April 14, 2017

2017 Collaborative Action Grants: The Recipe for Success

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2017 Collaborative Action Grants from Enterprise Community Partners

Collaborative Action grants provide organizations with $5,000 to build community agency; engage local voices; and connect to long-term community goals.

Collaborative Actions, as their name indicates, include community collaboration at their core. Examples include creative placemaking, mapping and community events. The scale of this grant is such that the Collaborative Actions can not only cultivate incentive to move an idea into reality, but also allow experimentation and imperfection.

In the coming weeks, we will share some past Collaborative Action grantees’ stories and pictures. To whet your appetite in the meantime, here are five ingredients of successful grantee projects:

Five Ingredients of Successful Collaborative Actions

  1. Fast action. Collaborative Action grants are $5,000 – enough to do something you might not otherwise get around to, but not enough to overthink it. With a six-month timeframe from start to finish, Collaborative Action grantees are quickly notified and can begin working immediately. This can bring life back to a project that has stagnated; get the ball rolling on something you’ve been dreaming about; or enable you to respond to an immediate community need.
  2. Learning on the go. This is a great chance to try something low-stakes and learn from the process. “I wasn’t sure if we would regularly invest in doing this kind of community event, but it really changed the tone of our interaction with local neighbors. Now we’re figuring out how to make it a regular part of our pre-development process.” (A Community of Friends)
  3. Meeting a need. Collaborative Actions often plug into a larger project or begin to address an unmet need that residents have identified. “There are no community public or recreation spaces in Oasis. To address a long-standing desire for more community spaces, this Collaborative Action was the first step in designing a new 14-acre public space and accompanying community-driven programs for local residents.” (Kounkuey Design Initiative)
  4. Getting kids on-board. Youth are often overlooked in community engagement but are usually ready to get involved. During A Community of Friends’ Saturday at the Square event, they found that the adults were a little shy, but youth shared ideas and brought the space to life with their movement and energy.
  5. Bringing the food! Food has often been at the core of Collaborative Actions. In 2016 Bronzeville SOUP in Chicago and Envision da Berry’s potlucks in New Iberia, Louisiana, made food a key component of the shared community experiences.

For more examples, check out Made With Love, our “cookbook” filled with recipes for community change.

2017 Collaborative Action Grants

We are offering two rounds of Collaborative Action grants in 2017. The first-round deadline is Friday, April 21, so apply nowApplicants should be prepared to complete the Collaborative Action within six months of grant notification. Please see the RFP, online application form, and FAQs for more information.

  • Apply by April 21 for projects taking place May through October 2017
  • Apply by June 9 for projects taking place through December 2017. Applications open May 10.

Don’t forget about our Collaborative Action FAQs based on questions from prospective grantees.

P.S. To share lessons from your community, create a free How-To Guide, and post it to our online library!

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