Featured Project: The Duck Island Mural

The idea? A simple neighborhood mural. But going from idea to implementation on a neighborhood project can be a long process.

This week we’re highlighting the Duck Island Block Club and the mural neighbors are painting there with help from local artist Jill LiMieux and the business Pro Painting, which donated time to paint the base coat.

Do you have a great idea to improve your neighborhood? Our next grant deadline is coming up. Attend a workshop to learn more about how to apply and get tips on completing the application. Details here. 

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Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs

We’re highlighting recent grantees! This week we’re featuring Valerie Sandstrom and Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs.

Do you have a great idea to improve your neighborhood? Let’s connect. Next grant deadline is Feb. 12.

Find out more here.

Announcing more than $208,000 in grants to neighborhood projects

Our grant making committee, made up of residents from Cleveland and East Cleveland, has approved $208,052 in grants to support 67 different neighborhood projects. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Cuyahoga County’s public funder for arts and culture, will co-fund 17 of the resident-led arts and culture projects through a partnership with our program.

Highlights of the grants

• Poetree Project Committee* was awarded $2000 for The Poetree Project. This project will install Poetree Boxes around the Detroit Shoreway community, promoting the arts and creating strong connections between diverse groups.

• Our Family Home Center was awarded $4000 for Youth Tutoring/Mentoring and Expanded Free Meal/Snack Program. This program provides tutoring, healthy snacks, and a hot meal to at-risk youth in the East Cleveland community.

• Refugee Ministries Development* was awarded $4000 for Rising Stars: Learning with Music & Technology. This program teaches Mt. Pleasant youth the science of music and its integration with math, language, science, culture, and help them develop performance skills.

• Rose House was awarded $1199 for Slavic Village Women and Girls Empowerment Summit. This day-long networking event brings together creative and inspiring women to give females in the community the opportunity to explore avenues they might otherwise not have known existed.

*Co-funded by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Neighborhood Connections

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture invested $75,000 in Neighborhood Connections in 2015 to support vibrant arts and cultural programs in Cleveland and East Cleveland, with the aim to support community-based arts and culture activities organized by and for residents.

“Our partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture helps fuel community projects that are reinvigorating our neighborhoods,” said Tom O’Brien, program director of Neighborhood Connections. “The projects demonstrate that innovative ideas are bubbling up all over town.”

“Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is proud to invest public dollars in resident-led projects in our community,” said Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. “Through a continued partnership with Neighborhood Connections, we’re leveraging public funds to infuse Cleveland’s neighborhoods with vibrant arts and culture programs and events.”

Funded Projects

For a complete list of funded projects, click here.

Neighborhood Connections’ grant program offers grants of $500 to $5,000 twice a year in May and November to groups of residents in Cleveland and East Cleveland who organize projects to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood. Groups are encouraged to work with partners, and to propose creative solutions to challenges in their neighborhood.

More about Neighborhood Connections and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Neighborhood Connections is a grassroots community-building program created by the Cleveland Foundation in 2003. Neighborhood Connections awards small grants of less than $5,000 to fund citizen-led neighborhood projects, events, and activities that benefit Cleveland and East Cleveland. While most foundations solely extend grants to nonprofit organizations, Neighborhood Connections grants support the ideas of everyday people to make life better, right where they live. Through its grants, Neighborhood Connections seeks to build community by connecting people in Cleveland’s neighborhoods and encouraging them to become more engaged with each other and the city around them. Neighborhood Connections is guided by a grantmaking committee made up of 24 Cleveland and East Cleveland residents with a history of community involvement. The citizens’ committee reviews and approves all grants. Since 2003, Neighborhood Connections has awarded more than 2,000 grants totaling more than $7.15 million. For more information, visit neighborhoodgrants.org.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s mission is to inspire and strengthen the community by investing in arts and culture. Cuyahoga County residents created Cuyahoga Arts & Culture in 2006 when they approved a tax on cigarettes to support arts and culture in our community. In 2015, the community affirmed its commitment to arts and culture by extending the tax through 2027 with Issue 8. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has invested more than $140 million in more than 300 organizations to deliver on the promise made to support thousands of enriching arts and culture experiences in every corner of the county. For more information, visit www.cacgrants.org. In addition, through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections, CAC has co-funded about 175 resident-led arts and culture projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland since 2013.

Projects Funded in Fall 2015

Neighborhood Connections, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, funded 68 resident-led projects totaling $213,052 in Fall 2015.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is Cuyahoga County’s local public funder for arts and culture.

Click the link for a complete list of funded projects

For more information about the grants program, click here. 

Edible Forest to Feed Neighbors

A group of Bellaire-Puritas neighbors and parishioners at Blessed Trinity Church are planting an edible forest with a grant they received from Neighborhood Connections last year.

The forest has young fruit trees growing peaches, cherries, walnuts, apples and more. There is also a garden with tomatoes, peppers, melons and peas.

“The idea is to always have something blooming,” said Father Doug Kassel with Blessed Trinity Church.

It will  take two more years for the fruit trees to bloom and then “then anybody can use it,” Father Kassel added.

The forest and garden will be for the whole neighborhood and the food will supplement the food pantry at Blessed Trinity, 14040 Puritas Avenue, which is open three days a week.

Neighbors are continuing to plant flowers and vegetables. One neighbor with experience as a beekeeper built a bee hive and is extracting honey. There is even talk about getting chickens.  

“The grant was just essential,” Father Kassel said. “We couldn’t have done this without it.”

Neighborhood Connections Announces Spring Grants

The Neighborhood Connections Grant Making Committee has approved $288,536 in grants to support 126 different resident-led projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland. Through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the local public funder for arts and culture in Cuyahoga County, will co-fund 54 of the projects that bring vibrant arts and cultural activity to neighborhoods.

For a complete list of neighborhood projects that received funding, click here.

Some highlights of the grants include:

Fresh Camp* in Glenville was awarded $3,000 for Glenville Summer Fresh Camp. This camp teaches youth self-expression through lyric composition, digital music making and performance. Students will also participate in farming at urban gardens.

East Cleveland Girl Talk was awarded $3,000 for its Girl Talk Mentoring project. The project provides mentoring for girls ages 11-17 to help avoid negative outcomes such as poor scholastic behavior, teen pregnancy and alcohol and drug use.

Duck Island Block Club* in Tremont was awarded $1,200 for the Duck Island Community Mural, a project that will bring community members together to create a mural to beautify the neighborhood through art and share the history of Duck Island.

Pride Among Daughters and Sisters in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood was awarded $714 for Females Maintaining Dignity in Cleveland, which provides feminine hygiene products for those in need.

*Co-funded by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Neighborhood Connections.

“At Neighborhood Connections, we’re proud to invest in the residents of Cleveland and East Cleveland,” said Tom O’Brien, program director of Neighborhood Connections. “We believe their projects have the power to reinvigorate our neighborhoods and provide a foundation for a sustained Cleveland Renaissance. Our collaboration with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture allows us to invest in even more resident groups.”

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has invested $245,000 in Neighborhood Connections since 2013 to support more than 160 vibrant arts and cultural programs organized by and for residents in Cleveland and East Cleveland.

“Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is delivering on its promise to residents to support vibrant arts and culture activities throughout Cuyahoga County with public dollars through this program,” said Karen Gahl-Mills, executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. “We’re pleased that our partnership with Neighborhood Connections has allowed us to support resident-led arts and culture projects and make our community a more vibrant place to live.”

The next deadline for proposals is August 14, 2015. Find out everything you need to know about applying here.

For more information about the Grant Making Committee, click here. 

Spring 2015 Grantees

Neighborhood Connections, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, funded 126 resident-led projects totaling $288,536 in Spring 2015.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is Cuyahoga County’s local public funder for arts and culture.

Click the link for a complete list of funded projects. 

Fall 2014 Grantees

Neighborhood Connections, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, funded ​67 resident-led projects totaling $150,000 in Fall 2014.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is Cuyahoga County’s local public funder for arts and culture.

Click the link for a complete list of funded projects. 

 

Grantee Feature: Seniors Are Jewels

Seniors Are Jewels is a project that gets senior adults out of their homes and involved in activities including arts and crafts, movement and computer training. Grantee and Grant Making Committee member Tynetta Harris-McCall talks about the project and the grant funding provided by Neighborhood Connections that helped make it a reality.

What Is the Grant Making Committee?

To ensure that we fund neighborhood priorities, a Grant Making Committee of Cleveland and East Cleveland residents reviews all grant applications and makes final decisions about which proposals are funded and at what level.

Current committee members select new members from all areas of Cleveland and East Cleveland. Committee members serve three-year terms.

The role of the Grant Making Committee member is to read, review, interview, and make funding decisions with other members of the Grant Making Committee. Committee members meet in the fall and in the spring to review grant proposals. Committee members work in small teams with three other Grant Making Committee members to review and interview proposals and to make funding recommendations to the entire Grant Making Committee and, with the entire Grant Making Committee, make final funding decisions.

Click here to nominate someone to serve. 

66 Neighborhood Projects Funded

Neighborhood Connections, with additional funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, announces $150,000 in grants to 66 neighborhood projects in Cleveland and East Cleveland.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Cuyahoga County’s local public funder for arts and culture, will co-fund 25 of the resident-led arts and culture projects through a partnership with Neighborhood Connections.

Some of projects are:

  • Hands That Speak Volumes, Inc.* will receive $1,400 for Everybody Can Make Music, workshops and drum sessions for the deaf or hard of hearing in downtown Cleveland.
  • African American Men Who Excel in Fairfax will receive $3,000 for Developing Youth to Make a Difference in the Community After School Program, a mentoring and tutoring program for elementary and middle school kids.
  • Ty and the Knight Writer LLC* will receive $2,000 for Youth Fighting Stigma, an intergenerational program where 20 mental health patients write their memoirs, which are then designed and edited by youth in Midtown.
  • Fullerton Block Club in Slavic Village will receive $3,000 for Bike-a-Thon and Night Out Against Crime. These two events will help strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.
  • Clair Superior Youth Leadership Council* will receive funds for a Teen Center that will host teen-led cooking, art, skateboarding, computer and gardening programs for leadership development in St. Clair Superior.

* Co-funded by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and Neighborhood Connections.

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture invested $85,000 in Neighborhood Connections in 2014 to fund vibrant arts and cultural programs in Cleveland and East Cleveland, with the aim to support community-based arts and culture activities organized by and for residents.

“We believe that empowered, active residents are at the heart of the Cleveland renaissance,” said Tom O’Brien, program director of Neighborhood Connections. “We see Neighborhood Connections grants as an investment in those folks and their innovative ideas, which are invigorating our city block by block.”

“Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s vision is to create energetic neighborhoods that are infused with arts and culture,” said Karen Gahl-Mills, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s executive director.  “A partnership with Neighborhood Connections has ensured that public funding, which comes from the community, is helping residents to make their neighborhoods more vibrant.”

Neighborhood Connections’ grant program offers grants of $500 to $5,000 twice a year in May and November to groups of residents in Cleveland and East Cleveland who organize projects to improve the quality of life in their neighborhood.  Groups are encouraged to work with partners, and to propose creative solutions to challenges in their neighborhood.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most frequently asked about the grant program:

Can an individual receive money from the Neighborhood Connections program?

Individuals are not eligible.

Will grant dollars be distributed evenly among Cleveland neighborhoods and East Cleveland?
When possible, we attempt to provide an equitable share of funding to each neighborhood. However, all grant applications will be reviewed on their merits and some neighborhoods receive a larger share of the money in any one funding round.

Does Neighborhood Connections fund other cities or suburbs outside of Cleveland neighborhoods?
Funding is available for programs or events that take place in Cleveland and in East Cleveland.

How much money will Neighborhood Connections provide to neighborhood projects?
Each year we distribute about $670,000 in two separate rounds with February and August deadlines.

How large are the grants available?
Grants range from $500 to $5,000. All projects require a dollar-for-dollar match in the form of cash, in-kind donated services, or the contribution of materials, supplies, and other program-related donations.

Are there any conditions on grants?
Organizations will be required to match the grant dollars either in outside funding or in-kind services and to complete assessments and evaluation forms as requested by the program.

Is funding available for renovation to a building that houses an organization?
Renovations to dwellings are not in the scope of Neighborhood Connections mission. This falls under the category of personal funding and, therefore, is not eligible.

What are the deadlines for submitting an application?
5 p.m. on the second Fridays in February and August.

Is there a conflict-of-interest policy which prevents members of the Grantmaking and Monitoring Committee from reviewing applications from groups that either they or their family members are involved with?
Yes.

How are the members of the Grantmaking Committee chosen and how long do they serve?
There are typically 18 to 24 members on the Grantmaking Committee representing the diverse skills and knowledge of Cleveland and East Cleveland.

At the end of each year, the committee selects additional alternates, who eventually become full committee members. Cleveland and East Cleveland community groups are asked for nominations each time new members are sought.

How long do Grantmaking and Monitoring Committee members serve?
Each member is appointed to a three-year term. If committee members resign before their term is completed, they are replaced by an alternate. Members can serve a maximum of two 3-year terms.

How can I become a member of the Grantmaking Committee?
Every year, Neighborhood Connections asks neighbors to nominate new committee members. Those selected will first serve as alternates and then will assume positions on the committee. Email us at neighborhoodconnections@clevefdn.org if you know of someone you’d like to nominate.

How long does it take once an application is submitted to go through the approval process and for us to receive funding?
Groups that are awarded funding will be notified approximately 10-12 weeks after submission. Organizations awarded grants will be required to attend a grant recipient orientation session where they will receive information on grant implementation.

Can I get help in putting together a grant application?
Neighborhood Connections will host grantseeker orientation sessions before each grant cycle to review how to complete application forms and answer questions.

Where do I send an application?
Neighborhood Connections
5000 Euclid Avenue
Suite 310
Cleveland, OH 44103

Can you refer me to anyone else for funding?
Click here for other funding opportunities for grassroots organizations. A good resource for both individuals and organizations is the Foundation Center. They do not provide funding themselves, but are well equipped to provide online resources to help grantseekers identify appropriate funders and develop targeted applications. The phone number for the Cleveland office is 216-861-1933.

Do I use the Neighborhood Connections application when applying for arts and cultural funds from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture?

Yes, please use the Neighborhood Connections proposal form.

Spring 2014 Grantees

Neighborhood Connections, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, funded 100 resident-led projects totaling $341,000 in Spring 2014.  Cuyahoga Arts & Culture is Cuyahoga County’s local public funder for arts and culture.

Click here for a list of the groups that received funding.

Fall 2013 Grantees

Neighborhood Connections, in partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, funded 90 groups totaling $270,000 in November 2013.  Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Cuyahoga County’s local public funder for arts and culture, co-funded 35 of the resident-led arts and culture projects through a unique partnership with Neighborhood Connections.

For a complete list of funded projects, click here.

Spring 2013 Grantees

Neighborhood Connections funded 90 groups totaling $270,000 in November 2013.

For a complete list of funded projects, click here.