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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.

We are pleased to report an increase in interest for the 2023 grant cycle, with 10 applications received. Of these, five programs were successful:

History Speaks
Upper Arlington HIstorical Society
The Upper Arlington Historical Society will receive $3,000 to support their History Speaks continuing presentation series, which supports the Society’s mission to discover, preserve and celebrate UA’s history. In February, the Series featured the Story of James Preston Poindexter, a conductor on the Underground Railroad and the first Black member of Columbus City Council. Future events include: the Sells Brothers Circus, which used to winter in the area and featured Native American Bill Moose, who is buried in Wyandot Park; the Newark Earthworks, one of the World’s Ancient Wonders, built by the Hopewell Native Americans who lived in this area from 1-400 AD. The 2023 schedule of events is as follows:

  • The Story of James Preston Poindexter: February 13 – Reita Smith, a local historian, founding chair of the James Preston Poindexter Foundation, and long-tine resident of UA, shares information about Poindexter, a leader for Columbus’ African American community in the time of Pleasant LItchford.
  • The Sells Brothers Circus: 7 pm, Tuesday, April 25, Amelita Mirolo Barn, Sunny 95 Park – Fred Pfenning III, a UA resident and historical circus expert, discusses this prominent late 1800s circus, which wintered where Lennox Town Center is today. Native American Bill Moose, who is buried at Wyandot Park, found national and international fame with the circus.
  • Why Preservation? Date/Location TBA – Susan Keeny, Preservation Director at Columbus Landmarks, presents on a topic that binds most in UA – how to take care of your home’s exterior and preserve the historical elements during repairs and renovations.
  • The Newark Earthworks: One of the World’s Ancient Wonders: Date/Location TBA – Brad Leper, Senior Archaeologist for Ohio History Connection, discusses the Hopewell culture, people who roamed these lands from 1-400 A.D.
  • A Historical Look at Tarpy’s Market: Date/Time TBA – learn about the rise of Tarpy’s Market, their three UA locations, and what made the business so successful.

Upper Arlington Civic Association New Resident Welcome Event
Upper Arlington Civic Association
The Upper Arlington Civic Association will receive $5,000 for their plans to relaunch a welcome event for new residents, tentatively scheduled for the fall. The event will be a centrally located outdoor gathering designed to bring residents from all parts of the community together. 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.

St. Mark’s Church Culture and Artisans Fair
10 am-3 pm, Saturday, May 6
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church
2151 Dorset Road
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will receive $1,000 for their inaugural Culture and Artisans Fair on Saturday, May 6. 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.

UA Pride
1-5 pm, Sunday, June 11
Mallway Park
Rainbow UA will receive a grant of $2,500 for this year’s UA Pride event, which will be held on Saturday, June 11. This marks a 50% reduction in grant monies, as event planners work to grow and make UA Pride fiscally sustainable for the long-term, through fees and sponsorships. Founded in 2021, Rainbow UA’s mission is to serve and the Upper Arlington LGBTQ+ community through supportive and community building activities, advocacy for public and educational policy impacting LGBTQ+ residents, and resource sharing. Rainbow UA Community Pride 2023 will, like Pride 2021 and Pride 2022, provide a welcoming, affirming and celebratory space for Upper Arlington’s LGBTQ+ residents and allies to come together to experience community, learn about valuable resources, enjoy a family-friendly event, and celebrate what makes LGBTQ+ individuals and families a valuable and beautiful part of our community. Rainbow UA Community Pride includes community speakers who talk about their experiences coming out, and serve as role models, with positive messaging for the community.

hUmAn Connection Festival
Thursday, March 9
Upper Arlington High School
The Upper Arlington Schools will receive $500 to support their hUmAn Connection Festival (Celebrating Cultures & Diversity) taking place at the UA High School on March 9, featuring performances that highlight cultural diversity and inclusivity through music, dance and lyrical expression, as well as an exhibit space showcasing student-led clubs and community participants, sharing food, photography, traditions and other interactive opportunities.

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