Sarasota County offers up to $10,000 in assistance to neighborhoods
Miranda Lansdale, community outreach specialist
SARASOTA COUNTY – Twice each year, area neighborhoods submit proposals to Sarasota County to fund the changes they wish to see in their community. The opportunity is available through the Neighborhood Grant Program, which has provided matching grants (currently up to $10,000 per neighborhood) since 2002.
The program requires neighborhoods to match at least 50 percent of project expenses. While some match funds through cash and donations, others opt for sweat equity – garnering credit of $15 an hour through volunteer labor.
Neighborhoods are encouraged to be creative in addressing their needs; projects must fall within one of five themes:
- Character: “Place-making” through the creation or enhancement of assets that are a source of pride and neighborhood identity
- Leadership: Training neighborhood leaders or teams, and developing skills, for neighborhood governance or action
- Safety: Equipping the neighborhood with knowledge or tools to prevent, prepare for, confront or respond to incidences of crime, danger or disaster
- Environment: Protecting water and energy resources and native plants and animals
- Health: Increasing access to nutritious diets, physical or mental fitness opportunities or health education
Two neighborhood leaders were recently recognized with Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Volunteer Awards for their efforts through the Neighborhood Grant Program. Holly Bucciarelli of Mission Estates has set a new standard for using aquatic plantings to improve water quality in neighborhood storm water ponds. Jonard Solie of Deer Hollow has been enhancing the visual appeal of the neighborhood as it is exposed to increasing numbers of visitors.
The next round of Neighborhood Grant Workshop dates has just been released and is available on the Neighborhood Services website (www.scgov.net, Keyword: Neighborhood Grant). Although workshop attendance is mandatory for grant applicants, there is no cost to register, and materials will be provided. Resident-based groups in Sarasota County may apply. The next deadline for grant applications is March 15, 2016.
If you have a project idea for your neighborhood, or simply want to learn more about the program, register for a workshop by calling 941-861-5000 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Civics 101 is offered through Sarasota County’s Neighborhood Services, which works to connect people, places, and resources. Visit our website for information on our other programs (www.scgov.net, keyword: Neighborhood Services). For daily doses of neighborly information, like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/neighborSRQ.