Applications for Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) are open just in time for spring. Community members living across all regions of Vancouver Island have until April 15 to submit their innovative ideas.
Small projects for up to $500 that foster community connectivity within physical distancing guidelines will all be considered. While indoor gatherings are still off the table, creative ideas for outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted.
“The program is great because it really focuses on the principles that community knows best and locals know best. It really comes from a place of ‘yes’ with these projects. It truly is a barrier free program,” said NSG co-lead Brooke Wood.
Ideas that support local businesses and aim to be as waste-free as possible will rise to the top of the pile, notes Wood.
“Businesses cannot apply, this is only for individuals. It’s not for any formal groups and no one is allowed to profit financially. Generally, with our NSG you can only take and honorarium of up to $100, but because of COVID-19 the Vancouver Foundation noted that artists and knowledge holders really were taking the hardest hit financially, so we did increase the honorarium to $350,” said Wood.
“This is a very trust based program and in my five years of running the program locally with over 144 projects, I have had zero misuse of the money,” she went on to say.
Skills and knowledge that can be shared virtually, like knitting or dream catcher making, would be a good fit for a NSG. Delivering special care packages to the elderly is a project idea that would qualify as well.
“People have to be creative to make it work,” Wood said.
One NSG application that sparked her attention was a fun sidewalk chalk art project that could potential involve several communities.
“People would take a picture of their chalk art and post it on social media and we might make a map so people could drive around in isolation, safely, to see the art,” she said, adding that the applicant requested funds for art supplies.
People can apply to the grassroots NSG applications in multiple languages and it generally takes less than 30-minutes to submit ideas. Co-ordinators are also available to help navigate the application.
The Island Network of NSG is facilitated in partnership with the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust and the Victoria Foundation.
In 2020, NSG saw 218 projects happen across Vancouver Island with over $100,000 in funding distributed.
Anyone with a creative idea that strengthens community is encouraged to visit www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca. Follow the prompts on the website to find your community, and get your COVID-friendly project funded.