This is a regular feature on philanthropic activities by Valley-area businesspeople and companies. A $500,000 grant from Lowe’s will be used to create a Community Learning Green Garden at Canoga Park High School. Plans for the project were unveiled at a June 5 ceremony at the school with hundreds in attendance. The project will be completed through a unique partnership of four educational institutions: the West Valley Occupational Center, Pierce College, CSUN College of Science & Mathematics and Canoga Park High School. “The grant is the largest donation Lowe’s has ever given to any school or community organization,” said E. Kenn Phillips of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley. The Alliance has been working with Lowe’s for four years, Phillips said, helping them with new home improvement centers in Canoga Park, Northridge and Burbank. Canoga Park High School is one of the oldest schools in the Valley and will be celebrating their 90th anniversary in 2009. Martin Luther King spoke at the school in 1961, two years before giving his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. According to Phillips, the last two paragraphs of that speech were first used in his address at CPHS and will be commemorated in the new project. One of the things that make this revitalization project so unique is that almost all of the work planning, design and installation will be done by the students and the community. “The $500,000 will not be used to shop for contractors,” said Phillips. The LAUSD’s West Valley Occupational Center has put in a tremendous amount of efforts, he said. “For the last nine weeks we’ve had 12 students and one instructor working on plans intimately with the school, myself and local landscape contractor Ken Broderick.” Phillips estimated that Broderick has donated close to 150 hours in just the last nine weeks. The plans developed and donated by WVOC are worth more than $50,000, he believes. Covering about an acre of the CPHS site, the first phase of the project will include an outdoor amphitheater, a rain forest, greenhouses, organic gardens and temporary animal pens. CPHS has a veterinary science unit on the campus with a small horse, pigs, sheep, rabbits and others barnyard animals. Students and supporters will be working hard over the summer on the first phase of work with the plan being that much of the work will be completed by the time school starts in the fall. “This garden is not only for Canoga Park High School, but for the community,” said Phillips. In future phases, solar and wind power demonstration projects will be implemented with the idea being to teach the community how these and other alternative energy sources work. Bank Giveaways In connection with branch openings in Stevenson Ranch and Oak Park, Wells Fargo made $10,000 in cash donations last month to local non-profits. Each branch also sponsored drives to collect donations of goods to benefit local charities. In Oak Park, $5,000 was distributed among the Triunfo YMCA, Girl Scouts, Friends of Oak Park, Oak Park Rotary Club and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. Additionally, art supplies were donated to students at Red Oak Elementary School. In Stevenson Ranch, organizations dividing Wells Fargo’s $5,000 grant included the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center, Girl Scouts Joshua Tree Council Troop 146, Stevenson Ranch Elementary School, West Ranch High School and the Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 124. A community drive sponsored by branch employees garnered an additional $5,000 in donations and supplies including baby formula and diapers for the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley.
Lowe’s Gift is Green For Valley Education