Mini-Grant Opportunity
Neighborhood Improvement Projects

Deadline:  4:00 PM, Thursday, November 30, 2023
Grant Funding Available:  Multiple Grants of $1,000 to $5,000


United Way of the Wabash Valley has announced a long-term bold goal for the community of moving 10,000 households out of financial struggles and into stability. In the United Way service area more than 33,000 households are considered to be asset-limited, income-constrained, and employed, or ALICE (see The UWWV Strong Neighborhoods Impact Council (UWWV SN) will impact the ALICE population by investing in programs and initiatives that provide our community with safe, vibrant and inclusive neighborhoods. The UWWV SN believes families living in thriving neighborhoods will have greater financial stability, and that resident participation and engagement is crucial to neighborhood growth and stability. Neighborhoods grow stronger when we discover and build upon their unique strengths. Defining a neighborhood’s publicly accepted identity brings with it a great amount of power in shaping its future development. Through this grant opportunity, the Strong Neighborhoods Impact Council is encouraging applicants to propose projects that will enhance the “look and feel” of a neighborhood by addressing public safety, beautification projects, and abandoned or deteriorated properties.

Program Offering

The UWWV SN is seeking proposals from community organizations, service groups, and other community-based groups to conduct projects or programs involving community members and businesses to enhance the look and feel of their local neighborhoods. Projects may focus on any neighborhood in the UWWV service area that includes ALICE residents and should be undertaken in consultation with those residents.  Projects may address neighborhood beautification, neighborhood gathering spots, public safety, or deteriorated properties, or a combination of any of these four categories. Examples of previously funded projects include providing Ring doorbells for residents in Sullivan, creating a community garden and greenhouse at Central Elementary School in Vermillion County, and offering chamber music events at The Lab in the Ryves Community, among others. To see a geographical map of previously funded projects click here. Other appropriate projects might be a neighborhood clean-up initiative, public landscaping projects, covered bus seating, public murals, park improvements, etc. While it is not required, applicants are encouraged to consider collaborations with local government and/or businesses.

Program Funding Available

The UWWV SN Impact Council has made available a total of $40,000 in funding to be provided to eligible qualifying applicants. Applicants may apply for $1,000 to $5,000 to be expended in 12 months or less from the time funding is approved.

Program Eligibility and Application Criteria

The following groups within the UWWV service area (Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Indiana and Clark County in Illinois) are invited to submit proposals:

Any of the following may act as a project lead applicant. Neighborhood resident participation is preferred, but not required:

– Community organizations and/or civic organizations
– Neighborhood associations
– Businesses or local government entities (e.g. Parks Department)
– Faith-based organizations, committees/groups and/or ministries

Neighborhood residents may apply without a partner organization if sufficient fiscal management controls can be demonstrated.

This grant program will NOT fund improvements to a single, privately-owned residential property.

Submitted applications must:
– Identify a specific neighborhood that the project will serve.
– Include a current photograph of the site of the proposed project.
– Confirm approval in writing from a local government office, residents and/or businesses, if applicable.
– Discuss how the project will enhance the look and feel of the neighborhood.
– Provide an estimate for the total number of residents impacted by the proposed project.
– Provide a plan for how to involve residents, business owners or community members in the project.
– Provide a detailed, itemized budget.
– Provide a letter of recommendation from the partnering organization, as applicable if said organization is not the applicant.

Expected Program Outcomes

The long-term objective for UWWV SN is to help facilitate the creation of safe, vibrant, and inclusive neighborhoods. Through the Neighborhood Improvement Projects, UWWV SN expects to advance the following outcomes:

– Projects will improve the look and feel of the neighborhood in which they are implemented via enhancements to the safety of residents, neighborhood beautification efforts, neighborhood “anchors” where residents gather and connect.
– Resident & community involvement will expand neighbors’ “connectedness.”
– Familiar and connected neighbors will lead to long-term stability and growth.

Notes of Interest:

Here are a few websites from other communities around the country that list numerous ideas for neighborhood improvement projects.  While not everything on these lists would be eligible for funding under this grant offering, these lists might help inspire the reader to think of some great opportunities in their neighborhoods.

From Rochester’s Neighborhood Resource Center

101 SMALL WAYS YOU CAN IMPROVE YOUR CITY: The least you can do to make a big difference where you live

Five Great Ways to Keep Your Neighborhood Connected!

If you have questions contact Michele Bennett at [email protected] or 812-235-6287.