There are so many neighborhood improvement projects that can be done with a handful of folks rolling up their sleeves and getting to work. A bit of hard cash always helps, whether you are turning a vacant spot into a community garden, or setting up a composting site or cleaning up and beautifying public spaces. Beekeeping? Community Soccer or Poetry readings? Labor organizing? Why not.
Funding neighborhood projects, led by neighborhood volunteers is exactly what Citizens Committee for New York City (CCNYC) wants to fund, and the application process is now open for its Neighborhood Grants program. Each grant provides funding of up to $3,000, as well as project planning support, all in hopes of improving the local quality of life. (This is different from Love Your Block grants which are city-funded and where the deadline to apply for $1,000 for your block is coming up on November 12.)
Last year CCNY funded 523 projects with $2.1 million in grants and services, mobilizing more than 10,460 residents in 130 different neighborhoods across the five boroughs.
Q Gardens Urban Beekeeping project in Flatbush received a $1,200 grant in 2017 to build two hives, acquire six bee suits, and a portion of the stipend Q Gardens will be paying the lead teacher of its first cohort of 12 apprentices. Tilder Block Association in East Flatbush planted flowers and beautified the area with help of a $3,000 grant to fund the event.
Over in Kensington last year, in an effort to attract more neighbors to the Avenue C Plaza, The Kensington Stewards launched a six-week series of free outdoor yoga classes at the public space, also funded by CCNYC.
In Carroll Gardens, Carroll Gardens Nanny Association received funding to organize domestic workers, and train members on labor rights, CPR and first aid, child nutrition, ESL, and more.
Grants for community soccer went to Sunset Park, and Basketball to Ocean Hill neighbors, and while a lot of projects involve beautifying the physical environment, many focus on sports, youth, health and arts.
“From the Bronx to Staten Island and everywhere in between, we have seen how New Yorkers can change their neighborhood for the better with a great idea and a little funding and support. I urge residents to come together and apply for a grant to address an issue in their corner of the city, whether it’s more green space, access to fresh food, after-school or cultural programs, or any other idea to improve the quality of life for their neighbors. This is a unique opportunity for residents and community groups to make a real difference in their neighborhood,” said Peter H. Kostmayer, CEO of Citizens Committee for New York City.
More information and application for 2020 Neighborhood Grants is online at citizensnyc.org/grants or here. The application deadline is January 20, 2020, and there is no need to be a registered nonprofit – think more block association, schools (PTAs, teachers, student-led groups), gardening groups, and others.
This year, as part of Neighborhood Grants program, Citizens Committee is also awarding a small number of “catalyst” grants of up to $10,000 to groups looking to widen their impact. For more information about the application process or eligibility, or details about the catalyst grant program, contact Arif Ullah, Director of Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 822-9580.