12 community groups share $80,000 to improve life along Connected Corridor

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Twelve North Atlantic Avenue community groups will receive a total of $80,000 in funding and technical grant management assistance to build a stronger community in the Bixby Knolls area of Atlantic Avenue — Connected Corridor’s Phase Two.

The Long Beach Community Foundation’s $80,000 in funding for the Leadership Long Beach Atlantic Corridor Phase Two Project, popularly referred to as the Connected Corridor, marks the second funding phase of community-based grants to strengthen the Atlantic Corridor. This project is made possible by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“We continue to build momentum as we move from North Long Beach to the Bixby Knolls and California Heights area on the Atlantic Avenue Corridor. The energy and excitement this project has created for the many people who have been involved in the connectivity process is amazing! Sharing resources and collaborating are all part of this transformational project,” said Carina Cristiano Leoni, Connected Corridor Project Director.

Building momentum happens through the involvement and participation of local residents, businesses, local organizations, and neighborhood groups — both formal and informal. Longfellow Legacy Foundation Board Chairman, James Zellerbach states, “Whether our organization received a grant from the Connected Corridor or not, we are committed to working with the Atlantic Corridor Project because of the impact it has on developing relationships and building a sense of community.”

Key to the success of the Connected Corridor project is creating collaborations among stakeholders. Grant recipients Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association, Alive Theatre, Long Beach Shakespeare Company, and Historical Society of Long Beach have done just that with their plans to collaborate on programming for First Fridays in Bixby Knolls. Boys and Girls Clubs Fairfield/Eastman branch and Jammin’ Music are collaborating to provide music education and drumming circles for youth in the area.

Longfellow Legacy Foundation received a grant to strengthen and sustain its partnerships with Long Beach BLAST, Long Beach Shakespeare Company, and Rancho Los Cerritos to promote key after-school programs for students. Hughes Middle School and the whole community will benefit from the vision of Hughes Green Team with their plans to educate and train youth in their responsibility to the environment.

Increasing communication and connectivity, with a focus on small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and neighborhood groups, EverythingLongBeach.com’s grant will support continued growth of this informative website. A new Sunday community-focused, family-friendly outdoor market in Phase Two is the project for the Uptown Coalition, a group of engaged residents seeking to build community.

Finally, Fairfield Family YMCA will be adorned with an aquatic-themed mural by Italian artist Laura Laciniati. She will educate and involve the youth in creating this mural on an exterior wall at the YMCA. Long Beach Nonprofit Partnership will again provide valuable technical assistance and guidance to all grant recipients as they did for Phase One.

Jim Worsham, President and CEO of the Long Beach Community Foundation, commented: “We continue to be impressed with the outcomes of the Connected Corridor project. Implementing the project’s goals – creating connectivity and empowering stakeholders – has brought new energy to the many diverse groups along Atlantic Avenue, and Carina Cristiano Leoni has done an admirable job of managing the project for Leadership Long Beach in the spirit of the Knight Foundation’s Transformation Initiative for Long Beach.”

For more detailed information on these grantees and their projects, please visit www.connectedcorridor.org.

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