The Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has awarded twelve grants totaling $12,000 to local community and neighborhood groups through its annual grant program, the Merritt Neighborhood Fund. Grant awards ranged from $500 to $1,500. 

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 $171,000 in total. A committee of ALT volunteers determines the awards.

“It’s been wonderful to learn about these inspiring projects that community groups and organizations across Aquidneck Island have developed,” said Brian Gallagher, ALT Interim Executive Director in a statement. “For 24 years, our modest grants have been able to assist with small parks, landscaping, and community well-being. This year’s awardees continue the Merritt Fund tradition of connecting people to nature and improving Aquidneck Island for everyone.” 

Awards were given to the following applicants:

  • Aquidneck Community Table: community garden art signage
  • Battle of Rhode Island Association: Butts Fort Hill walking path
  • Clean Ocean Access: vermiculture compost bins for classrooms
  • God’s Community Garden: herb garden materials
  • Emmanuel Church: creating a community garden
  • FabNewport: garden tools and plants
  • Four Hearts Foundation: landscaping for new Portsmouth Playground
  • James L. Maher Center: pocket park creation
  • Newport Tree Conservancy: 100 trees at Miantonomi Park
  • Newport Spring Leadership Committee: Spring Park amenities 
  • Norman Bird Sanctuary: Hügelkultur Beds and cut flower garden
  • Portsmouth Dog Park: trees for new walking path expansion

Information on the 2024 Merritt Neighborhood Awards will be announced in February 2024.

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