Neighbourhood Small Grants is a program that was originally started by the Vancouver Foundation, and has now spread throughout British Columbia in collaboration with other Community Foundations and community organizations. It provides up to $500 to groups of neighbours to do local projects together that focus on building community and making their communities better places to live.
During the pandemic, projects must comply to the new social/physical distancing guidelines and focus on community strength and resilience, foster community creativity and wellbeing and tackle social isolation.
Grants of up to $500 for individuals with ideas to help connect and engage residents in their neighbourhood. Neighbourhood small grants are based on a simple but powerful idea: when people feel a sense of connection and belonging to their neighbourhood, our communities are strengthened from the ground up.
Comox Valley residents can apply for a grant of $50 to $500 for a project.
How Do You Apply?
You can apply online at www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca. If you need help with your application, please contact Sigourney Brown (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are also applications available in various languages, including Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, Farsi, Tagalog, Spanish, French and Vietnamese.
Who Can Apply?
These grants are meant for groups of people who live in the same community and the projects are meant to take place in the area where they live. Projects can be carried out by individuals and/or family members from the same household or in collaboration with a neighbour with proper social distancing practices.
What are Responsive NSG eligible projects?
- Projects that bring up to six people or less for in-person gathering with proper social distancing practices are eligible.
- Projects that can ease social isolation of vulnerable people with physical distancing in mind
Example: Dropping off care packages of dry goods to elderly or other vulnerable people from safe distance
- Projects that use, share and exchange local assets/gifts through in-person with six or less people and proper social distancing OR using online platforms such as (ZOOM, FaceTime, Skype)
Example: Arts and culture workshops, cooking demonstrations, storytelling or yoga and meditation sessions
What kind of materials can be included in care packages?
Dry goods including canned food items, healthy snacks, toiletries, water bottles, grocery cards can be included into care packages. Food can be distributed ONLY if it’s prepared at a ‘food safe’ kitchen where at least one person has Food safe training. If fresh fruits or veggies are included in a package, it’s important that there is an accompanying note to properly wash fresh foods before consumption.
Are community garden or boulevard gardening projects eligible for NSG?
Yes, individuals with their families or the applicant with a neighbour with proper social distancing measures can carry out boulevard gardening and/or beautifying of public space projects nearby.
Community garden projects that comply to social distancing of two meters apart are eligible. Community gardens will need to:
- have sign up sheets to assign all members specific dates and times for gardening in order to reduce crowding
- gardeners will need to use their own protective gloves and disinfect shared garden tools before and after usage
Can NSG projects take place at public parks?
This is on a case-by-case basis where projects that follow social distancing and municipal by-laws might be eligible. Applicants are encouraged to find out the status of a park where they plan to hold their project before applying for a grant. Projects that require a municipality/park board permit or a liability insurance are not eligible.
What is the grant amount limit on NSG?
Grant requests for NSG projects are expected to be under $500. However, applications that offer unique and creative ways of meeting the NSG purposes may be considered for additional funding.
What kind of expenses can the NSG cover?
The goal of the grant is to contribute to expenses associated with your project such as canned goods, art and craft supplies, gift cards, Zoom or Skype subscriptions and honorariums or other items as necessary.
Can I use some of the NSG towards honorariums?
Yes, you may budget up to $350 towards honorariums for skill sharing projects such as an artist facilitating a virtual drawing workshop for children and adults. You may pay yourself or someone else for in-kind skills or knowledge contributions. The decision on the honorarium amount is decided on a case-by-case basis by the Neighbourhood Grants Committee members.
Are organizations or businesses eligible to apply for Responsive-NSG?
Registered charity organizations and businesses are not eligible to apply. Service delivery and emergency relief programs supporting low-income and other vulnerable people are out of the scope of NSG.
How are the decisions made about who gets funding?
A group of volunteers who also live in our community decide which applications will get funding and distributes the funds between those projects. They are called the Neighbourhood Grant Committee.
How many grants can you apply for each year?
An individual can be a main applicant on one Neighborhood Small Grant application per year. That same individual could also be a co-applicant on two applications. However, each project can only be funded once - you cannot apply for more than one grant for the same project.
What kinds of ideas get funded?
Lots of different ideas can get funded, with a focus on those that build connections. In the past the program has funded block parties; emergency preparedness workshops; art making projects and art shows; community garden projects; book exchange boxes; music, harvest and lantern festivals; cultural celebrations; sports days; and much more! Preference will be given to new projects or those that have been funded for less than three consecutive years.
What are the other guidelines for projects?
- Applicants must live in the participating community they apply to and do the project in that community.
- Projects must be free, accessible and welcoming to all. They may not charge entrance fees, request donations, or fundraise for other projects and/or organizations.
- Except for community gardens, projects involving infrastructure building or upgrading or purchasing of large equipment such as computers are not eligible.
- Projects involving therapy and counselling support are not eligible.
- Applicants may not profit financially from the project.
How can organizations be involved in projects?
Although organizations cannot apply for these grants, we encourage them to spread the word to the members of their programs! When members of programs at an organization are funded, applicants are encouraged to do their projects outside of regular program activities and to open them up to people not already linked to the program. Staff can provide support and mentorship for a project, but the applicants are encouraged to plan, implement and take leadership in their projects.
What is the timeline?
Fall cycle applications open on September 15, 2020 and the deadline is by October 25, 2020. Retroactive funding is not available, so projects can start once the applicants have been notified that their application has been approved, which will happen 2-4 weeks after the deadline. Project activities can continue longer but grant money must be used by May 31, 2021. Project Leaders are then asked to attend a Wrap Up Celebration to share about their projects and meet other grant recipients.