Middletown, RI. – May 22, 2018 – Aquidneck Land Trust (“ALT”) has awarded 12 grants totaling $16,000 to local community and neighborhood groups through its annual grant program, the Merritt Neighborhood Fund. Grant awards ranged from $500 to $2,500.
Established in 1999 to honor the late Peter M. Merritt, the organization’s president emeritus, the Fund supports projects that strengthen community identity and character, and which model the ethic of land conservation and stewardship through community volunteerism. A recent donation of $4,621 to the Merritt Neighborhood Fund from the Newport County Board of Realtors and a $50,000 grant in 2017 from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation have allowed ALT to disperse more grants than in previous years.
“We were very pleased with the grant submissions this year,” said Chuck Allott, ALT Executive Director. “It is exciting to see how creative and thoughtful our local schools, clubs, neighborhood associations and small non-profit organizations are. We all benefit from their commitment and from the many ways they encourage our community to enjoy and treasure the outdoors.”
Awards were given to the following applicants:
• Aquidneck Community Table: raised garden beds at Pell Elementary School
• Bike Newport: bike path from Big Blue Bike Shed to Miantonomi Park
• Friends of Ballard Park: electrical panel for outdoor events at the park
• God’s Community Garden: straw bale gardens
• Lucy’s Hearth: raised garden beds
• Melville Elementary School: gardens for Outdoor Learning Center
• Middletown Tree Association: trees for Valley Park
• Museum of Newport Irish History: removal of dead tree at cemetery
• Norman Bird Sanctuary: improvements to hoop house
• Portsmouth Garden Club: trees for Portsmouth Historical Society building
• Sea Rose Montessori Co-op School: tools and storage for school vegetable garden
• St. John the Evangelist: expand and refurbish public prayer garden

Information on the 2019 Merritt Neighborhood Awards will be announced in February, 2019.