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The 313 Project wins $25,000, will vie for 10 times that in May

February 06, 2013

With nearly 9,000 Facebook votes, The 313 Project won the January voting contest held monthly by Home Depot’s Aprons in Action.

The nonprofit, founded by three Wayne State University students who are now alumnae — Aisa Villarosa Berg, Erika Riggs and Julianna Rivera — connects the legal community to Detroit’s underserved population through pro bono, charitable and educational efforts, as well as a lot of hard physical work by volunteers.
Berg said the group’s volunteers are “elated” by their win, and grateful to everyone who helped make it possible.
“Your votes, rallies of support and outreach to contacts made all the difference,” she said.
Now The 313 Project will compete in May against 11 other monthly winners for a $250,000 grand prize from the Home Deport Foundation.
“The runner-up organization receives $150,000, and the second runner-up receives $100,000,” said Berg. “Voting will once again take place on Facebook, and the winners will be based on popular votes. As with the $25,000 grant, all of the grant monies received if we win in May will go toward The 313 Project’s Detroit-based service, educational and charitable efforts, particularly our initiatives to serve veterans in need and young people impacted by the juvenile and foster care system. We’re excited to move forward with these projects, and hope that you can continue to support us as we grow and expand.”
One of The 313 Project’s efforts, the renovation of 26-acre Romanowski Park in southwest Detroit last summer, earned the group its nomination for the Aprons in Action contest.  More than 300 volunteers, including many Wayne Law students, alumni and faculty members, painted structures in the park; installed bleachers, picnic tables, bike racks, swings and trash cans; and even boarded up several blighted houses around the park. The 313 Project also has conducted many legal clinics, including two at Piquette Square, a long-term housing facility in southwest Detroit for previously homeless veterans. More than 30 volunteer attorneys, including many Wayne Law alumni, counseled the veterans on benefits, disability law, housing law, bankruptcy law and issues of family law. The 313 Project also has provided college scholarships for Detroit youth, collaborated on monthly service projects, and “adopted” needy families for the holidays. Visit www.the313project.org to learn more.
Romanowski Park is on the list of parks slated to be closed by the city of Detroit, and The 313 Project is speaking out about that, as well.
 “We do not plan to stop volunteering at Romanowski Park, because we simply cannot risk losing the proactive developments stemming from its rejuvenation,” the group said in a written statement. “While we are mindful of the budget crisis that the city is facing, cutting funds to maintain safe and clean parks for our children poses greater harms to our community, and is not worth the short-term financial gains the city receives. In the coming months, The 313 Project hopes to mobilize its volunteers to keep Romanowski Park, its legacy and its community spirit intact.”

Advocating for justice, serving the community, revitalizing Detroit and Michigan