Going green: AT&T gives community center grant for greenhouse program
The Eureka Springs Community Center Foundation got a big break last week.
On Thursday, July 6, Cathy Foraker presented the foundation with a $25,000 grant on behalf of AT&T. Foraker said she met with the group years ago, saying AT&T wanted to be involved to support the city of Eureka Springs.
“It seemed like it took the right project, so once we found the green light and we were able to get a check, we did it,” Foraker said.
Foundation chair Diane Murphy said the board will use the grant to start developing a greenhouse program at the community center. The greenhouse will have community access, Murphy said, and an educational component.
“That’s all being developed now. We’ll be excited to get the project rolled out and announced more fully,” Murphy said.
Treasurer Jack Moyer pointed out that the Eureka Springs Farmers Market meets at the site twice a week and said he hopes the greenhouse enriches that part of the community center even more. The program will help the community on the whole, Moyer said, because there’s so much diversity in Eureka Springs.
“People see Eureka Springs and they see the arts community, but if you go to the Eureka Springs High School, you’ll see a big balance of agriculture and folks that are working in the trades,” Moyer said. “We wanted to create a path that gave people who wanted a career in agriculture a way to continue their education. The community greenhouse will help with the quality of life here.”
Secretary Jean Elderwind said she’s looking forward to growing the program.
“Many of us are just amateur gardeners. We would really benefit from having some formal classes on even container gardening from people who are experts in that area,” Elderwind said. “There’s a curriculum that we’ll be developing that will be open to the public. We’re working on all those plans now, and we’re really excited about it.”
“You can learn how to grow your own food,” board member Bill Featherstone added.
Moyer said the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension program will be involved with the greenhouse.
“They will be engaged in this site. They will participate here on-site,” Moyer said.
With Eureka Springs High School receiving a grant to develop its own greenhouse program last year, Moyer said, this is an opportunity to build on the experience Eureka Springs youth get there.
“That is a separate program, but after they graduate, we’re certainly thinking they can continue what they’ve learned here,” Moyer said.
Moyer thanked AT&T for its help, saying AT&T has been involved with the foundation since the beginning.
“AT&T was one of the very first corporate donors to this project. They gave us a couple thousand dollars years ago. Part of that was to help us get going,” Moyer said. “AT&T has been with us for years, and we appreciate it.”
“We appreciate them. They’ve been very dedicated,” she said.
With AT&T attaching its name to the project, Moyer said, the foundation could stand a better chance at receiving other corporate sponsorships.
“Their name means a lot to people. With AT&T saying this is a good project, it means something to other granters,” Moyer said.
That’s important, Murphy said, because the foundation receives no tax dollars to run the community center or develop programs there.
“Grants are the key to getting everything done. We are on an ongoing basis looking for great partnerships with other foundations and other corporate entities that are already involved in Eureka Springs or want to participate,” she said.
For more information on the community center, visit www.EurekaSpringsCommunityCenter.org.