Greater Minneapolis Gains an Accessible Asset with the Help of H&R Block Make Every Block Better Grant
For the third consecutive year, H&R Block and Nextdoor are partnering to Make Every Block Better in communities across the United States. The partnership brings to life community-nominated projects that improve the spaces and places where neighbors connect. The initiative invites changemakers to submit local projects for grant funding and volunteer support. Communities from around the country nominated projects that uplift and improve their communities and give neighbors a better chance to connect with one another.
Inclusion… Camaraderie… Accessibility… Free use… Not all gardens are built for this. But a pipe dream from a greater Minneapolis resident became a reality this year.
“This space brings different people together around a common goal. It’s amazing to watch communities create change on both an individual- and larger-city scale through the simple act of human connection. Life is all about building relationships, both with yourself and with those around you. When you’re part of a community that makes it easy.”
A 2022 winning project was a community tool shed in Golden Valley, Minn. Together with the Golden Valley Parks and Recreation Department, One Good Deed Founder Michelle Christensen cultivated the idea to create a shared gardening shed in the neighborhood’s first-ever community garden.
“This space brings different people together around a common goal,” said Christensen. The goal of the garden was to give back by constructing something rooted within the community and within the ground, “two pieces that are very important to make a better world.”
Christensen eagerly submitted the project plan to connect neighbors and uplift the Golden Valley community. After a vigorous review process, Carol was notified that her submission was one of just 11 projects across the country selected for the 2022 cohort.
In early July, volunteers from H&R Block, Nextdoor, and other community groups eagerly gathered to construct the shed, despite the harsh heat and humidity.
The grant enabled the community to construct and equip a community tool shed to accompany the all-inclusive garden so neighbors can grow vegetables, flowers, and other plants. This share shed means residents will have quick and easy access to the tools they need to tend the 40 raised garden beds. A local artist enhanced the shed by adding a mural that symbolized how humans and nature are so closely intertwined. The mural displays figures rooting in earth among nature.
Inclusivity was another vital element of the project. The community repurposed an old tennis court, and designed the garden to be fully ADA compliant so people of all abilities and mobilities can access and use the bountiful tools within the shed.
Christensen appreciatively credits external financial support as a change-maker for the project. “The grant that I received from H&R Block and Nextdoor is what made this project possible – and what allowed us to go above and beyond expectations.”
H&R Block’s Twin Cities District General Manager and project volunteer Tom Vail was ecstatic to contribute to the project. “To have the opportunity to help out financially, support the project, and also do some of the work is very rewarding. It’s important for us to be a part of that and bring people together to do something for the common good.”
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