The City of Corvallis is once again running the Neighborhood Empowerment Grant (NEG) Program. Applications are being accepted now through March 17 at 5 pm. These grants, which typically range from $500 – $1,000, provide opportunities for neighbors to come together to improve this place we all call home.
Applications will be reviewed by the Community Involvement and Diversity Advisory Board, and the City Council will award the selected grants. Whether that means starting a community newsletter, planting some trees on an otherwise barren patch of grass, or providing new educational opportunities in the neighborhood, anyone with an idea for local improvement can apply. The only caveat is that the organizers of the application must show a willingness to match the NEG funding. There’s no need to pony up out an out of pocket payment, though. Fundraising, in-kind donations, and volunteer hours are all acceptable ways to match the grant.
There are a few broad criteria proposals applicants have to meet to even be considered. Projects must improve community organization, the neighborhood in general, or the livability of a particular area. In more basic terms, if you see a need for an improvement in your neighborhood, consider applying. Strengthening a neighborhood’s identity is specifically mentioned on the City website, so one-off/annual community events are well within bounds of the NEG’s goals.
Even for some who might have a great idea, there is still one hurdle in the way of a succesful application. Most people don’t have experience writing grant proposals, and with a program as historically competitive as the NEG, that might seem discouraging. Fear not, as the City of Corvallis is also hosting a grant workshop to help prospective applicants understand every bit of the application process. The workshop will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 pm on Feb. 27 at the Multicultural Literacy Center, 128 SW 9th St. Come with all the questions you might have regarding the NEG, and city staff will be on hand to answer them.
For more information, including a detailed list of critera, deadlines, the application itself, and sample materials, visit http://www.corvallisoregon.
By Kyle Bunnell