Project MOST, a not-for-profit that runs an after-school program at the John M. Marshall Elementary and Springs Schools, is in the running for a $25,000 State Farm Neighborhood Assist grant, but to win it, the organization needs to show that the community is behind its efforts.
Last Thursday, State Farm announced that Project MOST was among 200 finalists of the 3,000 groups across the country nominated for the grants. Now, the voting is in the hands of the people, or at least the people on Facebook. The 40 groups that receive the most votes on Facebook by April 22 will each get a $25,000 grant.
Project MOST’s director, Tim Bryden, was enthusiastic about the fact that the grant competition allows people to show their support for the organization’s mission without having to open their own wallets.
To support the effort, people can visit projectmost.com and click through to the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Facebook page, where they are asked to vote for a cause by state. Each user can vote up to 10 times a day. But diligence is required. As of Monday afternoon, Project MOST was number 39 on the list, with groups from all over the country vying to beat it into the top 40.
The program offers academic support and enrichment opportunities until 6 p.m. each school day for elementary students for the nominal charge of $45 a week, or less for those unable to afford the regular fee. It serves 300 children at the two schools.
In addition to private contributions and other grants, Project MOST gets funding from the schools and grants from East Hampton Town and New York State to help keep the cost of its after-school activities reasonable for working families, but in times of heavy budget cuts, raising what it takes to keep the program going is always a challenge, Mr. Bryden said.