April 13, 2018|By Shannon Lee and Ginny Moore
Since 2007, U-Haul and The Conservation Fund have partnered to protect and restore forests, create parks and strengthen the green economy across the United States. Through grants funded by U-Haul, support for entrepreneurial programs with conservation and economic outcomes are addressing these challenges and delivering high-impact results to communities in Atlanta, Georgia and Kansas City, Missouri.

Sustainable Entrepreneurs, Empowered Communities

In Atlanta, grants from U-Haul are helping Historic Westside Gardens support community-based farmers that have produced a total of nearly 800 pounds of fresh produce in an area that suffers as a USDA-identified food desert (an area, particularly lower income communities, with limited access to affordable and nutritious food).

4 13 IMG 0851Photo by Historic Westside Gardens.

“Support from U-Haul and The Conservation Fund has allowed Historic Westside Gardens to be more strategic in how we build ‘neighborhood economics’ around food supply. By providing the resources needed to allow more home gardeners to join the cycle of producing food, we can ensure it is grown for the community and by the community.”
-- Gil Frank, Executive Director for Historic Westside Gardens

In Kansas City, the Evangel Spiritual Temple is opening the Manna From Heaven Food Pantry in the Marlborough community. Grant funds will support training for staff at the food pantry and community garden, both of which provide residents of Marlborough with fresh, healthy food and education about nutrition.

4 13 EST Gardens 3Photo by Evangel Spiritual Temple.

Innovative Community Engagement

A nonprofit theater company in Kansas City is expanding the horizons of the young and young-at-heart through the art of puppetry in an interdisciplinary community of ethnic and cultural diversity, primarily focusing on environmental education through art. StoneLion Puppet Theatre will use their creative talents to provide environmentally themed puppet shows at two community events in Marlborough.

4 13 Painted Lady Butterfly graphicPhoto by StoneLion Puppet Theatre.

Advocates for environmental health and community-driven social justice outcomes, Atlanta-based ECO-Action will collaborate with Community Improvement Association and Box of Chocolates Media to organize creek cleanups and create media content on environmental issues and green infrastructure that can be shared with our Parks with Purpose partners.

4 13 creek clean up 7 11Photo by ECO-Action.

Partnerships = Results

“At U-Haul, we work to never forget that our self-move, self-store and closely related products and services are to improve human lives. Partnering with like-minded organizations allows us to support and give back to the communities where we live, work and play. U-Haul is proud of our 10-year partnership with The Conservation Fund and grateful for our customers’ continued support of that partnership. These grant recipients are equally committed to improving human lives and we are excited to see the positive impact they will have on their communities and beyond.”
- Michelle Sullivan, Manager U-Haul Corporate Sustainability

In Kansas City, our local partner, the Marlborough Community Coalition (MCC), is focused on linking partners and stimulating new grassroots leadership that will strengthen the Marlborough neighborhoods for increased home ownership, economic growth and high-quality education opportunities. MCC has a vision for a Sustainability Center to solidify Marlborough’s path to economic revitalization through green opportunities, and grant funding is helping get the concept off the ground.

4 13 Catalyst Center Ribbon CuttingPhoto by MCC.

In the first two rounds of grants in Atlanta, U-Haul and The Conservation Fund awarded $50,000 to eight grassroots organizations that have helped train 16 home gardeners, 30 urban farmers and 12 high school students focused on tree care along Atlanta’s BeltLine. The program has also supported the production of nearly one and half tons of locally-grown fresh fruits and vegetables and the creation of a small landscaping business that is working to maintain Atlanta’s parks thus far.

A total of $50,000 in grant funding will be allocated in Kansas City throughout 2018 and 2019. Generosity from U-Haul and its customers has significantly advanced our work in cities. Learn more about all the grant recipients in Atlanta, as well as our work in Kansas City.