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Grants in Action
Grant Helps West Dayton Residents Explore Their Passions
to create, collaborate and learn.
With the decline in manufacturing and rise in lower-wage service industries, 58 percent of adults working full time in West Dayton earn less than a livable wage. In addition, 43 percent of adults living in this area have no higher education, with few accessible and affordable options for skills-based training.
To help create pathways for residents and give them access to opportunities that bridge the skills and wealth gap, Co-op Dayton launched the Westside Makerspace in 2021. The cooperative, which is owned and controlled by workers in the community, aims to open doors to new businesses for area residents, as well as help them explore their passions and learn new skills. Its founding members include three engineers and a team of makers, all of whom are from West Dayton.
The Dayton Foundation supported the effort in 2021 with a $75,000 discretionary grant to help the organization hire a project manager and lead an interactive community-based market study. An additional $9,500 was awarded through the Foundation’s Partners in Giving, an outreach program that gives Donor-Advised Fund holders the opportunity to join with The Dayton Foundation to support local projects and initiatives.
“As an artist, I am excited about this project and the innovative ways it allows for community members, who do not see themselves as artists, to participate in their own creativity.”
– Sami Walker-Baskin, founder of SamiDubz Art
Samantha (Sami) Walker-Baskin became involved with Westside Maker-space as the founder of SamiDubz Art to support established and rising artists and encourage non-artists to partake in the arts. SamiDubz Art offers customized artwork in the formats of painting and jewelry and “art fun,” such as face painting, paint and sip parties, and more.
“As an artist, I am excited about this project and the innovative ways it allows for community members, who do not see themselves as artists, to participate in their own creativity,” Sami said. “The community-centered process to co-design the programs and future home of Westside Makerspace has connected me with incredible people, and I am proud to be building with this community.”
Ensuring that community members have a strong voice in the development process is the basis behind the cooperative model. Westside Makerspace is the latest cooperative effort put forth by Co-op Dayton, a nonprofit organization founded on the belief that community and worker ownership can transform Dayton’s Black and working-class neighborhoods by creating jobs and businesses. Gem City Market, Dayton’s first cooperative grocery store, also was incubated under Co-op Dayton.
“Thanks to the Foundation’s grant, the community is able to ensure Westside Makerspace is a reflection of what we need to create, design and build together,” said Cherrelle Gardner, program director for Co-op Dayton. “Grants like these allow us to make sure these projects are driven by the people most impacted, and we are developing enterprises that meet community needs, create good-paying jobs and keep businesses rooted in Dayton.”
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- » From the President: DEI as a Community-wide Strategy Makes Greater Dayton Better for All
- » Thanks to Marva Cosby
- » Recent Discretionary Grants
- » The Dayton Foundation News
- » New Endowment Funds
- » Grants in Action
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