Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) is now accepting applications for grants from the Merritt Neighborhood Fund, which supports the preservation of small parks, community gardens, and other natural spaces on Aquidneck Island. Established in 1999 to honor the late Peter M. Merritt, the organization’s president emeritus, the Fund supports projects that strengthen community identity and character, and which model the ethic of land conservation and stewardship through community volunteerism. Grants typically range from $250 to $2,500.
“Merritt grants provide a way for our community to enrich the lives of residents by creating places that help people feel close to nature,” said Chuck Allott, Executive Director of ALT. “ALT has disbursed grants to community groups and non-profits across Aquidneck Island for 22 years, helping to improve and beautify our public spaces. Collectively, the impact of these projects is tremendous and reflects our desire to help connect people to the land around them.”
The projects funded last year were: Calvary United Methodist Church (replacement of six cherry trees); God’s Community Garden (improvements to the garden, seed inventory); Middletown Tree Association (tree planting on Berkeley Avenue); Newport Tree Conservancy (reforesting project in Miantonomi Park); Norman Bird Sanctuary (improvements to vegetable garden); Portsmouth Dog Park (replacement of shade trees); Norman Bird Sanctuary (garden improvements); and St. John the Evangelist Church (landscaping improvements). Over $13,000 was awarded in 2020.
Applications for 2021 Merritt Neighborhood Fund grants may be found on the ALT website (https://ailt.org/our-work/merritt-fund/). Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 2, 2021. Award decisions will be announced in mid-May.