Fifteen social impact projects to be undertaken by 11 JN Circle Chapters across the country have each received a grant of up to $1.5 million from the JN Foundation.
JN Circle Ocho Rios, Port Maria and Gayle received grants for a total of four projects; while Westmoreland, Spanish Town, and Morant Bay received grants for two projects each, and Mandeville, Junction, Lucea and Santa Cruz were each awarded grants for single initiatives.
Claudine Allen, general manager, JN Foundation, explained that the projects were selected based on defined set of criteria to include the innovativeness, impact, feasibility and sustainability of projects, as well as the extent to which the groups collaborate with others within the JN Circle network and external partners to implement the initiatives.
“In selecting the successful applicant, we looked at the originality and creativity in addressing societal or community challenges. We also looked at the expected outcomes and the potential to create positive change. The groups were also required to present a realistic and achievable plan, as well as show evidence of long-term viability and potential for ongoing impact beyond the grant period. There was also a requirement for collaboration among the JN Circle Network or external partners,” she outlined.
“I am happy for all of you because I know the journey, and I want to say congratulations… because the application process demanded you package your ideas according to world class standards. Well done to all of you,” she told Circle members at a recent luncheon in St Ann where the awards were announced.
The JN Circle is a transnational network of JN members and customers who, by leveraging the JN network, serve as advocates and community change agents to improve their own lives and positively impact their communities. There are some 16 JN Circle Chapters spread across all parishes across Jamaica. The network also thrives in Toronto, Canada and London, England.
Pixley Irons, president, JN Circle Ocho Rios, Port Maria and Gayle, whose Chapter received four grants, said his group is passionate about education and submitted proposals geared towards addressing education challenges in his locale.
“We submitted proposals for a rainwater harvesting system for Ferncourt High School; repairs to be done on Gayle Primary Reading Room; Jeffrey Town Basic School had asked us for some appliances; and the refurbishing of the Clapham Basic School. We asked members of our Circle to ask around the communities to see what projects were there that we could undertake. When we got the feedback, we got more projects than we could assist and we shortlisted these,” he outlined.
“There are many things that need to be done but we placed special emphasis on education because it is important. We need our students to be comfortable in their environment. All our projects surround educational institutions, and we are pleased that we were able to submit these projects and they qualified for a grant from the JN Foundation,” he added.
Among the other projects to benefit from individual grants were JN Circle Port Antonio to furnish the Port Antonio Women’s Centre; JN Circle Mandeville to install a solar water heating system for a homeless shelter in Manchester and JN Circle Junction to introduce a reading programme in Alligator Pond, Manchester.
JN Circle Westmoreland also received funding to refurbish the Paul Island Basic School and to upgrade the Hatfield Basic School in the parish; JN Circle Spanish Town received funding for an environment project targeted to youth in Spanish Town, St Catherine, and JN Circle Morant Bay were presented with funds for a Digital Access Project for the St Thomas Parish Library and to establish a playground at the Chapel Hill Basic School. JN Circle Lucea will use its funds for the Maryland Basic School Playground, and JN Circle Santa Cruz will develop a playground at the Northampton Basic School so that the institution can receive certification from the Early Childhood Commission (ECC). The Santa Cruz Circle will also upgrade the Goshen Primary School so it can be certified by the ECC.