MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - The Quad Cities Community Foundation awarded $200,000 to Mercado on Fifth and Vera French in 2019. This is the fifth year the foundation has made grants that align with the community foundation's mission to transform the region through the generosity of donors.
Mercado on Fifth and Vera French were each awarded $100,000 from the Quad Cities Community Foundation.
Mercado on Fifth is a popular open-air market in Moline that is held on Friday nights during the summer on Fifth Avenue. After receiving $100,000, the organization plans to renovate an indoor location so it can be open year-round. The new location is the car shop across the street, where they will look to implement a heating and cooling system so they could use it for community and cultural events. They're looking to have the space rentable by the community as well.
Melissa Freidhof-Rodgers, the Director of Mercado on Fifth said this grant is incredibly helpful to Mercado. She said it will help increase the number of vendors, which continues to grow each year. She hopes this grant will help the vendors start their own businesses and plan educational activities for the neighborhood as well.
Vera French also received the $100,000 grant. They say the money received will go to staffing in order to continue their mission to get more people the mental health help they need.
"To help people who are struggling with mental illness to reenter the workforce and that's really the way people get out of poverty that is caused by mental illness," said Richard Whitaker, CEO of Vera French Community Health Center.
Whitaker said he hopes to be able to partner with Mercado in the future and is excited to grow Vera French's reach with this grant.