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2024 Community Relations Innovation Grant Program Recipients Announced

The Community Relations Innovation Small Grant Program was established in 2022 to support community-based, innovative approaches to fulfilling the Community Relation Committee’s (CRC) Purpose, Mission and Vision.

That year, two grants were awarded – to Rainbow UA for their UA Pride event, and to the Upper Arlington Schools for their Longest Table community discussion. The 2023 grant program expanded in both interest from the community and the number of grants awarded – the UA Historical Society for its History Speaks Series; the UA Civic Association for its Neighbors Night Out event; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for its Culture & Artisans Fair; Rainbow UA for the Pride event; and the UA Schools for their hUmAn Connection Festival.

A total of 12 grant applications were submitted for the 2024 grant cycle, with the following five groups to be awarded grants:

Leadership UA Non-Profit Governance Workshop
The Leadership UA Program will receive a $1,500 grant to support a facilitated Non-Profit Governance Workshop to be scheduled for the 2024 program participants as well as for representatives of the UA non-profit community, helping to engage and strengthen the community’s network of services organizations that, in turn, work to foster a welcoming and supportive community. The workshop will be scheduled in the spring.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Culture and Artisans Fair
10 am-3 pm, Saturday, May 4
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
2151 Dorset Road
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church has been awarded a grant of $3,000 to help the Culture & Artisans Fair planning team build upon the success of their 2023 event. Plans for the 2024 St. Mark’s Culture and Artisans Fair will further expand support of refugee and immigrant populations in Central Ohio, while providing an opportunity for the UA community to welcome, learn from and build positive connections with the participating artisans and other visitors who attend this event. Since the goals and potential outcomes from the Fair align so closely with the goals and purpose of the CRC, the Fair will also be included and promoted as part of the CRC’s UA Welcome Series. Held in partnership with Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS), many of the artisans participating in the event will be refugees who are building a new life in the Central Ohio area. The event includes food and music, and an opportunity to interact with the artisans and hear their stories.

hUmAn Connection Festival
Wednesday, March 6 & Thursday, March 7
Upper Arlington High School
A CRC Innovation Grant of $2,500 will be awarded for the hUmAn Connection Festival, which will be expanding to include a March 6 evening event that will be open to families, community leaders and CRC affiliates, in addition to a school day full of activities on March 7.

Upper Arlington Civic Association Neighbors Night Out Event
Upper Arlington Civic Association
The Upper Arlington Civic Association will be awarded a $3,500 grant for its second annual Neighbors Night Out event. The success of the inaugural event in 2023 indicates that Neighbors Night Out has the potential to become a community tradition, with new neighbor welcoming components that support the information and inclusion goals of the CRC Innovation Grant Program. In awarding this grant, the Civic Association has been asked to further develop appropriate strategies for attracting and welcoming new residents to this event, and to consider instituting a process that addresses ticket affordability for residents who may be experiencing financial constraints. As the community’s oldest civic group, UACA successfully hosts a number of community events and programs each year, including the Fourth of July Celebrations, UA Stage, Golden Bear Scare, Christmas in the Park, the Golden Apple Awards, the Easter Egg Hunt and the Memorial Day Run.

History Speaks
Upper Arlington HIstorical Society
The UA Historical Society’s 2024 History Speaks Series will receive a grant of $2,000. The 2023 History Speaks Series successfully presented a diverse series of educational events that were well attended by community members and non-residents, and the planned schedule for 2024 will continue goals for sharing varying perspectives on the community’s history and appealing to a broader audience, with plans to videotape each session and make the videos available on the Historical Society’s website.

. The 2024 series includes:

  • Look to Lazarus: The Big Store: February 6 – for more than 150 years, F&R Lazarus & Company was the heart of downtown Columbus. In 1971, a Lazarus department store opened at the Kingsdale Shopping Center in UA, housed in an iconic blue brick building. Today, UA’s new Bob Crane Community Center is rising in that space.
  • 1883: Eva’s Journal Reveals Life in Southern Perry Township – UA residents and UAHS volunteer archivists, Melanie Brown and Lee Bracken, present their findings from this young woman’s journal documenting 1863. Eva lived near today’s Wellington School.
  • How Cloud Computing Began: CompuServe & Its UA Origins – Former CompuServe CEO, Jeffrey Wilkins, shares insight on CompuServe’s founding in 1970, the launch of its consumer-facing service in 1980, and the many other innovations that CompuServe brought to life.
  • Backstage: A UA High School Musical History – UA High School Vocal Music Director, Dr. Brandon Moss, takes a look at the history of musical productions at the high school.
  • Native American Resistance and the War of 1812 – Dr. John Bickers, Assistant Professor of History at Case Western Reserve University and a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, shares information about the Indigenous nations’ decisions leading up to the War of 1812.
  • The Firefighting Heritage of Upper Arlington – the UA Fire Divisions historian, Dan Kochensparger, leads an exploration of the evolution of the City’s Fire Division, which was formally established on December 1, 1930.
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