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St. Philip's College Community Garden Grows with Retool Your School Grant
St. Philip’s College, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in San Antonio, Texas, was awarded $20,000 as a recipient of the Retool Your School 2021 campus improvement grant program. Their project was to breathe life back into their campus community garden, which supports hunger and food insecurity outreach efforts.
The Home Depot doubled the commitment to the Retool Your School grant program and awarded $1 million to 30 HBCUs in 2021. Each winning school used their awarded grant to fund a campus beautification project, eventually bringing it to life with faculty, staff and student volunteers.
Paula Englebert, St. Philip’s College academic program coordinator, has been involved in the community garden from the very beginning.
St. Philip’s College is known as “a point of pride on San Antonio’s Eastside” and the community garden began as an off-campus collaboration in 2014. “I transferred to St. Philip’s College in 2015 and began working with the Garden Committee in Fall 2016,” says Paula. “When the garden moved to campus in 2019, I became co-chair of the garden.”
Unfortunately, care of the garden stalled during 2020. “The pandemic took a toll on our on-campus endeavors. Nature quickly overtook and reclaimed our small garden. When we returned to campus, it was clearly in need of an overhaul.”
In 2021, Paula became chair of the garden – just in time to submit a Retool Your School project proposal.
“I created the garden plan, timeline, material list and phasing for the project,” says Paula. “I redesigned the garden to include as many elements as possible within the scope of our $20,000 grant award budget.” Paula also led the volunteer efforts that built the garden.
“We were ecstatic to win,” says Paula. “St. Philip’s College has competed for a grant in the past, but 2021 marks the first time we were awarded. We had over 75 volunteers participate, putting in 700 hours of work.”
Winners of The Home Depot’s Retool Your School grants are decided by public voting. Voting is currently open for the 2022 Retool Your School program until March 27. To vote for your favorite participating HBCU, vote online or through social media using the HBCU’s school’s official hashtag.
To learn more about Retool Your School, visit RetoolYourSchool.com.