Neighbourhood Small Grants

Do you have an idea to bring neighbours together? If the answer is yes, we have the program for you!

Neighbourhood Small Grants is a grassroots program that offers a small grant of up to $500 to individuals for projects that connect neighbours by involving skills or talents, or by hosting a neighbourhood event that brings residents together.

As a grant recipient, become a changemaker in your neighbourhood. Invite and welcome others, share experiences and stories, and inspire others to follow in your footsteps. Block parties have included BBQs, homecomings, movie nights, games, sidewalk stargazing, clean-up days, educational opportunities, painting parties, quilting bees, and so much more. Find out about how you can participate!

Please enjoy some of the 2022 Neighbourhood Small Grant projects here!

The Neighbourhood Small Grants program is open to anyone living in the South Okanagan and Similkameen. Only people can apply for a Neighbourhood Small Grant. Charities, societies, and businesess are not encourged to apply.

If you are unsure if your idea meets the program criteria, please contact the NSG Coordinator Kim English before applying at kimenglish@cfso.net

Neighbourhood Small Grants are awarded to projects that aspire to meet the following goals:

1. Connect and engage neighbours. Example: block parties “with a purpose” or theme, planned activities to spark conversations and connections.

2. Share neighbours’ skills and knowledge within the community. Examples include free yoga or wood carving lessons for the community; in a community kitchen where neighbours share their cooking skills.

3. Build a sense of belonging and connection. Examples include an indigenous plant walking tour led by an Elder or knowledge sharer.

4. Respect and celebrate diversity. Examples include a multicultural fashion show, a storytelling project that involves youth and seniors, or an acrylic painting workshop open to all ages and skill levels.

Applications must also meet the following criteria:

  • Projects must take place close to your home (front yard or street, alley, farm); a nearby park; or a community space to access a kitchen or to hold a workshop.
  • Events must be free, accessible and welcoming to all.
  • Preference will be given to new projects or those that have been funded for fewer than three years in a row.
  • While some projects may continue year-round, it is expected that your project will be complete within six months of receiving the grant.

The goals of Culture Neighbourhood Small Grants are to support strong, vibrant and united cultures by promoting sustainability, celebrating diversity, and building inclusion.

Funding Priorities

Celebrating syilx ways of stewardship. Examples: story sharing, visiting territory and learning place-names, harvesting workshop, language event.

Growing /harvesting and eating local food. Examples: gardening or composting workshops, berry harvesting, preservation, and canning.

Promoting Biodiversity: Examples: workshop on local plants and animals, addressing invasive species, planting pollinator-friendly gardens.

Sharing of environmental practices across generations. Examples: Youth and elders team up to create an environmental project.

  • Projects where you charge entrance fees, request donations or fundraise for other projects.
  • Projects where you profit financially.
  • Events on holidays.
  • School wrap-up or birthday parties.
  • Celebrations of life.
  • Except for community gardens, projects involving infrastructure building or upgrading or purchasing large equipment are not eligible.
  • One item/product purchase, such as t-shirts or tools.

Public Events

If your project is going to take place on neighbourhood streets, parks or other places, please consider the following:

  • You must obtain appropriate permits and liability insurance before your start date.
  • To foster inclusivity and safety, events are to take place outdoors where possible. Other examples: front yard vs back yard, community kitchen versus the home kitchen. Private (home) indoor gatherings are not encouraged.

Budget

Please consider the following when calculating your project budget:

  • Grant requests must be under $500
  • Grant money may be used to pay people for services (also called honorariums) to help with the project. Examples may be a face painter, carpenter, and musician. Total honorarium (s) may not be more than $150 per project. For Cultural NSG, an honorarium may not exceed $350 per project (for an elder and/or knowledge sharer).
  • When creating a budget, you should determine the actual costs of the items used and think resourcefully about how to obtain materials through borrowing or donations.
  • Do not use 100% of the grant on one item or only on food.
  • Allowable costs include food and beverages, decorations, small gifts for prizes, small tools, art and craft supplies, materials for projects: insurance and permits.
  • Circulate the money, as best you can, in your community with merchants, growers, and makers.
  • Please be environmentally conscious in your purchases.
  • You must begin your project after the granting decision is made. Projects are not supported retroactively.
  • You are responsible for keeping expense receipts to account for all project costs.

Grant decisions are made by past Neighbourhood Small Grant project leaders and community members living in your neighbourhood. The Neighbourhood Small Grant Committee, comprised of neighbourhood volunteers from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, reviews applications and decides which projects to fund.

If you would like to get involved in the Neighbourhood Small Grants Committee in your community, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Kim English NSG Coordinator, at kimenglish@cfso.net

Neighbourhood Small Grant Grantee / Project Leaders Responsibilities

  • Attend the NSG Project Leader Info Session (virtual)
  • Complete your project within six months of accepting the grant
  • Capture costs on the expense form
  • Share a short story with a favourite photo or video of the event (inspire others!)
  • Return any unspent money to the Foundation

Support and Opportunities for Project Leaders

  • Project Leader Information Package with tips on hosting
  • NSG Info Session: meet and learn from other project leaders
  • Participate at one of the provincial and regional NSG Summits
  • Be a part of the Neighbourhood Small Grant Committee; help review grants and support other project leaders
  • Share your feedback and help improve the program in the year-end survey

The next grant cycle opens in spring 2023. Check back here to learn more!

Applying for a Neighbourhood Small Grant is easy via our online application system.

Once you apply, you will receive an email confirming your application has been received. You will hear back regarding the status of your application within four weeks of the application deadline.

Help with Your Application

We will host a workshop about how to apply for a grant, which will be announced in spring 2023.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, connect with coordinator Kim English at kimenglish@cfso.net

The Neighbourhood Small Grants program is co-funded by the Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen, the Vancouver Foundation NSG Program, and the City of Penticton.

Neighbourhood Small Grants are delivered in partnership with the City of Penticton, the District of Summerland, the Towns of Oliver, Osoyoos, and Princeton, the Village of Keremeos, and the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen.

The next application cycle opens in spring 2023. View our gallery of stories for inspiration and ideas!

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