Drupal Association members fund grants that make connections all over the world.
There are a few posts in the queue about adding padding and borders to a region, but they are not quite clear for 7.x-3.0. Say your content zone is 24-grid, sidebar first is 4-grid, content is 16-grid, and sidebar second is 4-grid. Then you add a div into region--content.tpl.php and add your padding and border to that. Then inside of a node, you need to have 2 columns, so you use grid-8 alpha and grid-8 omega. Well now your content region is not 16-grid anymore because you added padding, so your grid-8 omega block shifts down. How do you accomplish this with still being about to use grid-8 alpha and grid-8 omega?