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Lisa Leverette on the Power of Small Grants

In response to a recent “question of the week”:

What have you found to be a good way to demonstrate the potential and power of relatively small amounts of money – and to change the focus from the amount of money to the strategic investment of money?

Lisa LeveretteThe Resident review panel recently funded a neighborhood beautification project. The lead stakeholder of the project was a neighborhood stakeholder with a foster home for young boys who was interested in cleaning the area before opening the home. She reached out to neighbors who were very receptive to the idea. There were 2 vacant and blighted homes that sat neglected for years. The applicant realized the homes would be a detraction from the clean-up efforts. She contacted city officials to inform them that media might possibly be present during the clean-up and she would hate to see the city embarrassed by “gotcha” journalism as it related to the blighted homes. The City responded by demolishing the homes in 2 weeks!!!

The City planning Department reconnected with the woman following the clean-up to commend them for a job well done, inquire about the great group doing such a standout job and wondering who was in charge of the area and why they had not invited the city to partner with them. They expressed an interest in working with the neighborhood on a block by block basis for clean-up. The magnitude and coordination of the event, which stemmed from the planning to secure the small grant in conjunction with the event led the City to believe there was a much larger group responsible for the beautification effort. The organizers secured tools, tents, food and entertainment to complete the event and celebration from the small grant program.

I share this story far and wide. I encourage those in the neighborhood to share it with others and also with other neighborhoods. Sharing stories over and over seems to eventually spread the news about how the small amounts of money can leverage additional support and capacity.

Lisa Leverette,

Manager of The Skillman Foundation’s Community Connections Grant Program

The Prevention Network (An Intermediary of The Skillman Foundation)

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