Hunting Park: Esperanza Receives Grant for Community Renewal

Esperanza's Philip Dawson presents check from its Wells Fargo grant.
Esperanza recently announced receipt of a $681,000 grant from Wells Fargo Bank. The multiple-mission organization received this grant to help fund its Hunting Park Neighborhood Strategic Plan 2022, which aims to revitalize the Hunting Park community through educational, commercial and residential efforts.
Esperanza's Philip Dawson presents check from its Wells Fargo grant.
Esperanza’s Philip Dawson presented a check from its Wells Fargo grant.

“One of the biggest changes for us internally was being able to hire a new staff person,” Esperanza’s Economic Development Manager Phillip Dawson said. “We were able to hire our education and community development manager. He’s going to be spearheading a lot of the projects that are funded under this implementation grant.”

Esperanza submitted the application in July, 2012.

“The application itself was a 20-page overview of the organization with questions about our history, capacity to implement these types of projects, the way our staff works [and] the types of programs we have had within this community,” Dawson said.

Roughly six months after Esperanza submitted its application, Wells Fargo awarded the grant.

Esperanza will receive the grant over the course of the next five years. The grant features the possibility for two renewals, potentially ending up as nine-year grant.

In order to receive these renewals, the 2022 Plan will submit quarterly progress reports to Wells Fargo.

The grant “will help us weave education throughout this entire process – the revitalization of this community,” Esperanza’s Education and Community Development Manager Maurice Stinnett said. “We don’t want to just put you in a new house or job if we didn’t provide the education which we feel is the foundation that helps sustain those things.”

Work began on the 2022 Plan in 2010. The plan was released in April, 2012. Implementing this plan is projected to cost over $4 million per year.

Esperanza projects the majority of the funding for the plan, 88 percent, will come from the public sector.

The plan is structured into seven initiatives: building pride and spirit, communications, education, housing, business development, capital investments and improving the environment. These initiatives will happen over the course of three progressions: immediate-term launch (2013-2015), intermediate-term completion (2016-2017) and the visionary/long-term completion (2018-2022).

“From what I gather, when [Wells Fargo] does a planning grant, they want their grantees to succeed,” Esperanza’s Director of Foundation Giving Elizabeth Pendley said. “I don’t think they give too much help in the sense that they’re basically walking you through it.”