The Rumphius Foundation Awards Grants to The Sayre School & Cruces Creatives

2019 Grants Fund Creative Projects to Beautify & Inspire Small Communities

Topsfield, Massachusetts, UNITED STATES

Boston, Massachusetts, Oct. 01, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Rumphius Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening community, promoting education and protecting the environment, is proud to announce that it has awarded grants to Ms. Audrey Bebensee’s fifth grade class at The Sayre School in Lexington, KY and Cruces Creatives in Las Cruces, NM.

The Rumphius Foundation grant given to Ms. Bebensee’s fifth grade class at The Sayre School touched the hearts of the Rumphius Foundation.  The students were assigned to do something positive for the environment with funding to support it. One of the fifth graders came upon the Rumphius Foundation’s website where she read about Founder Michael Schuller and the foundation’s mission. The class came together and wrote a heart-felt letter to the foundation requesting support to plant native pollinator gardens around public areas in Lexington, KY similar to what Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius did in the children’s book. The fifth graders’ second idea outlined in the letter, was to collect thousands of bottle caps and lids and repurpose them to create three environmental-friendly benches.

“My students were absolutely thrilled to find out that they were awarded the necessary funding from the Rumphius Foundation to make their plan a reality,” said Ms. Bebensee. “It was the best form of positive reinforcement for great ideas! The project taught the children about the environment, community beautification and working together for a common good. Thank you to the Rumphius Foundation for selecting our project, the whole school celebrated the accomplishment and the entire community will benefit from it.”

The second 2019 Rumphius Foundation grant helped fund a mural project led by Cruces Creatives, a non-profit committed to fostering economic development, furthering education, supporting the arts, protecting the environment and strengthening social connections in the small city of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The grant supported the design and implementation of a collaborative mural celebrating the diversity and agricultural roots of the community, enhancing the exterior wall of the town library. What makes this project unique is that the mural was designed in a paint-by-number format so that community members of all ages came together to beautify the library while building community pride. The Rumphius Foundation logo is beautifully painted on the wall.

“Both of these projects enhance the beauty of their neighborhoods while bringing attention to the environment and community,” said Rumphius Foundation Director Candace Schuller. “My husband Mike would have been so pleased to see younger generations being impacted and inspired by his mission. The projects are incredibly creative, making their community a more beautiful place on many levels.”

The Rumphius Foundation makes grants annually and is currently seeking grant proposals for 2020. Grants are made for projects that conform to the mission of the foundation. Proposals for 2020 must be received by March 1, 2020. To submit grant proposals, and make donations please visit

About The Rumphius Foundation

Established in 2013 by the late Michael C. Schuller, The Rumphius Foundation is a non-profit organization held at a national public charity designed to help communities and educators strengthen the future of our young and the environment. Named after the children’s book Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, in which the central character seeks to make the world a little more beautiful, the foundation provides grants to nonprofit projects that promote community, education and sustainability. Through these projects, the foundation strives to remind the next generation to leave the world more beautiful than they found it. For more information on The Rumphius Foundation, please visit


The Rumphius Foundation logo painted on the wall of the collaborative mural led by Cruces Creatives, celebrating the diversity and agricultural roots of the New Mexico community.

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