Members Area

Five Common Ground Collaborative Grants Announced for 2024


April 10, 2024

Projects in Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania awarded $10,000 grants

Projects in Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania awarded $10,000 grants 

Five projects that emphasize food supply and environmental infrastructure ranging from cemeteries to blighted urban landscapes were awarded The Garden Club of America’s 2024 Common Ground Collaborative grants. Local garden clubs in collaboration with community groups plan to use the $10,000 grants for supporting the planting and cultivation of trees, building greener cities in depressed areas, supporting green infrastructure in urban areas, and growing food for people who do not have access to or are unable to afford healthy, fresh produce. 

Hidden Greenways - The Garden Club of Allegheny County

Hidden Greenways is a hands-on conservation and horticultural project conceived in response to the growing public enthusiasm around Pittsburgh’s pedestrian infrastructure—in particular its more than 800 public staircases. The Garden Club of Allegheny County (GCAC) will be working with two organizations: Allegheny Cleanways (ACW) and Landforce (LF) to implement a program of environmental education and stewardship with neighborhood school students over the course of three years. 

The two organizations will maintain selected staircases and then share the lessons of how this helps the environment. ACW will pick up trash around the stairs regularly with their paid crew and volunteer stewards. LF will keep surrounding vegetation cleared with weed whackers. The ACW Education Coordinator will then create a lesson plan about how these actions impact the environment in a positive way. A day will be planned for ACW and LF staff to take a school group from the local area to a staircase for the environmental education lesson. The students will also plant a tree with the help of LF staff. The Common Ground grant allows this collaboration to leverage additional funding for a children’s environmental education and stewardship program. 

Early Street Community Garden in Morristown, New Jersey - The Garden Club of Somerset Hills with the Garden Club of Morristown

The Garden Club of Somerset Hills and the Garden Club of Morristown have joined forces to support the completion of the Early Street Community Garden in Morristown, New Jersey which is part of the Grow it Green Morristown. The collaboration will culminate in the completion of a plan for the garden and parklet space, formerly a junkyard, that has been in the works for 15 years. The four areas of their focus will weave together the special components that exist today and help the garden reach its full potential as a green oasis for the community. The Early Street Community Garden comprises many thoughtfully planned areas including garden plots, permaculture, pollinator gardens, community spaces, an apiary, education spaces, and sustainable features such as an existing solar pavilion and rain gardens, all of which beautifully encompass key aspects of the GCA mission.

EarthDance Organic Farm School - The Garden Club of St. Louis

The Garden Club of St. Louis will help EarthDance Organic Farm School plant, tend, and harvest produce during dedicated volunteer hours throughout the duration of the three-year project. EarthDance is in Ferguson, MO, which is considered by the USDA to be a food desert.

The Garden Club of St. Louis will promote awareness of the farm’s service-learning opportunities at the club’s program meetings and via its monthly newsletter, The Grapevine. Garden club members will also support the project by committing to regular volunteer shifts at the Pay What You Can Farm Stand, assisting with set-up, break-down, and by supporting special programming hosted at the farm during farm stand hours. EarthDance leadership will present at a garden club program meeting annually to update club members on the outcomes of the collaboration and share the organization’s overall progress.

Rid-All Green Partnership - The Shaker Lakes Garden Club

The Shaker Lakes Garden Club (SLGC) has established a working collaboration with Rid-All Green Partnership, a farm and neighborhood that is located on 18 acres of what was once an illegal dumping ground in the Kinsman neighborhood of Cleveland. Kinsman is a largely underserved, Black majority neighborhood with generational poverty and unemployment.

The SLGC will work with Rid-All Green Partnership (RAGP) to help sustain the farm’s newly started Cleveland Urban Tree Farm and assist in any other program where help is required. The city of Cleveland, once named the Forest City, has lost more than half its tree canopy over the last 75 years. All of Rid-All’s programs benefit the local neighborhood but also spread their trees, professional training, food and education to the broader city and its residents. Cleveland is often tied for the poorest city in the US with Detroit. 

The Pennington African American Cemetery Association - The Stony Brook Garden Club of Princeton

Stony Brook Garden Club of Princeton in New Jersey will partner with The Pennington African Cemetery Association Educational Foundation to create The Pennington African Cemetery Remembrance Garden in honor of the unseen souls interred within this historic landmark. The project will focus on native pollinator plants at the entrance to the front gate as well as shade trees on the inside perimeter of the cemetery fence. Formed in the 1860s, the Pennington African Cemetery is an historically recognized outdoor destination located on an interior lot within the borough of Pennington, NJ. It is the resting place of African Americans who contributed to our community and country, as business owners, farmers, and war veterans (specifically The Civil War, The Spanish War, and World War II).

In 2021, The Garden Club of America created the Common Ground Collaborative grant to support GCA member clubs in building long-term relationships with diverse community groups to develop, improve, and maintain public land and programs. The 2024 CGC winners will be announced at the 2024 Annual Meeting.


See All News