Changing the Community, Changing Lives

Some Eden Prairie Community Foundation grants have community-wide impact, such as those to the Eden Prairie Fire Department for emergency radios, defibrillators, helmet cameras, chest-compression equipment – and also the Safety Awareness House, a trailer used to teach household safety to children.

The Safety Awareness House alone has impacted tens of thousands of children, says Fire Chief George Esbensen.

The grants, Esbensen adds, “allow us to leverage our normal operating budget” and provide the initial seed money for some large, expensive projects.

Plus, there’s that grassroots community support of an important function: preventing and fighting fires. “It drives that small-town flavor” and support, he says.

But sometimes the impact of a Foundation grant is much more personal. Take Scott, who has an intellectual disability and receives services at Eden Prairie-based CHOICE, Inc. People such as Scott face health and obesity issues at greater rates than the general population, and Scott admits he once found exercise “boring.”

But, with the help of 2015 grant from the Eden Prairie Community Foundation, CHOICE built and equipped a fitness room for clients like Scott, so they now have easy access to cardio-fitness equipment, free weights, and other gear, as well as yoga and Zumba training.

Scott began using the CHOICE fitness room almost daily, and one or two times per week he gets help from a fitness coach on his personalized workout plan. It’s been a life change for Scott: the loss of 20 pounds, a newfound interest in nutrition, and a new dream of becoming a personal trainer. Plus, he’s encouraging peers to follow his footsteps.

Whether the change created by Foundation grants is on a big scale, or one life at a time, it happens because of donors like you. So, thanks!

Mark Weber About the Author Mark Weber has been the executive director of the Eden Prairie Community Foundation since October 2013. In this role, he enjoys meeting with Eden Prairie residents, and being an active member of the community. If you’d like to connect with Mark, call him at (952) 949-8499 or email him. You can also read Mark’s full biography.

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