TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – CenterPoint Energy Foundation awarded United Way of the Wabash Valley with a $50,000 grant toward its Strong Neighborhoods Impact Council. This council is working to partner with residents and organizations to build thriving neighborhoods across the Wabash Valley where residents feel safe and connected to one another.
Neighborhood safety and inclusion was a constant theme the United Way heard throughout the community when building its strategic plan. The council’s focus is expected to help United Way
toward its goal to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability.
“CenterPoint Energy Foundation’s financial support of our Strong Neighborhood Council is a true example of a company trusting the work of United Way to invest their resources in the best programs and initiatives to truly move the needle in overall community building and help struggling families. We know that a strong community benefits all of us, not just those who are struggling,” Richard Payonk, Executive Director of the United Way, said. “The outcomes we’re striving for benefit CenterPoint Energy, their employees and their families. We are grateful for their partnership and investment and look forward to seeing the results of this investment across the Wabash Valley, and continue to grow the Council with business and donor support.”
The grant from the CenterPoint Energy Foundation will be matched with United Way funds to create the first step for the Council to help neighborhoods invest in themselves by providing funding for Neighborhood Improvement Project Mini-Grants. These mini-grants will enhance the look and feel of neighborhoods across the Wabash Valley while addressing a combination of four focus areas including public safety, beautification projects, blight elimination or city-service improvements.
This grant will also allow the Strong Neighborhood Impact Council to focus on some key initiatives in its pilot neighborhood in the Ryves area. A portion of this funding is dedicated to creating a Ryves Neighborhood Projects Fund which will support resident-driven improvement projects that emphasize the priorities of the Council such as enhancing the look and feel of the neighborhood, encouraging communication and connection among neighbors, building a strong and positive neighborhood identity and establishing neighborhood anchors.
The Ryves area was chosen as a pilot neighborhood to demonstrate the success possible when residents stay involved in the revitalization work. United Way hopes to bring the model to many neighborhoods across the Wabash Valley.
“We all know that home is where the heart is, but the heart of a neighborhood is the residents,” Carey LaBella, co-chair of the United Way’s Strong Neighborhood Council said. “This investment in our Council will provide our neighbors needed resources to become more connected and prouder of the place they call home. These investments are planting the seed that can become large-scale
community building as the Strong Neighborhood Council grows its work.”