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City announces new Neighborhood Match Fund

Residents of Grand Rapids can apply for the first season of funds in amounts from $200 to $2,500 now through March 30, 2017.
Stacy Stout announces the Neighborhood Match Fund.

Stacy Stout announces the Neighborhood Match Fund. /Courtesy of Stacy Stout

Stout meets with community members to explain how they can apply for a Neighborhood Match Fund.

Stout meets with community members to explain how they can apply for a Neighborhood Match Fund. /Elizabeth Rogers Drouillard

At the third annual Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit on Saturday, March 4, 2017, the City of Grand Rapids announced its new Neighborhood Match Fund. The fund is intended to be an easily accessible contract citizens can make with the City in order to support neighborhood projects, community events, and other creative ideas residents think up to benefit their neighborhoods.

Stacy Stout, Assistant to the City Manager who debuted the fund in the closing remarks of the day said, “Residents are experts of their blocks, neighborhoods and communities. The City of Grand Rapids is contracting with resident experts to coordinate and implement collaborative community projects that bring neighbors together in an inclusive and intentional way to create and strengthen relationships between neighbors, with an emphasis in communities most in need.”

The Neighborhood Match Fund supports contracts between $200 and $2,500. Because it’s meant to grow leadership and community within Grand Rapids, applicants must be a resident of Grand Rapids and their project must also take place in the city. Stout notes that the fund is one of the ways the City has followed through from the first Summit. “The fund was one of the top recommendations from the inaugural Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit in 2015 that featured keynote speaker, Jim Diers, who helped create and grow a similar fund in Seattle, Washington.”

She’s really hoping it will help change the dynamics of how neighbors sometimes relate to each other. “These small contracts, under the leadership and direction of dedicated Grand Rapidians, have the potential to change the frame from “neighbors watching each other” to neighbors seeing each other and being together in community. That’s powerful.”

When asked what she hopes will come from the Neighborhood Matching Fund, Stout replied:

“I’m eager to see and learn from the innovation and creativity of my fellow Grand Rapidians. I wonder what projects they’ll come up with. I’m also excited to lift up and showcase the leadership of residents. Since the project lead of each NMF contract must be a Grand Rapids resident, I have the honor to meet them and grow my list of resident leaders to perhaps offer training and support for their leadership to grow for the good of the neighborhood.”

To apply for the Neighborhood Matching Fund, residents can read about further qualifications and create an account and apply here. The deadline for the first season of funds is March 30, 2017. There is a NMF Information Session on Tuesday, March 14th at 2 p.m. at GRPS University, 1400 Fuller Ave NE.

Follow the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit on Facebook for Neighborhood Matching Fund updates.

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