News & Updates

Spring 2017 Grant Awards Announced

GCF, in its Spring 2017 grant cycle, has awarded a grant to CHEARS $4,877  to combat climate change and educate Greenbelt. With efforts focused on composting and environmental literacy, CHEARS plans to host public workshops for all Greenbelt citizens. The Three Sisters Gardens and Food Forest will be targets for agricultural experiments, where CHEARS also plans to conduct compost soil research as an Earth Squad project. Earth squad is an after school program tutoring and mentoring program for elementary school children.

The project was inspired

Children involved in Earth Squad will help CHEARS with its 2017 grant project.

by the recent focus on the global climate and human impact on the environment. In an effort to reduce the human footprint in Greenbelt, CHEARS encourages “Urban Agriculture” and “Citizen Science” to improve conditions throughout the community. Citizens of all ages are encouraged to take an active role in keeping the community green and protecting the shared environment.

The second award went to the puppeteering troupe Alex & Olmstead, in conjunction with the Friends of the New Deal Café. Theyhave been awarded $2,500 to create a full-length presentation of their popular ‘Milo the Magnificent’ puppet show. The New Deal Café will host the performance in the Winter of 2017, after the premier at Black Cherry Puppet Theater.

In addition to the performance itself, Alex & Olmstead plan to host a workshop on puppeteering to the public. The workshop will include how to make and control your own puppets, as well as a history of puppeteering. For a quick interview with the troupe, check them out on YouTube at

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Paradyme Management: A Philanthropic Company

Philanthropy and Man’s Best Friend

By: Caroline H. Fuchs

Paradyme Staff with Chief Canine Officer

Paradyme Management is a Greenbelt-based information technology consulting company. The organization aligns information technology and business processes to drive measurable results for their clients. Unique to Paradyme’s culture is their Chief Canine Officer, a disarming French bulldog named Kayden.

Kayden’s owner, Viraj Gandhi, founded Paradyme Management in 2003 with the vision of bringing data understanding to stakeholders through the connection of computer systems. Company headquarters moved in 2011 to Greenbelt where success continued. Paradyme was recently recognized by the Washington Business Journal, for the second year in a row, as one of the top minority-owned businesses in the region.

With company growth, Gandhi, along with Paradyme partners Edward O and Sang Na, recognized the benefits of integration into the local community, so they fostered a culture of corporate social responsibility. For the past two years, Paradyme has partnered with the Greenbelt Community Foundation, and the organization has also provided computers to Springhill Lake Recreation Center in Greenbelt, donated Thanksgiving food baskets for local families, and given to the Toys for Tots program. In addition, Paradyme employees volunteer regularly with local nonprofits.

Gandhi’s early entrepreneurial bent focused on commercial success. Growing up, Gandhi saw his family’s electronics store struggle after the arrival of big box retailers; he vowed to never be in that position again. Now responsible for the work life of more than 150 employees and one cute Chief Canine Officer, Gandhi sees it differently. He said, “It is all about the people who are the heart and personality of an organization. I enjoy paying it forward and watching people grow.”

Involvement is in Gandhi’s DNA. He contends that he sleeps a full eight hours, but packs the other hours with family (his wife and 18 month old son), work, hobbies like skiing and photography, and, of course, giving back to the broader community. Gandhi values the power of small generosities, such as sending daily handwritten notes to staff and colleagues, and the satisfaction of tangible volunteer endeavors.

“We used to write checks, but now we’re interested in how individuals can engage with their community,” noted Gandhi. This philosophy led to increased opportunities for staff participation with local non-profits. So much so, that Noah Parker, Paradyme’s Training and Development Manager, was a recent recipient of the Washington Business Journal’s Corporate Citizenship Award, for a body of good works including intern support for the Greenbelt Community Foundation’s 10th Anniversary campaign. Now in conjunction with GCF, an expanded program has been launched with Paradyme interns to provide pro bono support to a variety of Greenbelt non-profits.

In addition to Paradyme’s community work, Gandhi is a member of the Board of Directors for FLOC (For Love of Children), a non-profit that brings students—first grade and above—together with volunteers, families, and community partners to provide transformative educational services. This follows Gandhi’s interest in organizations that support children; he also serves on the Corporate Advisory Council at Children’s National Hospital.

Chief Canine Officer Kayden joins Paradyme interns and staff members twice weekly at their Greenbelt headquarters. Kayden has given his bark of approval to Paradyme’s ongoing community engagement and to CEO Viraj Gandhi’s inspiring words: “I love going to work. I love giving back.”

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Part Time Administrator Needed!

The Foundation is seeking a p/t administrator to work from home about 10 hours a month. This person will organize and manage data, documents and meetings. Perform routine clerical and administrative functions such as drafting correspondence, scheduling appointments, organizing and maintaining paper and electronic files, and provide information and reports as needed. Click here for Administrator Job Description FEB17

To apply, please send your resume to

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GCF is Offering a New Service to it’s Grantees!

Greenbelt Community Foundation and Paradyme Management Have Teamed Up to Provide Interns to Greenbelt Nonprofits!

After a successful collaboration with Greenbelt Community Foundation’s 10th Anniversary, Paradyme Management, Inc. and Greenbelt Community Foundation are working together to pair skilled interns with local grantees. The interns will be involved in a variety of ways to assist the local nonprofit organizations, while developing their own skills throughout the process. They will be serving as pro bono consultants to the nonprofits and will provide them with needed support, as requested. As a result, GCF will be adding a new element to assist their grantees and Paradyme will be continuing in its community engagement efforts.

Short term interns will work on projects such as computer and technical assistance, social media/marketing, grant writing, researching funding opportunities, budget analysis and event planning.

If your organization is interested in this program please fill out an intake form by clicking here:

Intake Form

For more information please contact Joanie Cohen-Mitchell, Greenbelt Community Foundation, or Zach Goldman, Paradyme Management, Inc.

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Enriching Young Lives through Visual Arts Classes

The Greenbelt Access Television (GATE) hosts the 12th annual Utopia Film Festival the weekend of October 21, 22, and 23. The festival presents films that explore utopian visions in cultural, social, political, and environmental forms. It searches to highlight films that entertain, enlighten, and address themes such as community building, cultural diversity, social and economic concerns as well as environmental issues.

As part of the festival, children’s animated films created in this year’s Greenbelt Association for the Visual Arts (GAVA) will be screened on Sunday, October 23 from 11:00 am to noon at the Greenbelt Arts Center, 123 Centerway, Greenbelt. GAVA’s children’s animated film classes have been funded in the past by the Greenbelt Community Foundation (GCF.) This event will conclude the Greenbelt Community Foundation’s seven month long campaign, Explore Your Greenbelt, celebrating its 10th anniversary. The campaign, a series of 14 bi-monthly events, featured organizations that have received GCF funding. It was generously sponsored by Paradyme Management, Beltway Plaza, and Greenbelt News Review.

Two sisters, Alexandra and Olivia, are able to experience an enriched childhood by taking the classes offered by GAVA in GATE’s studio located on the second floor at the Greenbelt Community Center. GAVA offers a variety of classes targeted at educating people of all levels of experience.

Alexandra and Olivia both have enjoyed taking GAVA classes. Alexandra is twelve and in the seventh grade and Olivia is nine and in the fourth grade. Alexandra first began taking GAVA classes after she went on a field trip to the GATE studio and took a mini class. She loved the class and when she found out that the studio offered weekly classes, she signed up. Olivia first began taking classes because her mom heard positive remarks about the classes from her friends. In 2015, Olivia met Barbara Simon during the Labor Day Festival’s art show and because Simon was “so nice and encouraging”, Olivia wanted to try taking Simon’s painting class and decided to try other classes as well.

The two sisters have taken four GAVA classes so far: painting, printmaking, animation, and comic book/manga. Alexandra’s favorite class so far is animation and Olivia’s is comic book/manga. Alexandra’s favorite video she has created is “Justice’s Views on Pollution”. It is an informational video that encourages people to not pollute. A super dog named Justice talks about pollution and then uses his powers to clean up a beach, setting a good example for others to follow. She is currently working on an animated video about a trip to the moon. Olivia hasn’t finished her first animation yet but she has finished her own comic book. It is about a wild horse that gets lost and is eventually rescued and returned safely to the farm. In the future, she would like to make an animated film about puppies that get into trouble in their backyard. Alexandra says that she doesn’t have a favorite part about the GAVA classes because she loves everything about it. Olivia says that her favorite part is getting to see her completed work at the end of the class and seeing how much she was able to learn from the teachers. It is very easy to see the positive impact that the GAVA classes have had on Alexandra and Olivia.

Alexandra’s hobbies are ice skating, reading, and performing in plays. Olivia enjoys ice skating, playing with her dogs, and reading. She especially enjoys reading graphic novels. A fun fact about Alexandra is that she went to Space Camp in Huntsville, Al and got to participate in international space station mission simulations. She would someday like to become an architect or a civil engineer.  Olivia likes to make new friends and sometimes act silly. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

For more information, go to Your Greenbelt

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