Men in medical attire mingled with young violinists and suit-clad professionals in the Gene Strowd Community Rose Garden on Sunday.
And though the individuals came from different backgrounds, they had something in common — their work was made possible or partly funded by Strowd Roses Inc. grants, which celebrated their 10th anniversary at the garden celebration.
Strowd Roses Inc. was created as a private nonprofit foundation in 2001 by an endowment from the will of Irene Harrison Strowd, the wife of former Chapel Hill Alderman Gene Strowd.
The estate of Strowd’s sister, Gladis Harrison Adams, gave additional funding.
The foundation gives grants of up to $10,000 to groups who benefit the Chapel Hill and Carrboro communities.
Since its creation, Strowd Roses Inc. has granted more than $3.6 million to 224 organizations through 535 different grants.
“Giving away money is a lot of fun,” said Syd Alexander, a member of the foundation’s board of directors.
The ceremony included a speech by Alexander and speeches from representatives of groups that have received grants.
Gene Strowd dedicated the garden where the ceremony was held in September 1990, shortly before his death. It is open to the public and can be reserved for free. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation, which provides support for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, is one of the grant beneficiaries.
“Most students in the district benefit from this grant,” said Suki Newton, foundation president.
Margaret Gifford, founder and executive director for Farmer Foodshare, which buys food from local farmers and distributes it to those in risk of malnutrition, said the grant has helped them reach their goal of donating more than 56,000 pounds of food.
The Mallarmé Youth Chamber Orchestra, another grant recipient, performed at the celebration.
Another beneficiary, South Orange Rescue Squad, offered CPR training at the event.
Jacques Morin, a member of the squad’s Board of Directors, said the squad received about $55,000 over six years.
He said the money allowed the squad to create a free CPR training program — which it couldn’t have offered otherwise — and to buy equipment and books.
The UNC School of Social Work received grant money from the foundation over three years to complete a study using the Elementary School Success Profile. The study addressed problems in children’s lives that impede their education.
Natasha Bowen, a professor in the school, said she was excited for the funding.
“We’re so grateful for their support,” she said. “It’s wonderful to work with a foundation.”
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