The Community Engagement Division of Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) has awarded $22,500 in grants for local groups to lead community engagement projects.
What You Need to Know
- The City of Durham awarded $22,500 in grants for local groups to lead community engagement projects.
- 40+ applications, the largest amount to date, were submitted to the Community Engagement Mini-Grants program, formerly known as Neighborhood Matching Grants, to request funding to address issues related to mental health, food insecurity, community wealth building and much more.
Seven community groups were selected as grant recipients for the fall program cycle, with five groups receiving $2,500 in grant money for being first time applicants, and two receiving $5,000 for being past recipients with successful projects. Applicants were selected based on need, planning, community participation and support, community benefit, and budget needed to complete the project. Additional consideration was given to groups where the applicants were either members of the communities they proposed to work with, were one of the department’s focus communities, or had previously participated in community conversations hosted by the department. These projects aimed at addressing issues related to mental health, food insecurity, community wealth building and much more.
Kevin Jones, NIS Community Engagement Manager, said the grant program encourages residents to initiate projects that directly address the needs and concerns within their communities. “By providing financial support, these grants foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among community members, encouraging them to actively participate in creating positive change,” said Jones. A prior year’s project included an end-of-school summer jam, which brought together more than 50 youth and their families, and featured various organizations like the National Audubon Society, which helped attendees learn how to build birdhouses. That project also involved Wells Fargo, who shared banking and financial information to students and families.
The local groups and organizations awarded for the Fall 2023 grant cycle are:
- All Neurotypes: awarded $2,500 to organize a disability-justice centered community event to share support and resources for parents and caregivers of neurodivergent children.
- Bordando Comunidad, in partnership with El Centro Hispano: awarded $2,500 to organize a group of women to learn traditional Mexican embroidery and economic development training.
- Costurando Sueños (Sewing Dreams): awarded $5,000 to organize a series of sewing and tailoring classes for Latinas to share knowledge, increase their household incomes, and improve their quality of life.
- Jóvenes Líderes en Acción, in partnership with El Centro Hispano: awarded $2,500 to host small cultural events for Latinx youth.
- Pupusas for Education (P4E): awarded $2,500 to organize mental health retreats and art kits for BIPOC youth to reduce the stigma of mental health care and promote overall wellness, self-expression, and sense of community.
- Red Maple Park Community, in partnership with Wall Street Juniors: awarded $5,000 to host a community wealth building series to promote positive financial behaviors and social responsibility in the surrounding Red Maple Park area.
- Refugee Community Partnership: awarded $2,500 to organize Afghan Women’s Group sessions for newly resettled Afghan women, including support from community interpreters (in Dari, Pashto, and Urdu) and a community coordinator.
All of these community engagement projects are set to launch in late fall with the goal of being completed by the end of winter 2024.
To follow the progress of these projects, visit DurhamCommunityEngagement.org/minigrants, follow the Community Engagement Division on Facebook, or contact Kevin Jones, NIS Community Engagement Manager, at [email protected] or 919-560-1647 ext. 34266.
About the Neighborhood Improvement Services Department
The Neighborhood Improvement Services Department works to preserve and improve quality of life conditions for Durham residents, and to encourage active participation in neighborhood redevelopment and public policy and decision-making dialogue.