Coming up in committee: Reviewing Large Project Fund Recommendations



While it’s been wonderful to be in New York and focused on being a grandmother, I find I’m already itching to get home and back to the office.

Community enthusiasm for your project is helpful.

Now that budget is almost wrapped up, we can get back to Committee work. In fact, PaN has a special meeting on Tuesday, November 20th. We have a few items on the agenda.  I’m looking forward to the recommendations for the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) Large Project Matching Fund. (Note the special date and time, Tuesday at 11, not the usual Thursday at 9:30 – we’re scheduling around budget.)

We have to review and approve these recommendations through council before the end of the year to ensure that, come 2013, there’s funding available to make these ideas a reality.

Competitors this year include a community youth orchestra, a project for empowering Latina leaders, a swamp trail, mural projects and an alley improvement project. All represent hopes and dreams translated into actions: research, planning, outreach.  

DON’s neighborhood matching fund program is dear to my heart. Founded in 1988, it’s designed to foster community involvement by providing funding for projects that are initiated, planned, and executed by community group members. (Find out about eligibility here.)

Last year’s Large Projects awards funded planning for the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands project and a challenge course program at Camp Long,  among others.

How it works

Applications for funding are generally due in the spring.  Applicants are now required to attend a workshop held by the Department of Neighborhoods to help ensure their application is complete and competitive, and then applications are reviewed  by various organizations , including the  District Council , and finally are passed on up to the Citywide Neighborhood Council.

 This ground-up approach ensures that the projects approved really do have the backing and approval of the neighbors and community members who will benefit from the project (and also be affected by its implementation).

Most importantly, every dollar provided by the city is matched by the community in the form of volunteer labor, donated materials, donated professional services, or cash. (That’s the “match” in Matching Fund.)

Since 1988, the Fund has awarded more than $49 million to more than 4,000 projects throughout Seattle, generated an additional $72 million of community match, and engaged more than 86,000 volunteers who have donated over 574,000 hours. (Download guidelines for matching fund projects here.)

There are three funds within the Neighborhood Matching Fund Program:

Each one is tailored for different purposes. The Large Project Fund provides awards up to $100,000 to support community members in building community relationships around a project.

Requirements for consideration:

Large Projects Fund activities may be physical projects as well as less tangible but equally significant educational, cultural, and relationship-strengthening activities. All projects must demonstrate its capacity to build a stronger and healthier community, and must:

  • Provide a public benefit and be free and open to all members of the public.
  • Emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the neighbors and community members who will themselves be impacted by the project.
  • Demonstrate community match.
  • Occur within the Seattle city limits.

Who the Large Project Fund is aimed at:

  • Neighborhood-based groups, community-based organizations, ad-hoc groups and business groups (such as chambers of commerce) who want to do a project to build stronger connections in their neighborhood.
  • Community groups that do not have a geographic base, such as a racial or ethnic group, GLBT groups, a disability community, etc.

Applying for neighborhood matching funds is a bit of a process. Generally applying for Large Project funding starts in April. There are mandatory technical workshops applicants must attend to ensure their applications meet certain specifics, so keep an eye on the Department of Neighborhoods Matching Fund website for deadlines.

To get more involved, consider attending your District Council meeting.

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