News & Updates

GCF Awards Six Grants

GCF Awards Six Grants  Full Article By Matt Arbach

The Greenbelt Community Foundation (GCF) has awarded grants to six organizations serving the Greenbelt community. These organizations are implementing exciting new programs designed to empower and enrich Greenbelt residents of all ages.  Check them out:

Alight Dance Theater   Playing with Words “Playing 115:” is a new project devised by Alight Dance Theater.  The finale of the project will be a performance at the Greenbelt Arts Center as an Artful Afternoon showcase.This will be the culmination of seven workshops, in partnership with the Greenbelt Recreation Department, designed to engage participants of all ages. The project’s focus is to use a “creative process to make new stories from existing stories, through both words and movement,” according to Matina Phillips, Artistic Director. Alight Dance Theater mission is to create“ performance events that celebrate the power of story…blending dance, physical theater and spoken word.”

The Better Place, Inc.  has created the Project Tutor: Guardians of Greenbelt initiative to further its goals of spreading “self-control and self-determination principles” to “youth, schools and families,” leading to a community strong in “productivity, effectiveness, success and prosperity,” says CEO, Cortland Jones.  The group began its work at Greenbelt Middle School but looks to expand to the rest of Prince George’s County, if not farther.  The project will “train students, 6th-12th grade, to be tutors to K-5th grade students at Springhill Lake Elementary School.” The eventual goal is for the participants to become true “guardians of their community.”

Center for Dynamic Community Governance  is maximizing volunteer program effectiveness, particularly in a situation where there is paid and volunteer staff, is the focus of the Center for Dynamic Community Governance funded project. CDCG’s goal is to use one organization to develop a program that can be replicated by other Greenbelt organizations. Due to the Old Greenbelt Theater’s (OGT) developing role as a gathering point for the East, West and Center Greenbelt Community, CDCG chose it as a staging ground for this project.  They look to create a process that ensures volunteer voices are heard; creates conditions for exciting teamwork; develops a committed base and create strong working relationships between volunteers, staff and the board. CDCG will facilitate regular meetings of volunteers and OGT staff to determine or modify policies for their assignments and, using a process of consent based decision making, will elect fellow volunteers for special tasks and responsibilities.“We are looking to create a blueprint at OGT for their volunteer program that can be adapted for use in other community based organizations throughout Greenbelt.” Says Aileen Kroll, CDCG board member.

Eleanor Roosevelt High School Band Program is creating a music library to properly organize, access and protect the scores used by its four concert bands and smaller, specialized groups.  Specifically, they look to purchase seven storage units that hold 250 pieces of music each.  This will also “maximize space” allowing “room for smaller ensembles to rehearse” and increasing “the ability to host guest performers,” says Rachel Zephir, band teacher. The ERHS band performs at many Greenbelt events like the Festival of Lights Arts and Crafts Fair and even commemorated the opening of the new Greenbelt Music and Arts.

The GEMZ, Inc  focuses on young women between 11 and 18 and looks to “help build self esteem and self-confidence” as well as inspire “the spirit of excellence,” says Adeola Ariyo, Executive Director.  Through outreach to area schools, churches and organizations and through print and media marketing, The GCF grant award is to help The GEMZ increase enrollment, provide subsidized membership fee for Greenbelt residents and five enrollment scholarships based on need, and “attract an increase in volunteers from the Greenbelt community.”  For the past four years, The GEMZ has achieved 100% college enrollment and was invited to the White House in October 2016, among other accomplishments.


Greenbelt Arts Center (GAC) project “will install a fully code-compliant theatrical lighting and power system which will provide a safer environment for the audience, actors and crews,” says Winard Britt, Treasurer.  Four new power packs will be moved to the rear of the theater.  100 ceiling outlets will be installed.  The entire system will be run through a new lighting panel, “allowing needed flexibility in the use of the outlets.” GAC’s mission “is to provide a dedicated and sustainable entertainment and educational hub for fine and performing arts” in the greater Greenbelt area with an ingoing goal “to continue improving the quality of our productions,” sustain strong community connections, and develop a strong and “local stable of production and technical staff.”




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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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