Photo: Norm Shafer – www.normshaferphotography.com
The Staunton Creative Community Fund was excited to present the $5,000 Ignite Staunton grant award to Michael Reeps to help fund his project Staunton Fresh! Staunton Fresh is an online farmer’s market, directly linking local producers with consumers on a weekly schedule.
With eight finalists vying for the $5,000 Ignite Staunton grant award on Thursday, January 19th, judges didn’t have an easy time choosing a winner! The four-judge panel (including Bill Frazier of Frazier Associates, Erin Blanton of Pufferbellies Toys and Books, Claire Kent of Mary Baldwin College, and Suzi Carter of the Friendly City Food Co-op) was astonished by the innovation and community-mindedness of each grant application. These project proposals included everything from education-based gardening projects to the establishment of a permanent outdoor music stage downtown. And while the judges could only select one recipient of the $5,000 grant award, in partnership with the Staunton Creative Community Fund, they have committed to supporting each project through community networking and technical assistance in order to see these inspiring projects become a reality in Staunton.
Three Mary Baldwin College students were also selected to receive $500 grants from the school to fund a bike share program, a hunger outreach initiative, and a student run greenhouse to produce food for use on campus.
Ignite is a fast-paced geek event started by Brady Forrest, Technology Evangelist for O’Reilly Media, and Bre Pettis of Makerbot.com, formerly of MAKE Magazine. Speakers are given 20 slides, each shown for 15 seconds, giving each speaker 5 minutes of fame. The first Ignite took place in Seattle in 2006, and since then the event has become an international phenomenon, with gatherings in Helsinki, Finland; Paris, France; New York, New York; and many other locations.
Ignite Staunton, which was held on the third Thursdays of September, October, and November, was Virginia’s first Ignite experience and, of course, took on a uniquely Staunton flavor! During these “open-mic nights for the creative idea” we heard from presenters speaking about a variety of community-centered passions, ideas, and inspirations. Presenters then had an opportunity to apply for a $5,000 grant ($500 grants were available from Mary Baldwin College for innovative student ideas) to help make their idea a reality in our community!
Thursday’s event was our time to celebrate all of the amazing ideas and energy that came out of Ignite Staunton. We were honored to have music from Mr. Buddy Thomas, Three Guys With Notes, and Baldwin Charm!
What a great run…we couldn’t have done it without all of our amazing presenters and our supportive community members! THANK YOU!!