By Donna Purchase
Friends of Southwest Continues to Support Residents
By Donna Purchase
The Friends of Southwest D.C. (FOS) has been a friend indeed to the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly (SWNA)! Most recently, FOS provided a $5,000 grant to SWNA to update their website, which is up and running at www.swna.org (feedback welcome).
The Friends have also provided grants to SWNA task forces to support youth activities, technology, education, scholarships, and more. Since 1999, FOS has provided $51,100 in grants to the SWNA Education & Scholarship Task Force to support 37 students. All students selected for a FOS scholarship have graduated or are still in school.
In 2019, FOS provided four grants to SWNA:
Tutoring: This grant provided for free tutoring services to the students at Amidon-Bowen through Community Scholar with the goal of increasing academic performance. Math and English tutoring books were provided for the students. This effort, which continues into 2020, was targeted to help 100 students from 2nd through 5th grade.
Scholarships: The grant to the SWNA Education and Scholarship Task Force supplied scholarships of $1,500 each for five college-bound Southwest high school seniors: Nicla DeBiasi (Northeastern U.), Kendall Parks (Jackson State U.), Dayonna Queen (Hartford U.), Aaliyah Wilkinson (Johnson C. Smith U.), and Donja Wilkinson (Georgia State U.).
School computers: The purpose of this project was to provide 20 desktop computers to Amidon-Bowen Elementary School for a pre-kindergarten class. The grant to the SWNA Technology Task Force made possible the upgrading of donated computers.
Youth Cultural Opportunities: The grant to the SWNA Youth Activities Task Force was a pilot to encourage access for disadvantaged residents of Southwest to cultural offerings by Arena Stage. Residents would then generate interest and enthusiasm to others about future programs.
Friends of Southwest DC, initially established as River Park Friends (RPF), originated thanks to the foresight of residents of River Park Mutual Homes, Inc., a 1960s cooperative of high-rises and townhomes built in Southwest on the rubble of the 1950s urban renewal. Some River Park residents no doubt came to the Southwest neighborhood in search of relatively inexpensive housing, but others came because of the appeal of communal living with a commitment of support for a common good.
In its 1999 report, FOS reported just six grants totaling $2,150. In 2013, FOS made ten grants to seven organizations (including two organizations new to FOS) totaling $18,135. Awards in the early years were usually $500 to $1,200. More recently, awards have ranged from just over $900 to almost $5,000. Since 1999, more than $280,000 in grants have been awarded to 31 organizations that provide programs for residents of Southwest D.C., and SWNA is a grateful recipient of their support.
For more information about FOS activities over the years, refer to the Annual Reports for each year since 2011 on the FOS website: www.FriendsofSWDC.org, in the History and Annual Reports section. And, you can make a difference by donating to: http://www.friendsofswdc.org/donate