The Black Benefactors is pleased to announce our 2014 grantee, Dreaming Out Loud, Inc. (DOL). Founded by Christopher Bradshaw, DOL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to inspire and build a more ethical society through human development, community engagement and social enterprise.
The organization founded and manages Aya Community Markets, a growing network of farmers markets and mobile farm-stands that provide access to fresh produce while promoting economic development and increasing health equity. DOL’s urban micro-farm, Aya Farms Project, is located within a few blocks of their farmers market in Ward 6 of Washington, DC and serves as a diverse community gathering place and youth employment program site. Participating youth design, plan, and implement community garden projects; receive nutrition education and S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning through gardening; and develop entrepreneurial and leadership skills by learning to run a farmers market.
By the numbers DOL has impacted more than 500 children and youth in after school and summer programs; and served more than 10,000 people and distributed more than 30,000 pounds of produce in their partner communities through Aya Community Markets.
Black Benefactors Funding
Our grant of $6,000 will be used to support DOL’s AyaFarms Project. Funding will allow DOL to enhance the space as a hub around which they develop and implement innovative urban farming projects utilizing sustainable practices, and a summer youth employment program for ten (10) youth. The goals for the project are:
- To build out a model micro-farm for intensive production of healthy foods by maximizing space in the urban environment.
- To further develop youth programs that teach entrepreneurship, cooperative business skills, build strong character, and develop leaders.
- To utilize AyaFarms as a base for increasing community agricultural learning, including growing one’s own food, healthy eating/cooking, and community building.
Black Benefactors funding will allow for the purchase of greenhouse materials, a storage shed and outdoor classroom/workshop materials; and general improvements. These enhancements will allow DOL to host programs for children and youth, as well as workshops for community members, particularly low-income individuals, to be able to meet their own food needs; supply public housing communities, churches, schools and community gardens in the area with seedlings for their growing projects; and house an aquaponics system – an agricultural technology that grows both fish and plants in a closed loop system, multiplying their impact and making this project unique in DC.
In addition to financial support, Black Benefactors members will provide in-kind support through volunteer service and professional skills.
Dreaming Out Loud, Inc.
920 U Street NW
Washington, DC 20001