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It was revealed this week that the Ava Community Playground project will receive a $25,000 grant from Pepsi.
Throughout the month of July, people nationwide voted online for the project they felt deserved the grant money. Out of the hundreds of projects submitted from across the country, the Ava Playground came in 9th place overall. All projects that placed in the top 15 were awarded with $25,000.
Jessica Jenkins, of Ava, who is spearheading the playground effort, says the week of Oct. 4-10 has been set aside as “Build Week.” That’s when volunteers will come together to begin constructing the playground that was designed by children of the community through the guidance of Leathers and Associates, a design firm that specializes in custom-design community-built projects.
The Ava Community Playground project is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that has partnered with other local organizations such as CHART and Missouri Ozarks Community Health (MOCH) which will provide the site for the playground.
A year ago, when the playground project was first presented, Jenkins and her committee were eyeing a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant. The local project came up short in that online voting, but through persistent promotion, supporters from around the country nudged the playground into the top 15 in July of this year, good enough for the $25,000 which was supposed to have been issued this week.
Jenkins told the Herald that through other fundraisers, including a $1,000 check received last winter from Reader’s Digest, the organization has about $12,000 accumulated in addition to the recent grant.
Jenkins said the fundraising effort will be ongoing, and the local committee will continue to seek other grants and donations.