OKMS Maker Space

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OKMS Maker Space

Wow! Orchard Knob Middle School (OKMS) students will be welcomed back to school in August with halls filled with vibrant colors, new furniture, and loads of love and support from the local community. Thanks to the transformation that took place at the OKMS inaugural Beautification Week. A team of volunteers, contractors, artists  and organizers came together to tackle numerous projects throughout the campus in July.

Construction company, Tucker Build, and artists Rondell Crier & Brent Sanders teamed up to prep and refurbish an approximately 5000 square foot space that will be transformed from a storage and overflow area into a Multi-Purpose room that will be the prime location for numerous after school programs and a teacher collaboration room.

The Multi-Purpose room will include spaces for a conference area for collaborative work, a computer station, areas for small group or individual work as well as an exercise/dance area for after-school dance and yoga classes, Home Economics area (with brand new appliances donated by Lowes!), and a maker space. 

The team  received in-kind donations for plumbing, electrical, and general painting supplies, but needed additional funds in order to complete the various artistic elements and provide furnishings.

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Sensory Friendly Concerts with CSO

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Sensory Friendly Concerts with CSO

The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s Sensory Friendly concerts feature performances by the String or Wind Ensembles in a space that allows for movement, interaction, or easy listening. Perfect for kids and families of all ages and abilities, these short performances feature themed programs with kid-friendly pieces, opportunities to meet the musicians and the instruments, and let kids (and parents!) experience the magic of music together!  Join us this season for one or all of our sensory friendly concerts in October, December, February, and April.  

We are excited to be partnering with the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga to provide this sensory concert series at no cost to Chattanooga families.  

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Homes and Havens | Kaysie Strickland

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Homes and Havens | Kaysie Strickland

Homes & Havens, since its inception in September 2016, helps women who are overcoming crisis, homelessness, abuse, or addiction transition from having a place to live to having a home. Kaysie, a home decorator by trade, helps reimagine and renew their space with paint, furniture, home goods, and as much beauty as she can fit into four walls. Having a renewed home can help them continue to heal, overcome, and grow confident in their victorious new season of life.

On average, it takes about $800 to give one woman’s apartment/home a beautiful makeover. Kaysie takes thriftiness to a whole new level. Many of these women are in the process of trying to recover custody of their kids and having a home that is beautiful and equipped to support healthy relationships gives them confidence and excitement to keep moving forward. Our $3,000 grant will help transform 4 women's homes here in Chattanooga. Read about some of the women Kaysie has already helped here.

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Instrument Acquisition for Chattanooga Girls Rock Camp

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Instrument Acquisition for Chattanooga Girls Rock Camp

Chattanooga Girls Rock (CGR) is a non-profit whose mission is to "empower girls in our community to build confidence and celebrate their individuality through collaborative music education and performance." After an inspiring Summer 2016 rock camp for girls ages 10-17, 2017 is growing by 66%! Our $3,000 grant will help CGR build an inventory of gear and instruments of their own before camp this summer. Why buy used gear when you can just borrow?

First, one of the biggest hurdles, logistical quagmires and strains on resources is the process of having instruments and gear loaned out to them for camp. It involves seeking out donors willing to pledge their instruments, gathering the instruments, labeling them and then returning them to their owners at the end of the week. This year nearly 20 drum kits alone are needed for camp, not to mention the guitars, amps, PAs, cables and accessories. Even a small collection of owned gear would relieve organizational stress and energies could be redirected into the quality of programming for camp.

The second reason, and the really exciting part, is the ability to open inventory and gear up to the Chattanooga community at large (outside of camp/CGR programming dates). Imagine a free instrument and gear loan program for all youth in the city aged 17 and under! After camp last year there was a desire from campers to continue playing the instruments they learned at camp. Unfortunately the cost of those items, and the necessary accessories, is often prohibitively expensive. Step in, The UNFoundation. Problem solved, opportunity taken advantage of. Nice job, CGR leaders.

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Film Awards for Chattanooga Film Festival

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Film Awards for Chattanooga Film Festival

The fourth annual Chattanooga Film Festival brings something undoubtedly special to our city. Every spring, the cinema nerd comes out in all of us as the buzz of one of the city's signature events comes to life. We're proud to play a small part this this tradition by supporting, for the fourth year, the festival's Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best TN Filmmaker, and Best Student Filmmaker winner's prizes, $2,500 total. Investing in artists to give them the cash fuel to make more art is the bee's knees.

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JROTC Storage Facility at Sale Creek Middle High School

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JROTC Storage Facility at Sale Creek Middle High School

Meet the special forces of Sale Creek Middle High School. Essentially that's what they are. This esteemed group of youth is physically fit and are proficient in survival, first aid, knots, land navigation, rope bridge and a variety of other reactionary skills, which require rucksacks, carry litters, five gallon water cans, sandbags etc.  As a result, they have lots of military equipment that the cadets use for both training and competition. Until now, this equipment has had no home and has been living in various places around the school.

Enter The UNFoundation. We are going to spend $900 and get these hard working cadets a shed from Lowe's to store their stuff. Not only will it give them more time to train and learn but it will prevent items from going missing when strewn all over the school. GO TEAM!

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Rivermont Elementary STEAM Lab Weather Station

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Rivermont Elementary STEAM Lab Weather Station

Rivermont Elementary, a Title 1 school, is in the process of converting 2 unused classrooms into a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) lab where the kids and teachers can build, create, tinker, explore, and learn together—think science lab meets art studio. Construction of the lab is generously being provided by Strauss Construction with design by COGENT Studio and behind all of this is an illustrious principal named Nikki Bailey.

Our grant will fund the purchase of a Davis Vantage Pro2 Plus weather station. It combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics to deliver real time, real life daily lessons. This one station will track rain, wind, solar radiation, UV radiation, temperature and humidity data. The data will be available in every classroom allowing teachers to use the data in grade-appropriate lesson plans and tie the data into the school's gardening program, promote public speaking [enter weather newscaster] and ultimately make hardcore science approachable for young kids. $1,370 well spent.

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HomeBoundBooks: Bringing Reading Back Home | Kelsey Butler

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HomeBoundBooks: Bringing Reading Back Home | Kelsey Butler

24 year old and recent UTC education graduate, Kelsey Butler, is a vibrant, driven philanthropist. While volunteering with 7 children for 30 minutes a day to enhance their reading skills she noticed something, many children had no books at home to read. Kelsey is doing something to change that. She created HomeBoundBooks, a soon to be non-profit dedicated to providing access to "no strings attached" books via a bookshelf in their school, separate from the library.

Some of you might be thinking "but can't kids just go to the library and check out books?" Yes, they can. Unless you checked out a book and lost it. Fines to replace a lost book can be impossible for underserved youth. Our $2,329 grant will put three bookshelves full of books into three schools along with marketing materials to help teachers understand their role in the process. Watch this video Kelsey made about how it all works.

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