Do you have a dream project for your neighborhood? Invasive species clean-up? Outdoor classroom for your kids' school? Reusable dishes or energy-efficient upgrades for your meeting hall?
A community-based grant could transform your inkling into reality.
Private, public and non-profit sectors all provide small grants — usually under $5,000 —for community-based green projects. And not just the environment benefits. You will, too!
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Because well after the garden has been planted, the street party has ended or the creek has been cleaned up, the sense of community lingers — and grows.
According to the Vancouver Foundation, there's a direct link between knowing your neighbors, a sense of well-being and a desire to invest in community. It's a magical, positive feedback cycle: The more you put in, the more you get out.
People who experience a sense of community are also more able — and more likely — to set aside differences, join forces and tackle problems big and small.
Creating community can be as simple as inviting a neighbour over for tea. It's also rewarding to take it to the next level. Enter the community action grant.
Start by choosing a project that fuels your passion. Municipal sites, like Halifax's, are a great place to start your research. In addition to details about local grants, links to other municipal initiatives provide inspiration.
Application requirements vary, but the process is almost always short and sweet. Funders want you to submit and succeed!
So do I. Here are my six grant-writing tips:
- Do your homework — review FAQs and past recipients
- Be specific — vague is sometimes somewhat less effective
- Spellcheck, — Seriouslee
- Use images — worth a thousand words!
- Ask questions — The Winnipeg Foundation invites all EnviroGrant applicants to discuss their project with staff before submitting.
And, most importantly...
- Demonstrate how you meet the grant's criteria. — Read the funder's questions and mandate carefully, and speak to those points. A communal garden application to Home Depot's Community Grant, for example, could focus on neighbourhood revitalization to meet their mandate for neighbourhood improvement projects. The same garden might want to emphasize birdboxes, mason bees and interaction with nature in an application for TD's Friends of the Environment Foundation, which funds projects that protect Canada's natural environments and ecosystems
Good luck and have fun!
How would you like to grow community in your neighbourhood?
Tovah Paglaro, The Queen of Green