Acclaimed Neighborhood Small Grants Program Funds in Jeopardy – A Call to Action!
Last fiscal year SE Uplift funded a typically inspiring group of Neighborhood Small Grants recipients. Examples of 2013 year projects that represent the depth and breadth of this program’s impacts on our communities include the “Pick Me Up” neighborhood street cleanup, the Jim Bridger PTA “Mount Tabor Blast” (don’t you wish you were there for that!), North Tabor Neighborhood Association’s Mural, On the Move Community Integration – Community Classes for Adults with Special Needs, Post5 Theater’s summer teen internship program, Richmond Neighborhood Association’s emergency preparedness workshops – and too many more to list here.
The Neighborhood Small Grant Program boasts 7 years of such stellar projects – putting money where it counts – in the neighborhoods. The program has funded the projects of over 600 organizations across this city. These projects were frequently partnerships between Neighborhood Associations and other organizations working in our neighborhoods. These collaborative grants ran an average of a little under $2,000 per project and leveraged over five dollars for every single dollar granted.
This program is arguably one of the most effective programs the Coalitions manage. The funding is from the City of Portland, Office of Neighborhood Involvement, as a part of our grant with the city.
This current fiscal year (which will end June 30th, 2014) all City Bureaus took painful cuts to their funding and the program was cut from ONI’s budget. But ONI’s Budget Advisory Group agreed to support a return of this highly efficient program to the Coalitions, as soon as funding became available again. We have now learned we will probably not get this funding restored in the upcoming fiscal year.
We believe the Neighborhood Small Grants program is critical for neighborhoods to address issues and build community at a grassroots level. If you agree, please let the City know. Community advocacy impacts budget decisions made by the City Council. Your voice is especially important when it comes to small programs, such as the neighborhood grant program.
Here’s how you can help: write or email the Mayor and the other Portland City Council members, ask them to support this program that does so much with so little for our city. If you were a grant recipient, or benefited from, or delighted in a project funded by this program – write! If you would be willing to speak to the City Council about your appreciation for this program, let SE Uplift Executive Director Anne Dufay (firstname.lastname@example.org) know. We will be happy to help you organize your testimony.