Keep America Beautiful, Inc. has announced the winners of the 2010 Graffiti Hurts® Grant Program. The annual grants were initiated in 2007 to help support grassroots programs that combat graffiti vandalism. Groups eligible to apply for the grants are non-profit, civic, and community organizations; youth groups and schools; and government agencies. This year’s winners, each receiving $2,500, are:
- City of San Rafael, CA, Volunteer Program,
- United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA, Scranton, PA
- Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County, CA
“The winning entries for this year’s Graffiti Hurts National Grants are inspiring reminders of the power of community action to overcome local challenges,” said Matthew M. McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, Inc. “We thank The Sherwin-Williams Company for its ongoing commitment to graffiti prevention education through the Graffiti Hurts program.”
Responding to the blight of graffiti vandalism, Graffiti Hurts® was developed in 1996 through a partnership between Keep America Beautiful, a nonprofit education and community improvement organization, and The Sherwin-Williams Company. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, graffiti contributes to lost revenue associated with reduced ridership on transit systems, reduced retail sales, and declines in the value of surrounding residential and commercial property.
“Graffiti is more than an eyesore, it’s an act of vandalism against the entire community,” said Harvey Sass, president and general manager, Diversified Brands Division, The Sherwin-Williams Company. “Sherwin-Williams applauds the 2010 Graffiti Hurts National Grant Program recipients for the creative, community-focused approaches they are taking to rid their local neighborhoods of this blight.”
The Winning Proposals
The City of San Rafael Volunteer Program engages citizens, neighborhood associations, businesses, and other groups to reduce graffiti vandalism. A volunteer graffiti corps will complement the City Police and Public Works staff with eradication, ordinance enforcement, and education for young people about the consequences of vandalism. The program team will strive for timely abatement, neighborhood watch programs, and adopt-a-spot type programs.
United Neighborhood Centers of NEPA in Scranton plans to eliminate all graffiti in South Scranton by organizing a “Paint Out” event in fall 2010, educating local youth through their participation in the event, and launching a community forum program which promotes safe and clean neighborhoods. A February 2010 meeting of the South Scranton Residents Association prompted the Community Justice Initiative to partner with “Pay It Forward” for the initial “Paint Out” in March 2010. The event will engage local youth and adults alike in removing graffiti.
The Volunteer Centers of Santa Cruz County, Santa Cruz, CA, focuses on quick response and abatement of graffiti vandalism. The goal is to respond within 24 hours on working days and within 48 hours on weekends. The widely publicized “24-hour graffiti hotline” will be used by members of the community and county staff to report graffiti vandalism, and trained volunteers will paint out the graffiti for property owners.