The first two design grants extend the work of Sacred Places/Civic Spaces, a recent initiative of the Collaborative and Partners for Sacred Places to re-envision underutilized, purpose-built religious properties as community hubs.
Collaborative volunteers will develop a conceptual design for Berean Presbyterian Church to help the congregation expand its community programming. The church is located at North Broad and Diamond Streets. Already an active community hub, Berean is currently home to a community computer lab, a monthly dinner program, and clothing and food pantries. It also provides space for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History conferences, Temple University’s MLK Day of Service, and affordable, noncredit classes offered through Temple University’s Pan African Studies Community Education Program.
St. Babs Church of All Religions in Cape May Courthouse has received a design grant for a conceptual design to guide the restoration and renovation of its historic church and cemetery. St. Babs, formerly the Goshen United Methodist Church, serves the needs of the Cape May County community through mindfulness, recovery, and arts education programming. The church is owned by South Jersey native Will Keenan, a character actor and former president of Streamup, a live streaming platform. The Hollywood actor and entrepreneur purchased the church while on a sabbatical to care for his mother after her diagnosis with cancer. St. Babs is named in memory of his mother, Barbara Sees-Keenan, and its mission is inspired by her compassion and care as a registered nurse.
The Collaborative will also be working with the Southwest Community Development Corporation (SWCDC) on a feasibility study for a multi-use, eco-friendly wellness center to serve the Southwest Philadelphia community. SWCDC, together with partners Evelyn Graves Ministries and MEE Productions, sought help with identifying space and programmatic needs, understanding how the desired program might fit on the proposed site, and evaluating potential construction costs. This design grant will help SWCDC confirm the project’s feasibility and identify potential tenants.
In Northeast Philadelphia, Mayfair Community Development Corporation will receive preliminary design services for a conceptual design of a proposed community pocket park. The CDC plans to acquire a 16,500 square foot lot at the rear of three residential blocks. With assistance from the Collaborative, they will engage the community in re-envisioning the lot as a safe, beautiful, productive green space—an amenity for adjacent residents and the surrounding community that contributes to the overall vitality of the neighborhood.
The Collaborative helps nonprofits succeed in the challenging arena of community and economic development through its Design Grant Program. Every grant offers a unique scope of design services and team of volunteer design professionals to meet the needs of the nonprofit and the community it serves. The Collaborative’s preliminary design services prepare nonprofits to advance to the next stage of community development: gaining support, raising funds, and building projects.