If you’re a Grand Rapids resident with an idea for a community engagement project, the city could give you money to make that idea happen.
Residents can apply every three months for up to $2,500 in match funds for neighborhood projects. These projects can range from community gardens to community yoga classes.
Residents have the entire month of June to fill out an application, which the city is willing to help people with. Application forms are on the city’s website.
The idea behind the city’s Neighborhood Match Fund is that people living in the city’s neighborhoods best know how to improve the quality of life in their community.
Stacey Stout, assistant to the city manager for the city of Grand Rapids, says she wants people to know that their ideas are good and they are wanted.
“And so I hope these informational meetings folks walk away with like ‘I can do this and I’m going to have support from the city to do it,” Stout said.
Stout says these neighborhood projects don’t need to be complex, but do need to be community-focused.
“So instead of just having a community garden, there’s got to be some sort of way to get people interacting with one another,” she said.
The money from the city is a match, meaning residents have to match whatever amount of money they get. This can be done with cash donations or volunteer hours.
Erica Millbrooks received match funding last year. She runs Threads Sewing Circle, where people can make quilts that are later donated.
When she first applied, Millbrooks knew that what she needed for idea to work was a long-arm sewing machine.
Millbrooks was surprised by how much the city supported her ideas.
“So I really appreciate that they have this fund available. It just brings people together,” Millbrooks said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Stacey Stout as the assistant city manager for Grand Rapids. She is the assistant to the city manager.