Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) today announced that it has awarded ten grants totaling $12,427 to local community and neighborhood groups through its annual grant program, the Merritt Neighborhood Fund. Grant awards ranged from $465 to $2,000.

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. It has awarded grants each year since its founding, distributing over $159,000 in total. A committee of ALT volunteers and board members determines the awards.

“We love to see the creative and thoughtful projects that neighborhood groups and small non-profits propose each year,” said Chuck Allott, ALT Executive Director in a statement included in a press release. “For 23 years, our modest grants have had an outsized impact on beautifying our community and installing gardens, landscaping, and other public enhancements. This year’s awardees continue the Merritt Fund tradition of connecting people to nature and improving the island for everyone.”

Awards were given to the following applicants:

  • Aquidneck Community Table: repairs to Great Friends Garden
  • Common Fence Point Improvement Association: rain garden
  • God’s Community Garden: aerobic compost bin and herb garden
  • Island Youth Lacrosse: trees for recreational fields
  • John Clarke Senior Living: raised garden beds
  • Newport Boys & Girls Club: creation of an edible garden
  • Newport Mental Health: pollinator garden and ADA garden
  • Newport Tree Conservancy: 25 trees at Miantonomi Park
  • Norman Bird Sanctuary: improvements to Mabel’s Garden
  • Old Fort Road pocket park: replace invasive plants with native species

Information on the 2023 Merritt Neighborhood Awards will be announced in February 2023, according to ALT.