Neighbor Up COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants

From spring 2020 to June, 2021, the Neighbor Up COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants provided financial assistance to grassroots neighborhood civic groups as well as small non-profit and faith-based organizations for efforts related to the provision of needs during COVID-19. To date, the grants funded 360 proposals totaling $1.3 million.

Funds were intended to enable these civic groups and organizations to be responsive to emergency and basic needs requests, providing support for operations, and/or reducing social isolation. Applicants had to be 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations or work with a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor. Grants covered a 12-week period and were between $500 and $5,000 each. Find a list of funded projects here.   (Projects co-funded by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture are marked with an * asterisk.)

A huge shout to the Neighbor Up Rapid Response Grantmaking Committee who reviewed grant applications and made the funding decisions. Thank you committee members — this important work could not have happened without you!

Thank you to the Greater Cleveland COVID19 Rapid Response Fund for their support and to Neighbor Up member Jackie Morris who delivered those grant checks with positive energy and joy! (See a photo album of project leaders receiving their grant checks on our Facebook page.)


Reviewed applications every other week and made funding decisions:

  • Austreeia Everson, FARE Committee member
  • Dawn Arrington, ioby, Buckeye resident
  • Christina Keegan, Cleveland Pandemic Response, Buckeye resident
  • Gordon Martin, Stockyards resident
  • Joe Black, Sisters of Charity Foundation
  • Nicole Hatcher, Neighborhood Connections


Applicant must be in Cuyahoga, Lake, or Geauga County;

Applicants must be from the community with which they are working and demonstrate their connectedness to that community.

Proposals must be from a civic group (three or more unrelated people coming together in the community), a small non-profit, and/or a faith-based organization.

Small non-profit and faith-based organizations must have no more than 5 full-time employees.

Small non-profit and faith-based organizations must have an operating budget of no more than $300,000.

Proposal requests must be between $500 and $5000.

Applicants must demonstrate their capacity to make change in their community.

Applicants must show the need in their community.

Proposals must be related to addressing issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Projects must build off the assets in the community (wisdom, skills, talents, and networks of individuals in the community, civic groups, institutions, physical space, local economy, and/or community culture).

Only one proposal can be submitted by a group or organization at a time.

A group or organization could receive up to two (2) grants in this process.

Some groups or organizations declined funding were allowed to reapply after discussing needed changes to their proposal with a member of the Neighbor Up COVID-19 Grant Making Committee and making those changes.

Groups and organizations with or without 501(c)3 designation were eligible for funding and encouraged to apply. Groups and organizations without 501(c)3 designation needed to find a fiscal sponsor.

These grants did not fund individuals, large non-profit or large faith-based organizations, religious organizations for religious purposes, political campaigns, endowment funds, fundraising campaigns, for-profit entities, single businesses, or government entities.

Grant applicants were notified of funding decision via email within one day of the Neighbor Up COVID-19 Grantmaking Committee meeting. If approved for funding, groups received an email letting them know, and were required to fill out some simple paperwork to receive the funding. If a proposal was declined funding, we were available to talk through the reasons why.

Groups and organizations awarded a grant received their funding within 14-20 days of the funding decision. (i.e. decisions were made every other Monday, and funds were available by the Friday or Monday following the decision day if all required documents were submitted on time).