The Opus Foundation® is dedicated to building community for a better tomorrow. In December 2015, the Foundation awarded $573,000 in Impact Fund grants to 13 nonprofit organizations. Following the completion of their programs, grantees submit a report showing the impact of the Foundation’s giving. Below, you can read updates from three December 2015 grantees: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee, Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa and Urban Boatbuilders.
Cristo Rey Jesuit HS – Milwaukee, Wisc.
As Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (CRJHS) Milwaukee’s first freshman class finished the year, the need for a chemistry lab became apparent. In order to deliver on their commitment to provide a high-quality, college-prep education to students from the city’s low-income neighborhoods that matches the level of instruction that students in the middle- and upper-income neighborhoods will receive, a space for conceptual learning in chemistry was needed to complement the existing physics lab.
The Opus Foundation grant allowed CRJHS to complete the construction of the chemistry lab as it served as seed money to help them get more contributors. In August 2016, CRJHS welcomed its second freshman class. The new chemistry lab was transformational for CRJHS by demonstrating their commitment to their students.
Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa – Ames, Iowa
Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa wanted to increase their income stability and launch a retail store. (Read about the beginning of the project here.) With their grant, the organization was able to make their retail store permanent with a part-time store manager. They also partnered with Iowa State University and consultants to identify ways to enlarge and grow their business. And, finally, they were able to purchase their own truck to do pickups and deliveries.
With their new store Habitat is able to better champion the motto: Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Rebuild, and Reclaim. The community has embraced having a local store that sells quality used/recycled items. In fact, they’ve recently created a task force to consider increasing their hours and space.
Urban Boatbuilders - Minneapolis
The Urban Boatbuilders (UBB) Partnership Program fills a unique need within schools and community organizations by connecting youth to hands-on learning opportunities which build their academic skills in STEM subjects and increase their 21st century work-readiness and social emotional skills. With significantly fewer than half of students in urban schools achieving academic proficiency in core subjects and consistently decreasing student engagement rates, this opportunity connects youth to practical learning in a fun, supportive environment. Urban Boatbuilders used their grant to audit their existing programs, execute an outreach and recruitment plan to increase the number of projects and strengthen projects and more closely align with the needs of partners.
As a result of this grant-supported work, Urban Boatbuilders has already engaged new partners, is strengthening their programs and ensuring they are able to deliver high-quality and outcome-driven programming while also increasing revenue to support the program and organization.