FH awards mini-grants to eight Heights groups

The Coventry PEACE Lantern Festival, pictured here in 2022, is one of eight FH mini-grant recipients. [photo courtesy Robin VanLear]

The FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant program offers funding of up to $1,000 for neighborhood groups to pursue community-building programs, projects and initiatives. The Fall 2023 round of funding resulted in eight groups being awarded a total of $4,892.

Lake Erie Ink received $1,000 for “Explore and Connect,” a three-day, spring-break program in which students from Noble and Oxford schools will learn more about their neighborhood by conducting interviews with Heights leaders. Students will then write about their experiences and have their work on display around the neighborhood. Grant dollars will support program facilitation and supplies.

Noble Elementary School PTA received $1,000 for “Noble Pride – A Thoughtful Makeover,” in which PTA members will collaborate with students, school staff, and neighbors to give the school’s exterior a makeover. Participants believe that the perception of safety is tied to a sense of cleanliness and care for a space, and can have a ripple effect into the surrounding neighborhood. PTA members view this project as a reflection of neighborhood pride, encouraging respect, humility, and compassion for all stakeholders. Grant funds will support paying an artist to work with the group to create public art, hosting a celebration, and purchasing materials for the neighborhood clean-up aspect of the project.

Dobama Theatre was awarded $750 for “Heights Halloween Festival.” This annual event is a beloved tradition that is growing each year, and enables Dobama to develop connections with youth and families in the community. Grant dollars will support the inclusion of festival artists and performers.

South Overlook Neighbors received $542 for “Cecil Place Connections,” a project that aims to transform a currently underutilized space at the end of Cecil Place, along South Overlook Road, into a usable community space by removing overgrown shrubs and weeds, and installing a park bench. Funds will purchase the bench and materials to aid in the cleanup efforts.

Coventry PEACE Inc. received $500 for its “Lantern Festival.” This popular, annual event, coming up on Saturday, Dec. 9, has seen steady growth each year. Programming includes lantern-making (a family-friendly activity) and a community-participation parade through Coventry Village. Grant funds will support the festival’s inclusion of artists and performers.

The Coventry Village Special Improvement District was awarded $500 for the “Coventry Village Holiday Festival.” This annual holiday event, scheduled this year for Saturday, Dec. 9, draws attention to the business district and supports the local economy. This year, event organizers are working to engage even more with the merchants, especially restaurants. Grant funds support the purchase of materials needed to execute the event.

Boulevard Neighbors received $350 for “The Heights Community Land Trust.” A community land trust is a model for perpetually affordable home ownership in which a nonprofit owns and manages the land, individuals own the homes on the land, and the land is managed by a board of directors comprising the homeowners, community members and experts. The homes are bought at an affordable price, with a deed restriction requiring that owners sell them at an affordable price—albeit with some equity—which enables an owner to build equity while ensuring that the property remains perpetually affordable. Boulevard Neighbors’ goal is to start a pilot project with a single property by summer 2024, expanding to additional properties if the initial project is deemed successful. Grant funds will support the group’s creation of a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Friends of Cain Park received $250 for “Cain Park Beautification, 2024 Phase,” to continue incorporating native plants into the park and removing invasive species, thus enhancing the local ecology. Grant funds will purchase the plants; all labor/gardening supplies will be provided by the group’s volunteers.

FutureHeights is proud to uplift these neighborhood-level projects through the allocation of Neighborhood Mini-Grant funds, and is grateful to the Cedars Legacy Fund for its continued support, which makes the program possible.  

The application deadline for the Spring 2024 awards is March 15. For additional information, send an e-mail to wolf@futureheights.org, or visit www.futureheights.org/programs/community-building-programs/minigrants/.

Sarah Wolf

Sarah Wolf is the community-building programs manager at FutureHeights.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 5:44 PM, 11.25.2023