Badge of Honor: Jacksonville Nonprofit Awarded Grant from National Endowment for Arts

School was out, but fifth-grader Maia Thaxton was sticking around to practice for an upcoming production of the “Wiz.” She and other students at John E. Ford Montessori School take part in a twice-weekly program that connects them to the visual and performing arts through the Cathedral Arts Project in Jacksonville.

At a time when nonprofits in Florida are competing for what some are calling the worst state funding for the arts in years, Cathedral Arts Project will receive a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. CAP will apply the money to administer and publish a survey, analysis and report about arts on the First Coast (a region of the U.S. state of Florida, located on the Atlantic coast of North Florida).

The program will be carried out through Any Given Child Jacksonville, an advocacy arm of CAP, a nonprofit provider of ongoing instruction in the visual and performing arts for elementary and middle school students in Duval County.

More than $80 million was approved to be disbursed through 1,071 grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Projects receiving support in this latest round of funding range from a classical guitar education program for elementary students in Missouri to a printmaking residency for Native American artists in Oregon.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of said a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts provides a badge of honor that organizations can utilize to reach out to additional donors for funds. She said an NEA grant can also unlock matching grants from state and local agencies.

The NEA, which has been repeatedly targeted for cuts in funding, in February announced an initial $25 million in grants aimed at providing jobs to artists, administrators and other creative workers and creating arts experiences for millions of people. Additional awards will be made in the coming months. These NEA funding opportunities as well as others grants in support of the arts from government agencies, corporations, foundations, and local nonprofits can be identified on GrantWatch.  

Cathedral Arts Project CEO Kimberly Hyatt said a cut in state funds will affect the number of after-school programs that her nonprofit can offer and, as a result, how many students can be served. Cultural and arts grants from the state can be as high as $500,000 for buildings like museums and symphony halls. But, recently approved state funds for CAP are less than a quarter of last year’s figure. Though initially recommended for the maximum program grant — $150,000 — Cathedral Arts Project will receive less than $10,000 toward its overall $2 million budget.

Nonprofits, public and private foundations, small businesses and entrepreneurs frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants for the arts and cultural programs can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at Sign-up here to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch

National Small Business Week 2018

Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  The dates for National Small Business Week this year are the dates April 29 – May 5. 

Free virtual presentations by Google, Constant Contact, Visa, Chase for Business and Square are being offered this week.  Whether you are a nonprofit or for-profit you should sign up for each conference below to enhance your business sense and gain insights from industry leaders.

While the SBA doe snot give grants, except for limited research and development and exporting, they are a valuable business resource that complements your grant search on


National Small Business Week First-Ever Virtual Conference

Conference will feature webinars, mentoring sessions and business resources

WASHINGTON – As part of National Small Business Week, April 29 – May 5, the U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE, mentors to America’s small businesses, will host the first- ever National Small Business Week Virtual Conference. The conference will include educational webinars, mentoring sessions and business resources. National Small Business Week cosponsors Visa, Chase for Business, Constant Contact, Google and Square will host webinars. The webinars are free of charge, but registration is required.


NSBW 2018 – Virtual Conference Schedule:

1.      How Changing Consumer Behavior Impacts Your Business 

Presented by Google
May 1, 2018
1-2 p.m. EDT

Technology allows you to understand consumer behavior better than ever. Join this webinar to learn how these insights can help shape your digital marketing plan, and what you can do to position your business for success.

Register here: 


2.      Get New and Repeat Business on Autopilot with Email Marketing 

Presented by Constant Contact
May 1, 2018
4-5 p.m. EDT

Your business thrives on bringing in sales from new and existing customers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could bring in those sales more frequently without having to spend a lot of time doing so? In this webinar by Constant Contact, we’ll show you some simple ways to repeatedly reach customers with email marketing.

Register here: 


3.      The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses

Presented by Visa
May 2, 2018
1-2 p.m. EDT

Join Visa’s Senior U.S. Economist Jay Hawkins as he shares the near-term outlook for the U.S. economy including the health of consumer spending, housing prices, and more. You’ll learn how consumer spending preferences are changing, what stock market growth and volatility mean for consumer spending, and what all of this means for small businesses.

Register here: 


4.     Grow Your Business in 2018

Presented by Square
May 2, 2018
4-5 p.m. EDT

Join this webinar by Square to learn how to use small business technology tools to streamline your work and give you back valuable time

Register here: 


5.      Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints & Keep Your Customers

Presented by Chase for Business
May 3, 2018
1-2 p.m. EDT

In this webinar sponsored by Chase, Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert, reveals brand-new, proprietary research into why and where your customers complain, and why the rise of customer complaints is actually an enormous opportunity.

Register here: 


6.      Sharing Your Story Through Video

Presented by Google
May 3, 2018
2:30-3:30 p.m. EDT

Today’s consumers can watch video content whenever and wherever they want. This creates an opportunity for businesses to reimagine the role of video content in their marketing strategy. Join this webinar to learn best practices for connecting with consumers through online video.

Register here: 


Additional National Small Business Week cosponsors Lockheed Martin, National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), UPS Store, Raytheon, Verizon, DexYP/Thryv, Salesforce, Facebook, Main Street Hub and Comcast Business will host booths during the Virtual Conference.

For-profit entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses, particularly minority and women-owned, frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at When you subscribe to either or, you are given access to both websites.


About the Author: For additional information on National Small Business Week, please visit
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the


Veterans Assistance Grants Help to Reduce Homelessness among Military Service Members

Indebted Americans recognize one homeless veteran is too much. But, thanks, in part, to grants that support veterans assistance, from both government, corporate and private foundations, the number of homeless veterans has been cut in half this decade.

Homelessness is just one of the problems veterans confront. Mental health issues and physical disabilities also plague many veterans who lack resources to find civilian jobs. The National Alliance on Mental Illness found one in four active duty service members to have experienced some form of issue with mental health. This startling high statistic may be connected to a suicide rate that is significantly higher than those for civilians, especially among female veterans.

Veteran Assistance Grants are designed to reintegrate military service members into civilian life. The Colorado Division Of Veteran Affairs offers grants to Colorado nonprofits for programs that involve “mental health services, job training, family counseling, housing for homeless veterans, employment assistance, and other forms of assistance.”

This grant — listed on — helps to improve quality of life and well-being through programs that foster self-sufficiency and economic development, increase access to healthcare, housing and supportive services, increased food security and enhanced relationships.

Entrepreneurs, nonprofits, public and private foundations, and small businesses frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants that support veterans, can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at

Sign-up here to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter, which lists geographic-specific funding opportunities.




About the Author: A graduate of SUNY Albany, Lianne Hikind is a staff writer for



Wake-Up Call: DOJ Grants Address Campus Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Stalking

The wake-up call is ringing throughout higher education and particularly loud and clear at the University of Hawaii, where educators are digesting the results of a survey that delved into sexual harassment and gender-based violence both on and off campus.

The survey, which comes at a time of heightening awareness across the nation, found that 22 percent of the female students at the University of Hawaii have experienced dating or domestic violence, and about 12 percent have been sexually harassed or stalked during their time at the school. Another 8.5 percent of the female students said they'd experienced nonconsensual sexual contact. 

Of immediate concern to university leaders is that only 27 percent of the students questioned, knew how to report an incident if they became a victim.

Increased awareness will help. So, too, would money. The survey, one of the first known nationally of college students to explore intimate partner violence, cost about $175,000 to conduct.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, said the Office of Violence against Women in the Department of Justice sponsors grants to support efforts to create or revitalize campus responses to sexual misconduct. On GrantWatch you can find these grants and many others, when available under the grants for higher education category.

DOJ recently awarded a $300,000 grant to Sacred Heart University. The grant couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. In 2016, four rapes were reported on campus according to the Annual Campus Crime & Fire Safety Report issued to the federal government. Sacred Heart will use the grant money to enhance victim services, implement prevention and education programs and develop and strengthen campus security and investigation strategies.

James Mohr, the vice chancellor of student affairs at Washington State University, said the Spokane campus will apply the $300,000 DOJ grant to reach out to students to let them know there are programs to assist them. The money marks the third successful grant awarded to Washington State to enhance programs for victims of domestic or dating violence or stalking.

Meanwhile, the University of Hawaii system waits for the results of a 2014 audit by the Civil Rights Office in the U.S. Department of Education, which is looking into Title IX compliance. The federal law prohibits sex discrimination in education.


About the Author: Staff Writer for


In Parkland Shootings Aftermath, Lawmakers Propose Grants to Fund School Safety Initiatives

There was something about him that troubled more than a few fellow classmates and led police to the Southside High School cafeteria, where they discovered the 18-year-old student armed with a .22 caliber Ruger semiautomatic. Inside a duffel bag beside him, Elmira Police found 14 pipe bombs, three carbon dioxide cartridge bombs filled with gunpowder, one propane bomb and a sawed-off shotgun with several rounds of pellets.

All 1,200 students were evacuated, and no one was hurt before police apprehended Jeremy Getman on Valentine’s Day 2001, exactly 17 years prior to the date a gunman opened fire at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 dead and the living to ask why. 

Sadly, threats of violence at school have become somewhat a sign of the times. On average, 50 threats are reported each day in the United States. That’s compared to 10 per day at the end of 2017. And while some of these incidents no longer generate national headlines, they do continue to pressure legislators, educators and law enforcement to develop sound prevention initiatives that can thwart future attacks. Whatever those ideas are, they will likely require a financial commitment to realize.

The good news is that even though politicians are divided about gun control measures, the government is offering grants to support research that will help schools throughout the nation improve safety and respond more effectively to potentially violent incidents. Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, Agencies, and Individuals for Research on School Violence

Most schools have already taken steps to curb violence since the Columbine massacre in 1989, but they have done it without federal funding or oversight. Now, in the aftermath of the Parkland shootings and with debate at a highpoint, lawmakers want to encourage schools to do more to safeguard classrooms with training, reporting and crisis intervention.

Introduced by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act, if approved, will fund for four initiatives:

  • — Training programs to prevent violence and identify warning signs for school staff, students and law-enforcement.
  • — Technology and equipment to improve school security and infrastructure, such as reinforced entryways and locks on classroom doors, and the development of anonymous reporting systems, like the Safe Utah smartphone app.
  • — School-threat assessment and crisis intervention programs including mental health responses.
  • — Local law enforcement and school police officers.

The House has already introduced its version of the STOP School Violence ACT to fund safety initiatives. The bill is backed by Florida congressman representing Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), as well as Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) and others.

Their legislation would fund a grant program to train students, teachers, school officials, and local law enforcement on how to identify and intervene early when signs of violence arise. The measure also creates an anonymous tip line to report potentially dangerous people.

Lawmakers believe the schools safety initiative is a start, even if the legislation does nothing to address gun control. Researchers have watched money to study gun violence run dry since 1996, when Congress blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from allocating funds for firearms injury prevention. Although not a ban on federally funded investigations, some researchers believe the move has had a “chilling effect on studies that has lasted more than two decades."

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, acknowledged limited funding devoted to gun control research, but said schools can still begin to develop heightened safety programs based on grants that are available to look at mental health and conflict resolution in at-risk youth.   

Nonprofits, public and private foundations, small businesses and entrepreneurs frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at Sign-up here so you too can receive the GrantWatch weekly grants newsletter prepared specifically for your organization's location.

About the Author: Staff Writer at


Asbestos: Importance of Mindful Ventilation For Maintaining Your Good Health

According to the Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center (MAAC), asbestos is the leading cause of occupational cancer. Exposure to asbestos in manufacturing or assembly industries has been linked to long-term health problems — symptoms of lung disease and cancer don’t appear until decades after exposure.

The search engine has culled several hundred grants in the medical and healthcare arena. From basic medical and healthcare grants to individuals to organizations, clinicians, researchers, and other individuals operating in the health fields. Grants also encompass the health and wellness sphere and other health-related initiatives.

For most people who have little exposure in their lifetime, asbestos is not a primary cause of health problems. However, asbestos is present in our homes, and long-term exposure to it as airborne particles can cause health problems, such as asbestosis, asbestos warts, lung cancer, pleural effusion, pleural plaque, pneumothorax, and even a rare disease known as mesothelioma. The good news is there are ways to reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos as well as other particulate matter in the air.

Through Historical Preservation Grants, rehabilitation of  landmarks containing asbestos and other serious health  threats can be funded for historical homes, libraries, museums, film, art, cultural and religious assets. 

What is asbestos and why do we care?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that separates into very fine, extremely durable fibers that are not affected by heat or chemicals. In addition, asbestos does not conduct electricity. These qualities make it an excellent addition to products that have to meet fire safety and electrical safety standards or requirements.

In most household applications, asbestos is combined with other materials to create a stable and bonded surface. Asbestos is used in thousands of different products, and can be found inside your home as a component of:

  • Pipe and duct insulation
  • Floor tiles
  • Electrical wires
  • Textured paints
  • Furnaces

When asbestos fibers stay in place, they pose no health risk. However, when a material or product that contains asbestos ages and deteriorates, the fibers can become airborne. A common example of a deteriorating material is the crumbly pipe insulation often found in older houses. Other ways that asbestos fibers can become airborne is when floor tiles or painted surfaces are sanded during a renovation project

What’s so important about airborne asbestos?

Asbestos must enter the body to be harmful. Usually, this happens when you breathe in the tiny, broken pieces of asbestos fiber that have come loose when a product or material that contains asbestos has been cut, ripped, damaged, or disturbed.

Being mindful of the fact that older homes, especially those built before the 1980s, are likely to have more building products and finishes that contain asbestos than more recently built houses, what can you do to minimize possible exposure to asbestos?

If you are concerned that a material in your home contains asbestos, there are a few measures you can take to minimize the risk of airborne pollutants. If the material is in good shape, leave it alone and minimize any activities in the area where the material is present.

If you are unsure about the condition of the material, have it inspected and repaired — usually sealed, covered, or encapsulated — by a qualified person. Asbestos removal is usually a last resort. Regardless, do not try to do the work yourself, always hire a trained professional to safely handle materials to avoid exposure to the fibers. This is a job that should never, ever be put on the D-I-Y list!

Reducing the risk of exposure to airborne asbestos can have additional health benefits.

One way to guard against possible airborne asbestos is to install a properly-sized, whole-home ventilation system. Older homes have two conditions that lead to high levels of airborne pollutants: the building "envelope" allows dust and pollen and other contaminants in through air leakage, and there’s not enough controlled mechanical ventilation to clear the indoor air. In situations like this, tightening up the building envelope and installing a controlled ventilation system will lead to a cleaner indoor environment.

A ventilation system that exchanges stale polluted air for fresh and filtered air will keep your household healthy. For those who already have respiratory illness, fresh and filtered air can improve their quality of life by eliminating the majority of pollutant ‘triggers’.

An air filtration system guards against all sorts of common airborne particulate matter, whether its source is asbestos fibers crumbling off pipe insulation in the basement, dust, or heavy seasonal pollen counts outside.

Filters are rated by a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) Rating. The higher the MERV rating, the fewer dust particles and other contaminants can pass through it. On Zehnder HRVs, for example, a standard filter (MERV 7 to 8) removes pet dander, pollen, dust mites and droppings, auto emission particles, and lead dust. The optional finer filter (MERV 13) removes even smaller particles. Additional filter casings can be added to the system for larger capacity with ratings up to MERV 15. These filter casings can also be fitted with Activated Carbon filters. The filters are easy to remove from the unit to either safely clean or replace.

Be mindful of the air you breathe! Fresh filtered air promotes a healthy indoor environment, while adequate ventilation promotes cleaner indoor air. To learn more about how to prevent airborne asbestos exposure, visit the MAA Center blog, website and Facebook page. 

Nonprofits, public and private foundations, small businesses and entrepreneurs frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at Sign-up here so you too can receive the GrantWatch weekly grants newsletter prepared specifically for your organization's location.


Grants for Disabled: San Antonio Day Program Fills Void for Adults with Special Needs

When their autistic son who was also born with Down Syndrome had outgrown the public-school system, Cindy and Bryan Boynton were confronted with a dilemma. They needed to find a place where Drew could go every day that would not only meet his needs, but give him a sense of joy and purpose as well.

Cindy Boynton didn’t look very far. Earlier this year, she used her predicament to create the SA Life Academy, a day program housed in St. Andrews Methodist Church where Drew and adults in San Antonio like him with disabilities can gain fulfillment through continuing education and community service.

SA Life Academy offers disabled adults a variety of activities – from visiting San Antonio Botanical Garden to baking cookies for city firefighters. The students have also visited museums, seen movies, gone bowling, watched the ballet perform, boarded the boats on the River Walk, pitched in at the San Antonio Food Bank and helped prepare food for Meals on Wheels.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, SA Life Academy relies on grants, private donations and fundraising in addition to program tuition.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, said the recent introduction of one-year-old Lucas Warren, the first Gerber Baby with Down Syndrome, will raise greater awareness about the plight of children with the condition and attract corporate support. Foundations, corporate sponsors and state and local governments are a good source of funding for nonprofits that engage adults with intellectual disabilities in meaningful, social, vocational and educational pursuits.

“With so many in need of services, nonprofits have only scratched the surface for providing advanced educational, housing and employment opportunities for adults with special needs,” said Hikind.

While not widely publicized, Hikind said there are numerous funding opportunities from private and government sources posted on to help the disabled as well as their families and care providers with financial obligations, medical expenses and even equipment.

“Adults with special needs have the capability of learning,” said Cindy Boynton. “They need that opportunity. They have so much potential to unlock. I don’t think we should give up on them.”

The curriculum at SA Life Academy is structured around academics, building relationships, community service, creative expression and teaching healthy habits. Through routines and role-playing, the students learn social skills and other life lessons. SA Life Academy has three teachers on staff who have backgrounds in special education.

Currently, SA Life Academy’s program serves a maximum of 12 students each day. Once students enter the program, they are welcome to stay indefinitely. There is a waiting list that Boynton hopes can soon be turned into a second class. Doing so would require hiring additional special education teacher to oversee the class and purchasing a second van.

Eventually, the staff would like to move SA Life Academy into a physical space of its own, likely within the next two to three years. That would allow the program to accept even more students.

About the Author: Staff Writer for


Government, Foundations Offer Grants to Nonprofits to Curb Violent Crime Among At-Risk Youth Populations

As his family celebrated Thanksgiving this year, Abdel Bashiti played games with his cousins and made s'mores. Less, than 24 hours later, the 12-year-old boy was killed by a bullet that strayed from a gang dispute outside his father’s beauty supply store in Cleveland.

The shooting left his family in shock and city leaders and law enforcement agencies scrambling for ways to suppress youth violence and eradicate gangs from Cleveland’s most dangerous neighborhoods.

The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance knows the challenges and has been tackling the city’s problem for the past decade by mediating disputes and mentoring at-risk teens and adults. An $800,000 grant from the Cleveland Foundation will help support the Alliance’s projects and programs.

Nationwide, nonprofits like the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance are seeking to expand sorely needed services to empower at-risk youth, keep them active in programming and provide a foundation for making healthy choices.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, says government agencies and private foundations have committed to fund programs that support law enforcement strategies and expand programs for at-risk youth populations.

New York State has proposed spending $11.5 million on Long Island to thwart gang recruitment by expanding after-school programs, vocational training, and educational efforts. currently lists funding opportunities for similar programs that respond to the needs of hard-hit local communities, especially at-risk youth and adults who are economically or physically challenged. These programs can support to initiatives focused on athletics, the arts and other educational projects.

The Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance will use a portion of its grant money to fund  Pathway to Resilience , a career-training program that combines instruction with extracurricular activities, such as athletics and music. Pathway to Resilience, launched last year, is a partnership between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland and Resilience Capital Partners.

Research has shown that after-school programs can help lower school drop-out rates and reduce youth crime. Toward this end, lists RFPs for nonprofits that can develop programs to encourage at-risk youth to participate in sports, high-quality after-school programs and in-school academic activities. Funds can be used for community events, academic tutoring, sports camps, school and youth-group athletic programs and coaching leadership and development.

Some grants listed that are region specific are:

Grants to Tennessee Agencies to Reduce Delinquency Among At-Risk Youth

Grants to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Nonprofits and Schools for Sports Programs for At-Risk Youth

Grants to Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC Nonprofits for Education, At-Risk Youth, and Social Welfare Programs

According to the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College, taxpayers save roughly $3 for every dollar spent on high-quality after-school programs. If benefits from crime reduction are factored in, each dollar invested in an at-risk child saves $8-$12.

Child advocates also say adult role models can push at-risk youth to make better choices and become productive citizens. At-risk young people who had mentors, according to “The Mentoring Effect” report, are 76 percent more likely to aspire to enroll in college and are also more likely to hold a leadership position in a club, sports team, school council and other groups.

Rise Up For Youth started in 2005 as a mentoring and gang prevention program. The local nonprofit is fighting to keep kids alive in Wichita, Kan., where four teens were murdered last year. On top of that figure, seven teens have been arrested in homicides that have taken place in the city in 2017.

Even one life lost, the organization says, is one too many. That’s why Rise Up For Youth has expanded its program to four Wichita high schools, where volunteers mentor at-risk youth. Part of that job means helping the students pick their careers and visit colleges. The group boasts a 100 percent graduation rate among its high school students and 70 percent went on to enroll in secondary education or military service.

About the Author: Staff Writer for


Penn Medicine Hospitals Receive $1.35 Million from PA Department of Health to Establish Safe Sleep Program for Infants

PHILADELPHIA – Penn Medicine, its affiliates Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH), Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), and faculty from the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania received a three-year, $1.35 million grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Health to design an innovative and replicable program for promoting and evaluating safe sleep practices for newborns.

The Philadelphia Safe Sleep Awareness for Every Well Newborn (S.A.F.E.) Program is being rolled out to hospitals, ambulatory care settings, communities, and homes to address the population-specific problem through nurse, parent and community education, development and dissemination of practice and education resources, and a community partnership with Maternity Care Coalition (MCC).

“In Philadelphia, 45 healthy babies die unexpectedly every year – a rate that is significantly higher than in other major cities,"said Marilyn Stringer, PhD, WHCNP, FAAN, a professor of Women's Health Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the principal investigator for the program. “Research shows these tragic deaths can be prevented by following safe sleep guidelines. By promoting safe sleep, and educating healthcare providers, parents and community members on Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) risk reduction strategies, we can help keep infants safe.”

The specific aims for the S.A.F.E. Program are to:

  • Develop a Safe Sleep Model Program for the hospital environment
  • Recruit all birthing hospitals within the City of Philadelphia and other birthing hospitals across Pennsylvania to participate in the Philadelphia S.A.F.E. Program
  • Facilitate and support the implementation of a comprehensive Safe Sleep Model Program at the recruited hospitals.
  • Increase population awareness of safe sleep practices, address emerging uses of products or behaviors that do not conform to safe sleep practices, and target diverse ethnic populations.

To achieve these aims, Dr. Stringer has assembled a multi-disciplinary team of nationally recognized leaders and researchers in obstetrical and neonatal practice; influential nurse leaders, educators, and scientists from Penn Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing; and partners from Maternity Care Coalition with an impressive record of community-based education and engagement using social media venues. During the first year of the project, the team developed nursing policies, assessment and evaluation tools, in-depth online training modules for both professional and support staff in hospitals as well as patient education materials based on the current safe sleep recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

A PASafeSleep collaborative was established with the clinical directors to facilitate the program implementation.  The team also recruited and trained a group of professional nurses and lactation consultants from each hospital to serve as Safe Sleep Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).  These SMEs collected pre-implementation data and facilitated the roll-out of the model hospital program at the unit level.  Moving forward, the SMEs will serve as a resource for the SMEs at the other recruited birthing hospitals to facilitate implementation of the program.

By partnering with MCC, the team has expanded the reach and impact of the project into the communities served by these hospitals. MCC has launched a Multi-Media Marketing Campaign to increase community awareness of safe sleep practices including extensive advertising on public transportation and social media and will soon include radio and waiting room videos. 

All advertising efforts direct consumers to the program’s website, which serves as an extensive resource for healthcare professionals and community members alike.  All components of the program can be accessed and downloaded directly from the website.   

During years two and three, the team will be facilitating implementation of the model hospital program at birthing hospitals in Philadelphia and surrounding counties. The advertising campaign will continue throughout the duration of the project. 

To locate grants for your hospital  or nonprofit visit GrantWatch.

About the Author: Bonnie Renner Ohnishi, BSN, RNC-MNN, who has been caring for women and infants in Philadelphia for close to two decades, is the Safe Sleep Project Coordinator and active member of the Baby Friendly Task Force at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

2018 Chalk-Lit Festival: Murals, Music and More!

The 2018 Chalk-Lit Festival is a free, family friendly event. It is just one example of engaging a community with nonprofits, small businesses and public-service agencies.

Hosted by Broward Cultural Division and Broward Main Library, Ft. Lauderdale’s 2018 Chalk-Lit Festival will take place with a literary theme, as part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read Community Reading Program.

The community is sure to come out for the food trucks, jamming live music, on-site murals, face painting, hands-on crafting and more! This artistic festival will provide laughter, pleasure and fun for the whole family, while introducing the community to local nonprofits, businesses and public-service agencies.

A community event can be the debut or launch of a community cause or fundraiser. Chalk festivals are easily adaptable to bring people out for community engagement. Add a fundraising page to spread the word and collect donations.

These art-infused festivities can be easily replicated in any town or city throughout the United States, with or without grant funding. With grant money, such events can be themed to capture the foundation’s vision that coincides with the focus of your nonprofit or a consortium of nonprofits.

Remember, these community events can come with a hefty price tag, but they can also serve as fundraisers for a cause. While the 2018 Chalk-Lit Festival is free to the public through grant funding, your activities may require purchased tickets or a strong encouragement for donations.

First, know your community – your audience: consider what special interests are shared by the individuals to whom you are trying to attract. Would a pop-up art gallery attract your community, or would a rock concert present the more desired result? Simply research your ideal market and create an event suitable to corresponding interests.

Create a community event: Attract your audience, engage the community and promote the mission and vision of the sponsoring organizations.

If you have some community-interaction ideas to share with your fellow business owners and nonprofit directors, pitch an article for publication on, the premier newspaper for nonprofit and business leaders.

About the Author: Kayli Tomasheski is the Copy Editor for