FutureHeights mini-grants deadline approaches

Mark Rodney, one of the leaders of the Boulevard Learning Garden, a 2019 FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant recipient. 

Tuesday, Sept. 15, is the deadline for applicants to the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program. The program, which began in the fall of 2015, provides funding of up to $1,000 to grassroots or neighborhood groups in Cleveland Heights who have creative solutions, projects, and programs that build on and enhance existing assets in their neighborhoods.

To date, the Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program has provided a total of $27,461 to 42 projects in Cleveland Heights.

Residents who have ideas for improving their Cleveland Heights neighborhood are invited to apply for a grant. The program is guided by a grant-making committee comprising seven Cleveland Heights residents with a history of community involvement. The committee reviews and makes all grant decisions.

For more information, e-mail FutureHeights at sbasu@futureheights.org. Learn about the projects funded to date, and download an application at www.futureheights.org/programs/community-building-programs/. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 15.

FutureHeights also offers a Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series. Since 2015, 77 Cleveland Heights residents have completed the program. Some participate because they are interested in learning more about the city, or want to meet their neighbors and other civically minded people. Others have a specific neighborhood project they want to complete. Many program graduates go on to join nonprofit boards, or city committees or commissions. Some apply to receive funding for a project through the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program, which has biannual deadlines.

“I found the workshops to be extremely helpful in giving me a space to work out ideas I had, and shape them with the help of other people with similar interest in working for Cleveland Heights,” said Michael Hagesfeld, a 2018 participant. “The speakers were interesting, and helped give different perspectives I could apply to my particular situation. Working with other people who also had a drive and love for Cleveland Heights inspired me, in addition to giving me ideas I could apply to my concept, and be able to help them with theirs.”

Donna Johnson, a 2019 participant, said that participating in the program “was the perfect impetus to help me rally and engage my neighbors!”

The program takes an assets-based community-development approach, which means that it seeks to build upon a neighborhood’s strengths. It is funded by the city of Cleveland Heights through a Community Development Block Grant, and by individual contributions to FutureHeights.

Topics are: Individual Leadership; Asset Based Community Development; Planning Your Project; Policy & Advocacy, Learning the History of Cleveland Heights and Your Neighborhood; Leveraging Community Resources; and Building Community. All Cleveland Heights residents are encouraged to apply to participate. Free childcare is available during sessions.

Traditionally, this program is held at the beginning of the year, starting in January and concluding in March. However, with continued uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, FutureHeights plans to hold its 2021 series in the fall, beginning in September and concluding in November.

“The cohort’s relationship-building experience is a key highlight reported by participants every year. By postponing the program’s start in 2021, we hope that we will be able to have in-person meetings,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “In 2022, we hope to get back to our regular spring schedule.”

For more information and a program application, e-mail sbasu@futureheights.org. Program dates will be posted on the FutureHeights website and social media.

Sruti Basu

Sruti Basu is the director of community-building programs at FutureHeights.

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Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 8:00 AM, 09.01.2020