JAM | Jun 2, 2023

D&G Foundation championing community development with $1 million grant to Jones Town Benevolent Society

/ Our Today

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Members of the D&G Foundation and the Jones Town Benevolent Society are joined by community members and a representative from the JCF to celebrate the award of $1 Million from the Foundation’s ‘Sustainable Streets’ competition. The award was presented on May 23, 2023. (Photo: Contributed)

Promoting sustainable development at the community level was the focus of last week’s Labour Day activities spearheaded by the Desnoes & Geddes (D&G) Foundation. 

The Foundation’s projects included a $1 million donation to the Jones Town Benevolent Society (JTBS), the winners for the county of Surrey in the foundation’s ‘Sustainable Streets’ Labour Day initiative. The funds have been earmarked for a range of activities, including renovations at the St. Simon Basic School in Jones Town.

Itan Henry, executive director at Jones Town Benevolent Society, expressed the organisation’s gratitude to be chosen as one of three finalists in the ‘Sustainable Streets’ competition. Work started on Tuesday to upgrade the community’s greenhouse project, clean garbage dumps, paint, and resolve plumbing issues at the Saint Simon Basic School.

The $1 million prize was also used to refurbish the community basketball and netball courts,  renovate the community centre, and purchase sporting equipment for use in ten areas with the community to encourage leisurely and competitive sports.

“We are elated to have been selected as winners of the Sustainable Streets competition. The D&G Foundation continues to offer opportunities to boost sustainable community development across the island, and as a corporate entity, it is truly commendable how trustworthy they are. The foundation does not only claim to value sustainability, but they continue to prove that to us and have partnered with them on numerous occasions in the past; we knew this partnership would be just as valuable”, says Henry.

The D&G Foundation’s ‘Sustainable Streets’ competition called on community groups islandwide to compete to win one of three $1 million grants for Labour Day projects focused on environmental conservation and sustainable development.

D&G Foundation director Dianne Ashton-Smith was part of a group of volunteers who participated in the JTBS Labour Day activities in the community. She commended the society’s ongoing efforts to impact the volatile community and bring about long-term change for residents.

“”The greatest gift we can give to future generations is a world that is sustainable, equitable, and just. The Desnoes and Geddes Foundation understands this responsibility and is committed to investing in communities and projects that promote a better future for all. We believe that empowering vulnerable communities through sustainable projects is not only a way to provide immediate relief, but also a means to build long-term resilience and self-sufficiency. Recognising the transformative power of sustainable solutions, we are committed to investing in projects that create lasting positive impact for those who need it the most.”

Excited to join the Jones Town Benevolent Society as they undergo their Labour Day activities, D&G Foundation director Dianne Ashton Smith (left) and Red Stripe head of human resources, Judon Bowden (right) pose for a photo-op with Jones Town community member Louise Newland (middle) on May 23, 2023. (Photo: Contributed)

The D&G Foundation started working with the Jones Town Benevolent Society last year when they entered the Foundation’s ‘6 for 60’ competition. “Although they were not finalists, we were so moved by their dedication to the community that we began a long-term partnership. The society’s values align with the Foundation’s mission to impact lives and enrich communities, so when we received their comprehensive application for the ‘Sustainable Streets’ initiative, they were an obvious choice due to their focus on sustainability and revenue generation for the community and its residents. We admire their commitment to Jones Town and are delighted to be a part of their journey,” added Ashton-Smith.

Just last year, the D&G Foundation donated $160,000 to assist with the establishment of a ‘safe space’ where community members could gather to learn and play.

The foundation also provided a $100,000 cash sponsorship and 100 thumb drives to facilitate a graduation ceremony for the society’s recently concluded USAID-funded’ Heart in Hands’ skills training programme in April.


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