After the Community Foundation’s $25,000 seed grant for the planning phase of the West Atlantic Redevelopment Coalition’s Repair & Restore project in 2020, an additional $600,000 from the Mellon Foundation this past spring opened the door to opportunity. The project is repurposing assets owned by faith-based organizations in The Set – Delray Beach’s historically Black community – to create community-focused facilities to serve various needs throughout the area.

With the Community Foundation’s initial investment, the Coalition was able to do all the groundwork necessary to plan a roadmap for the projects. This helped show other potential investors the impacts this work would have on the community. The grant helped the Coalition show what was possible, and the Mellon Foundation’s grant put the roadmap into action. Three of the Coalition’s six initial projects are already underway.

One of the projects, an orchard created on land held by St. Matthew’s Church, is already completed. The church will also soon have a new event hall, and the Community Primitive Baptist Church will have a Bahamian straw market. These projects provide the community with opportunities and access that have so far been unavailable.

The Coalition’s Repair & Restore program was a perfect match for the Community Foundation’s mission to partner with local organizations to build capacity and enhance communities. Sara Selznick, co-founder of Thrive (one of the Coalition’s primary partners), said that community-based planning grants are hard to find.

“We are really thankful and grateful for the trust the Foundation extended to us; trusting that we wouldn’t simply stop there, but would grow it into something more,” Selznick said. “Those are the kinds of grants organizations like ours need so we can plan for future regeneration.”

“Making impact in communities requires engaged partnerships, and the Coalition is a perfect example of this,” said Daryl Houston, the Community Foundation’s Vice President for Community Impact. “We are proud to increase capacity for bringing ideas into action, focused on making substantial impacts on the Set’s diverse population of Caribbean cultures.”