Dart has announced the recipients of this year’s Dart Grants programme, valued at a total of CI$250,000. NCVO Children Services was awarded the CI$50,000 Dart Grant in support of the refurbishment of the Nadine Andreas Foster Home. Eight additional local non-profit organisations received CI$25,000 Dart Grants.
Pilar Bush, Dart executive vice president with responsibility for community development, said supporting high-impact local community initiatives is central to Dart’s purpose in the Cayman Islands.
“The Dart Grants programme is designed to help well-run, local non-profits scale their positive impact in the Cayman Islands,” she said.
In January, registered non-profit organisations in the Cayman Islands were invited to apply for a Dart Grant to support projects that fit within three key areas of focus: education, youth development and the environment.
"These three areas of focus directly and indirectly underpin a thriving community and environment,” said Bush, who thanked all the applicants for the important contribution they make to the Cayman Islands.
"Since the onset of COVID-19, fundraising for certain causes has become more challenging even as the need for that work is more critical than ever," she said. "Local charities play an important role in addressing systemic issues in our community and the funding received through a Dart Grant will help them maximise their positive impact in our community."
After the applications were checked for eligibility and alignment with the three areas of focus, a panel of internal reviewers at Dart scored the requests on seven different criteria. Once the nine Dart Grants recipients were chosen, the three top-scoring finalists advanced to the final round of the selection process where all Dart employees had the opportunity to vote for the recipient of the $50,000 grant.
This year, that recipient is NCVO Children Services which will use the grant to renovate several areas of the Nadine Andreas Foster Home. The project includes turning a backyard shed into a fitness area to help improve the overall health and wellness of the children, repairing the outdoor deck, creating a purpose-built meeting space which will allow residents to meet and bond with their visiting family members in private, and adding a sensory experience room designed specifically to help individuals with special needs or unresolved trauma feel calm, supported, and focused.
"Our goal for 2021 is to enhance the quality of life of the Caymanian children who reside at NCVO's Foster Home,” says Paola Juarez-Robinson of the NCVO. “Thanks to this incredible grant provided by Dart, we can complete several renovation projects that will help the children feel more comfortable as they settle into a new home environment and teach them how to be resilient in times of adversity. Each child has been through a different experience and adding these spaces will help them work through unresolved trauma, whether it’s through sensory therapy, physical fitness or spending time outdoors.”
The eight recipients of the $25,000 Dart Grants are: Cayman Islands Aquatic Sports Association; Cayman Islands Crisis Centre; Central Caribbean Marine Institute; East End Primary School PTA; Inclusion Cayman; Literacy Is For Everyone; National Gallery of the Cayman Islands; and YMCA Cayman.
Although Dart Grants was launched in 2019, the 2020 programme was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CI$250,000 earmarked for last year’s Dart Grants was redirected towards COVID-19 relief efforts in the community, including urgent funding for local food security programmes facilitated by Cayman’s Acts of Random Kindness and Feed Our Future, and financial support of a private-sector initiative to bring COVID-19 testing supplies to the Cayman Islands.