FutureHeights offers community-building workshops and mini-grants this spring
FutureHeights is offering several tools to help Cleveland Heights residents leverage their neighborhoods’ assets and enable creative projects to improve their quality of life through its Community Capacity-Building Program, including a series of workshops for neighborhood leaders and small grants to support neighborhood projects.
Since the program’s launch in 2015, FutureHeights has awarded approximately $10,000 in mini-grants to support 13 projects in Cleveland Heights. Residents can apply for up to $1,000 for citizen-led neighborhood projects, events and activities. In addition, 25 residents—from several neighborhoods, including Noble, Forest Hill, Cain Park, Boulevard, Severance, Cedar Fairmount, Coventry and East Fairfax—have completed the workshop series, which takes place over several months each spring.
“When you’re community-minded, you don’t just care about your area, you care about all of it, and the workshops helped connect our individual efforts to the entire community,” said Rhonda Davis-Lovejoy, a 2015 participant and resident of Cain Park neighborhood. “Through the workshops we created relationships that will last forever; they’re probably worth a million dollars.”
“We have several principles that guide the program,” said Mark Chupp, an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences and former chair of the FutureHeights Civic Engagement Committee, which led the sessions. “We believe that institutions lead best by stepping back and supporting residents and voluntary groups, and that everyday people have the power to do extraordinary things right where they live.”
The program takes an Assets Based Community Development approach, which means that it seeks to build upon a neighborhood’s strengths. “For example,” said Chupp, “the Cain Park neighborhood has this tremendous asset—Cain Park—that it can leverage and build upon. The Dog Project, in which residents came together to change a city law to enable dog walking in the park, is a good example of this. We also see residents of other neighborhoods, such as Noble, coming together to organize neighborhood cleanups and open houses. The small grants give us a means to better support neighbor-led activities like these.”
The 2017 FutureHeights Community Builder Workshop Series will take place on Sunday afternoons, beginning Feb. 19, 3–6 p.m. Below are the dates and topics for each session:
- February 19: Individual Leadership and Volunteer Organizational Development
- March 5: Process of Community Change
- March 19: Cultural and Political History of Cleveland Heights and its Future
- April 2: Leveraging Community Assets
- April 16: Planning for a Community Program or Project
- April 30: Effective Network-Building Practices
All Cleveland Heights residents are encouraged to complete a two-page application to participate in the workshop series. The application, available at www.futureheights.org/programs/community-building-programs, is due by 5 p.m. on Feb. 10.
Applications for neighborhood mini-grants will be considered in the spring and fall. This year’s application deadlines are March 15 and Sept. 15.
For more information and applications for both the workshop series and the neighborhood mini-grants, visit www.futureheights.org/programs/community-building-programs/ or contact Sruti Basu at email@example.com or 216-320-1423.
Sruti Basu is the director of community-building programs at FutureHeights.