FutureHeights to offer mini-grants for neighborhood improvement projects

In an effort to improve Cleveland Heights neighborhoods and create a new kind of social interaction, FutureHeights is now offering mini-grants of up to $1,000 for neighbors to get together for improvement projects.
“It’s a way to strengthen our neighborhoods,” says FutureHeights executive director Deanna Bremer Fisher. “The way we do that work is with our residents and strengthen their assets.”
The grass-roots program is loosely based on Cleveland’s Neighborhood Connections program, which offers grants of up to $5,000 for neighborhood enhancement projects and is partially responsible for the creation of popular events like Larchmere PorchFest.
Years ago, Bremer Fisher says neighborhood block clubs were prevalent in Cleveland Heights. While some of the groups still exist and thrive, such as in the Fairfax neighborhood where the block has as many as 10 events a year, many of the groups have dissolved.
“This will be an incentive to be able to do small projects – do little things from a social aspect or physical appearance,” says Bremer Fisher. “Whether it’s a project that works on some aspect of physical appearance or strengthens a social network, we’re really open to all ideas. Let’s talk about it.”
FutureHeights has $7,500 budgeted for the mini-grants. Groups must consist of at least three people in the same neighborhood, and they will be required to match 20 percent of the grant in either money or volunteer hours.
 The organization plans to offer the program again in the spring, depending on the interest. “We have no idea what kind of response we’ll get,” Bremer Fisher says. The application deadline is September 15. An informational meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, July 29 at 7pm at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Lee Road Library.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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