Grant Helps Residents Improve Their Communities

Have you ever been sitting on your back deck thinking that the community you live in needs a little something extra? The Calgary Foundation has a way to make those community dreams come true.

The Soul of The City neighbour grant offered by The Calgary Foundation goes to a project that a group of individuals from a community wish to undertake.

“What holds it together really is that all of the ideas range from the hearts and experiences from people who live in a community or neighbourhood,” said Julie Black, citizen engagement associate for The Calgary Foundation.

The neighbour grant started in 1999, and from that time about $1.6 million has been given to assist with many neighbourhood projects.

The grant started with a conversation between donors, charities and other key players who asked if something could be done to support neighbourliness. From this the neighbour grant was formed giving grants of up to $5,000 to support communitybased, grassroots projects, explained Black.

“The actual activities that people do vary a lot, they might decide to build a community garden or a playground or a naturalization area, it may be more about painting a neighbourhood mural – getting the kids together and seniors to decide on a neighbourhood theme, vision or picture,” said Black.

There is a wide range of options for people to bring forth to their community, and potentially qualify for a neighbour grant.

“It is something people do these projects are based on volunteerism and active citizenship, these [projects] are about people mobilizing themselves, their neighbours and their friends in the community to do something good in the community,” said Black.

The amount of applications that The Calgary Foundation sees in a year can vary, but they typically get between 25 and 40.

“We have a special edition neighbour grants coming up with a deadline of March 31, and it is very much like our flagship, our original neighbour grants except that it is a new partnership for us with Calgary Economic Development,” said Black.

If applicants are shortlisted they will get to present their application in front of a live studio audience, explained Black. If they are selected as a recipient of the $5,000 grant they will also receive a spot in a documentary video.

“The [applicant’s] projects will run spring to fall 2014, that is one thing we ask, a videographer will come and help them tell their story, and be part of this wonderful opportunity to share with more Calgarians the great things people are doing in their everyday, volunteer, ordinary lives to make our neighbourhoods and communities better places,” said Black.

The Calgary Foundation has year-round deadlines for their neighbour grants to help accommodate when someone may have a plan ready to go. For the application and more information on the neighbour grant visit The Calgary Foundation’s website www.thecalgaryfoundation.org.

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