Last weekend, Festival Fete in Rhode Island highlighted several worthy non-profits including Art is Smart, Recycle-A-Bike, the East Greenwich Education Foundation and All Things Grow with Love. I believe in the goodness of human nature and that where there is a need or a passion, people build something wonderful to fulfill it. Check these organizations out to see if any spark your interest or desire to serve/give.
Art is Smart
Art is Smart is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that “serves children by raising funds to support public education art programs.” The organization raises money through merchandise sales, fundraising efforts and through direct corporate and individual donations. They simplify the process of requesting and receiving funds, art teachers in the public education arena need only submit a succinct but specific letter outlining the requested needs.
As the mother of three artistically inclined children, I value their public school art programs and have volunteered my time to coordinate school Art Nights because I believe in the importance of art education. You can donate or purchase Art is Smart items at www.ArtIsSmart.com.
Another unique and impressive organization at Festival Fete was Recycle-A-Bike. Their mission is stated as “a volunteer-based community organization that connects people with refurbished bikes, provides practical bike knowledge, and advocates bicycle use by safer, more confident cyclists.”
They provide programs to build a bike, to learn bike maintenance and safety skills and even have Bike Valet which “encourages people to bike to destinations and park nearby worry free of their bicycle’s safety.” You can donate your time, a bike or good-old-fashioned money to contribute to the Recycle-A-Bike vision.
East Greenwich Education Foundation
Even if you’re not in East Greenwich Rhode Island, learning about the programs and functions of the East Greenwich Education Foundation (EGEF) could help you model a similar foundation for your school district. EGEF “is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes excellence in public education by providing grants to teachers to fund creative, innovative and sustainable initiatives in the classroom.” The organization is run by volunteers and works closely with parents, school administration and faculty, Parent Teacher Groups, student councils and the local businesses.
Teachers in all areas of learning may apply for grants and the foundation seeks three qualities for projects: innovation, creativity and sustainability. Grants have funded a 3D printer and a WeatherBug station at the middle school, an iPad program at an elementary school, programs in composting, drumming, Smart Music and modern journalism and even a high school RealCare Baby simulator project.
EGEF was founded in 2008 and has raised $251,000 to date and has funded 26 grants worth $163,000.
All Things Grow with Love
Two young women recently started All Things Grow with Love to “help people find passion and purpose through creativity and community.” At the Festival Fete art fair last weekend, they were encouraging passion with a mass of hula hoops, happy faces. In their blog about Festival Fete, they wrote: “Our goal has always been to share beauty and passion, creativity and love; our mission, to go out into the world and share that energy, which we just happen to find through hooping.”
Upcoming Festival Fete dates for you Rhode Islanders:
Wakefield Art Festival – October 5, 2013 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Festival Fete’s Holiday Market – December 7 & 8, 2013 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
*I received a $25 gift certificate as a thank you for writing about Festival Fete.