A “Mini-Grant” Initiative for the Promise Zone

Credit.Hole in the CloudsRecently, The Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia awarded $15,000 to the Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) to launch a Promise Zone Mini-Grant initiative. The initiative will enable CEO to make direct awards to organizations serving residents of Promise Zone neighborhoods. Grants will address small funding gaps within organizations that create positive, impactful change in their communities. CEO is exploring how to expand this funding source and make it a sustainable resource for Promise Zone partners.

“Applicants will be asked to explain how Mini-Grant funds will be used to benefit Promise Zone neighborhood residents.”

CEO will release a short application guide in March, and distribute this to Promise Zone partners, including civic associations and small nonprofits. This guide will include timelines for applications and anticipated grant awards. Applicants will be asked to explain how Mini-Grant funds will be used to benefit Promise Zone neighborhood residents in areas including community engagement, housing, health and wellness, education, public safety, and economic development. Beyond this, CEO will consider several criteria when evaluating requests for funding. These criteria will include:

Size: The Mini-Grants will range from $1,000 to $5,000 to organizations with annual budgets of less than $500,000. This size has been selected to prioritize small organizations that have some level of organizational maturity, and have demonstrated an ability to lead impactful work. Example organizations include civic associations, faith-based organizations, and small nonprofits located in the Promise Zone.

Service Location: Applicants should demonstrate that the funds will benefit residents of Promise Zone neighborhoods, and that they have facilities or services within the Promise Zone. Applicants that exclusively serve Promise Zone residents will receive priority. The organization must show capacity to use the Mini-Grant effectively by explaining their previous successes in the type of service for which requested funds are intended to support.

Applicants must also identify the outcomes they intend to measure to show the effectiveness of the funding, such as “number of newsletters distributed”, or “number of homeowners who received counseling service.” Applicants should explain their experience in documenting results, as they will be asked to record and report information related to their funded activity. PZMG awardees will commit to collaboration on Promise Zone committees, where they may be asked to present information about their funded activity and provide support in outreach and sharing results.

We hope that the Promise Zone Mini-Grant initiative will help to build efficiency, capacity, and stronger communication and collaboration among Promise Zone partner organizations. With greater outreach and increased capacity, Promise Zone partners can leverage these small funds to create substantial, positive change in their neighborhoods and communities.

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