteers will collect garbage and remove weeds, and new garbage cans and signage will be installed to deter illegal dumping.

Richmond LAND will host a community workshop event at Shields-Reid Park and a temporary art installation event on the San Francisco Bay Trail to amplify the voices of Richmond. Individuals and families will record their stories and messages on wood slats in different colors, with ribbons attached showing which way the wind blows, together forming a collective monument of resilience. The temporary art installation will be displayed for two weeks.

Richmond Main Street Initiative will partner with ten local artists from NIAD to create 18 wooden heart shaped pieces of art that tell the rich history of Richmond. The art will be exhibited in the Community Green Space Garden on Harbour Way and Macdonald Ave, as well as the NIAD art windows, for six months. During this time, 3 volunteer community beautification events will also take place that will include trash pickup and maintenance at the green space.

The Watershed Project will host two volunteer service events to revitalize the bioswales in Richmond’s public parks prior to the 2022-2023 rainy season: a fall stewardship event at Booker T. Anderson Community Center and a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service event on the Richmond Greenway. Volunteers will receive education about the function of bioswales and participate in a variety of service activities including weed and trash removal, mulching, and planting.