Below is a list of community organizations that Perennial Planters is currently supporting. All donations included with dues payments are divided evenly among these organizations. All donations to Mary Elizabeth Sharpe Park are dealt with in a separate fund.
The Student Conservation Association:
The Student Conservation Association (SCA) is one of America’s leading youth conservation corps. Their members protect and restore national parks, marine sanctuaries, cultural landmarks and community green spaces in all 50 states.
The SCA is a program which, for the last 64 years, has helped to build the next generation of conservation leaders through offering young people hands-on internship programs working on Public Lands in all 50 States. SCA was broadly modeled on the Civilian Conservation Crews.
High School SCA volunteer interns spend a month living together remotely and do critical trail and site work on US parklands. SCA college interns are offered summer field employment in conservation related fields. Critical work is done by SCA in our National Parks, US Forests, Fish and Wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management sites. SCA offers young people truly life and education changing experiences.
In SCA’s nascent years, GCA funding was critical. Many GCA clubs, including Perennial Planters, continue to help support its important work in creating “hands-on, get-dirty” conservation and environmental work experiences for young people.
Providence Neighborhood Planting Program
The Providence Neighborhood Planting Program (PNPP) is a street tree planting partnership with the City of Providence, and its residents. PNPP plants, stewards, and advocates for street trees in Providence. PNPP provides free street trees to Providence residents and helps community neighborhoods plant their trees. PNPP also trains and empowers residents to become Providence Community Tree Keepers, and fosters engagement with our Urban Forest.
Since 1989, PNPP has co-funded 50/50 with the City, and planted over 13,000 street trees through the efforts of over 620 neighborhood groups. Street trees, grown between the street and sidewalks, create beauty and improve neighborhoods. Street trees need to be replanted to compensate for loss from age, disease and structural defects, or the overall urban tree canopy will continue to shrink. PNPP has been critical in helping to plant trees in neighborhoods which have low tree canopy cover, and which need them the most.
PNPP was started by our fellow member Perennial Planter, Peggy Sharpe, who had an unwavering commitment to increasing the number of street trees in the City of Providence. She knew the intrinsic value of trees; for their beauty, the cooling shade and human health benefits they provide, their environmental value and the natural habitat they create. PNPP continues to be a hardworking and impactful small program, primarily funded by the Mary Elizabeth Sharpe PNPP (MESPNPP) Fund, a dedicated endowment at the RI Foundation. While Peggy has recently stepped down from the PNPP Board, she continues to advocate in support of Providence’s growing Urban Forest, and the PNPP program she helped to create, which ensures that important work continues.
Helen Walker Raleigh Tree Care Fund
The Helen Walker Raleigh Tree Fund (HWR Fund) is a dedicated fund at the RI Foundation which is committed to the care and upkeep of Rhode Island’s trees, especially those in the City of Providence. It’s founder and Perennial Planter member, Helen Walker Raleigh, was an avid horticulturist. Her HWR Fund has been a vital funding mechanism which has enabled the City of Providence to care for the health of its trees, many of which are PNPP planted trees.
The HWR Fund quietly enables the City of Providence Urban Forester to undertake critical projects which are beyond the City budget. One powerful example is the HWR funding of a city-wide tree inventory made of ALL city trees; rated by species, age, location and quality. This computerized inventory enables the City to track invasive threats, prioritize pruning and planting and to improve the overall care of City trees; young and old. Providence has also been able to maintain the health of City trees through a continuing 10-year cycle City Block Pruning program. This allows the city to annually systematically prune 10% of all city trees.
Helen would be proud that Perennial Planters continues to support the efforts of the HWR Fund to preserve and improve the health of the Providence Tree canopy.
Mile of History
Benefit Street, known as one of the most important streets in America, is the inspiration for the Mile of History Association, a 501c(3). The not for profit organization was formed out of the recognition of streetlights, sidewalks, and tree pits not being maintained and falling into disrepair.
MoHA’s mission is as follows: “We work to preserve, protect, and promote the historic character of Benefit Street and its surrounds.” www.mileofhistory.org
While most members are area residents and institutions, the support of anyone who values the historical significance of the area and understands the importance of preserving it for future generations is welcomed. Supported by its membership, private donations, and local foundations, MoHA supports many residences, institutions, green spaces and an important historic landscape. It brings attention to the variety of cultures which have settled in the area in the last five centuries.
From the Providence Preservation Society: “Providence’s Mile of History is renowned not only for its Colonial and Early Federal buildings, but also for its mix of later 19th-and 20th-century buildings. Important civic, cultural, and religious institutions, mingled with private residences, add diversity and vitality to the neighborhood.”
India Point Park
Some History of India Point Park: The first Port of Providence was established at India Point in 1680. Over the next 250 years, India Point flourished as a center of maritime trade, spearheaded by the merchant John Brown. The port at India Point was so named for Brown's tea and spice trade with the East Indies. The Brown shipping industry closed in the early 1800's, but the development of several railroad lines through Providence during 1835-1860 maintained the area's importance as a New England trade center until the Great Depression of the 1930's.
As the nation sank into economic despair, the rail-yards at India Point became a scrap metal facility; it essentially became a processing point for garbage and refuse. India Point and the rest of Providence's waterfront were demolished by the 1938 hurricane, and the construction I-95 cut through India Point area in 1966.
The rebirth of India Point as a Park was championed by Mary Sharpe. Her fundraising and historical research efforts helped transform India Point from rail-yards into the present-day park. Other Providence parks had lost land to the construction of I-95, and the federal government had promised the city a large sum of money to rebuild parks. Mrs. Sharpe's determined efforts ushered in the delivery of this money, and India Point Park was finally christened in 1974. The park has flourished after the addition of a wide pedestrian bridge over I-95 that reconnects Fox Point neighborhood to the Park.
Southside Community Land Trust
Southside Community land Trust (SSCLT) helps people grow food. They are a local not-for profit program which provides access to land, education and other resources to Rhode Islanders in order to help them grow healthy food. By providing community garden space at their urban gardens and City Farm, community members are able to grow and harvest their own food. Harvests often produce varieties of vegetables which are unavailable at markets.
SSCLT brings access to growing healthy food to people who have the least access to it. SSCLT trains gardeners and farmers to grow food for their families and neighbors, and provides inexpensive land and agricultural resources to help them to do it. The SSCLT garden network alone, produces food for roughly 1,200 people and their families every year!
Beyond providing community garden space with healthy soil, SSCLT provides training through apprenticeships and hands-on workshops for beginning farmers and others seeking to learn about small-scale, sustainable farming. They provide a critical link to healthy food for many Rhode Islanders.