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Plan Now for Seed Money

Unity Gardens grants up for grabs

Plants and flowers aren’t all that grow in gardens. Leadership and civic involvement can also bloom. That’s a motivating idea behind Unity Gardens, a nonprofit that backs its philosophy with dollars.
    So twice each year when Unity Gardens gives away seed money, in the spring and fall, human growth potential is a top giving criteria.
    “We want projects that build community partnerships, bringing in volunteers and creating opportunities for leaders to emerge and take on new projects,” says Unity executive director Barbara Dowling, as the next grant cycle begins.
    Biannually, Unity Gardens makes grants for purposeful gardens to neighborhood groups, schools, churches, Scout troops and other community organizations in Anne Arundel County.
    Projects have ranged from butterfly gardens to sea grass installations. Providing food and shelter for bees and butterflies while creating rain gardens to improve stormwater drainage have been popular projects in the last year.
    Priority gardens use “native plants that can endure hot and dry weather and things that improve our environment, like rain gardens or pollinator gardens,” Dowling says.
    In its 14 years, Unity Gardens has awarded $200,000 to more than 200 organizations. Founded as part of the Severn River Association, the organization receives funding from foundation grants, corporate and individual donations and local government support.
    Grants up to $1,000 may be used for trees, plants and materials to support potential projects.
    Apply through August 31: www.unitygardens.org.