Hunter announces $10k grant for town

BLYTHEWOOD – After Ashley Hunter, owner and CEO of MPA Strategies, announced Monday night during council meeting that she has obtained a grant for the town, the audience and council burst into applause.

Mayor Bryan Franklin, who has been critical of Hunter and her marketing firm, joined his fellow council members Monday night in lauding Hunter’s initial efforts and quick results.

“The intent was that we pay for services with grants that come to the town,” Franklin said. “It’s well worth the investment,” he said. “What we pay for services and you double or triple that in grants every year, is obviously a good investment for this town. And I’m proud of making progress in that regard.”

During opening remarks by council members, Councilman Larry Griffin said that since he didn’t see anything on the agenda about a progress report from MPA Strategies’ marketing work for the town, he wanted to yield his time to Hunter so she could update council on her work.

“I’m very excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a grant from International Paper.” That grant will go to the Doko Meadows Park Foundation, Hunter said. “I’ve also been spending time meeting with various nonprofits, associations and corporate teams about reserving this beautiful space (the Manor). Lots of people are asking for proposals so I’ve been working closely with Carroll [Williamson] on this.

“We’ve also had great success on social media,” she said. “The town’s engagement has more than tripled on Instagram. I’m very excited about working with Blythewood – lots of good news. This first round of funding for the grant automatically makes us [eligible] for the second round as well,” she said. “So it will be a two-part pot of funding for our park here in Blythewood.”

The grant funds will be used to support the upfitting, security and beautification of and around the trailway at Doko Meadows Park where the new StoryWalk interactive literacy program was just opened.

Additionally, Hunts’ State and Frink nonprofit Foundation awarded the Town $1000.00 for their 10-4-10 initiative honoring MPA Strategies’ 10th year in business. The Foundation will award ten $1000.00 donations to programs and charities in the Midlands that have a positive impact on their communities. Blythewood’s is the second of the ten checks to be awarded.

Hunter, who owns and operates both MPA Strategies and the State and Frink Foundation, stated she is excited to see the Town’s vision for this wonderful park area for children and families to read and play come to fruition.

The Foundation’s $1000 grant is being donated for benches and play equipment throughout and around the StoryWalk exhibit in Doko Park, Hunter said.

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