By Amanda Ensinger
Residents in Prairie Township can play an active part in the development of a new sports facility that will help children and adults with disabilities thanks to a new fundraising project through the Prairie Township Community Fund.
The group, which is under the umbrella of the Columbus Foundation, allows community stakeholders to raise funds for projects within the township.
“The Prairie Township Community Fund will lead private fundraising efforts for projects that will positively impact Prairie Township and its surrounding neighbors,” said James Gant, director of the Prairie Township Community Center. “We are just getting started, but down the road we will focus on raising funds for major community projects that residents are interested in seeing in the township.”
The mission of the organization is to enhance the quality of life in Prairie Township by enriching traditions and supporting innovation through leadership and giving.
The Columbus Foundation is a philanthropic advisor to 2,500 individuals, families and businesses who have created charitable funds and planned gifts to make a difference in the lives of others through philanthropy.
The first major project the Prairie Community Fund will take on is raising funds to build an artificial turf field that will be designed specifically for individuals with special needs. This field will allow individuals with special needs to experience the joy and camaraderie that comes from being a part of a team.
“The field will have a hard surface and will be an artificial turf,” Gant said. “This will allow people using crutches or wheelchairs to more easily use the field and won’t be as restricting for them as a natural field would be.”
The new field would be used for soccer, football and other field sports.
“With all the cost associated with the field, it will cost approximately $1.8 million,” Gant said. “We want the community to be involved in the fundraising process for this and have created the Prairie Community Fund Giving Tree to raise some money for this project.”
The tree is made of wood and hangs in the community center. Residents can support this project by purchasing pieces of the tree. Donors can purchase a paper leaf, small branch piece, dark leaves, light green leaves, green and blue leaves or the dark bark of the trunk.
Prices range from $10 to $1,000 depending on the piece of the tree you purchase. All donors also can have some inscription on the piece of the tree they donated. Inscriptions can range from their family name to a child’s name to the name of a loved one they want to remember.
“If we sell the entire tree, we will raise close to $150,000,” Gant said. “This will only be about 10 percent of the cost of the entire project, but we wanted to get the community involved in this project and this is a wonderful way to do that.”
The Prairie Township Community Fund also plans on reaching out to larger businesses to get some corporate sponsors, but says the giving tree will continue to be a fixture of the community and will forever hang at the community center.
Organizers hope to secure funding for the new field within the next two years and plan on building it at the Galloway Road Sports Complex.
“We have already spoken with other soccer leagues and they are interested in using this field,” Gant said. “Once it is complete, it will be a wonderful resource for people in Prairie Township, as well as surround communities and will fill a big void that current exists.”
If you are interested in donating to the Prairie Township Community Fund Giving Tree, visit www.prairietownship.org.