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 virtually.
You may not apply on behalf of a business or registered organization, but you may apply on behalf of an informal group (for example, a meetup or shared interest group)
What are Responsive NSG eligible projects?
You may apply for any project that will bring your community together, build community strength and resilience, or tackle social isolation.
Some common types of Responsive Neighbourhood Small Grant projects include care package deliveries or teaching people a new skill, but there are also many unique projects that don’t fall into these categories.
Any product, service, or event created with the support of a Neighbourhood Small Grant must be offered for free or by a small donation. The small donation should be optional and not a requirement for someone to participate in your project.
What can I use the grant money for?
You can ask for up to $500 for any Neighbourhood Small Grant program.
You can use the grant to offset any expenses that were needed for the project. This includes products, transportation, or services.
You may ask for up to $350 to provide honorariums to anyone who contributes skills or knowledge to your project—including yourself.
For example, if you plan to host an online cooking class and will be teaching it yourself, you may pay yourself an honorarium. If you are inviting a guest to teach it, you may pay them the honorarium instead. You can also use the grant to purchase the ingredients needed for the class as well as a premium subscription with a platform like Zoom to host many attendees in your class.
You may not fundraise for other projects and/or organizations. However, we encourage you to seek donations or gifts in kind from local businesses to help support your project.
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, boulevard gardening projects or projects in public parks eligible for NSG?
Applicants are encouraged to find out the status of a park where they plan to hold their project before applying for a grant. Projects must follow all current Public Health Orders as applicable to the space they take place in.
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.
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?
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 Fall 2021 grant money must be used by May 30, 2022. Project Leaders are then asked to attend a Wrap Up Celebration to share about their projects and meet other grant recipients.