Do you love your neighborhood? Of course you do. That’s why, for the second year in a row, Mayor Byron W. Brown and the Division of Citizen Services are offering Buffalo Love Your Block beautification grants for community organizations, including block clubs.
A study conducted by Urban Institute found that “The connection that Love Your Block forges between city leaders and citizens at the neighborhood level can be one of the most important catalysts for collective action by neighborhood residents. This connection between city officials and citizens boosts the social capital exercised by citizens who plan and implement Love Your Block projects and strengthen social cohesion.”
In September 2018, Cities of Service equipped the City of Buffalo with two AmeriCorps VISTAs and a budget of $25,000 over two years to develop volunteer-led neighborhood revitalization projects that address blight.
Grants up to $1,500 are available for community organizations that are interested in beautifying their neighborhoods, while combatting blight. Funding ranges from from $750 to $1,500. In 2020, small and local businesses are eligible to apply, although the City encourages business owners to team up with lock clubs or nonprofit based organizations to capitalize on teamwork.
“As we continue to build a diverse, equitable and inclusive city of opportunity, I continue to support programs that leverage community engagement and volunteerism to further improve and beautify our diverse neighborhoods. Through the 2020 Love Your Block program, we have an opportunity to continue to connect residents to government to further enhance public spaces and boost levels of civic engagement,” said Mayor Brown. “I encourage interested residents to apply for these grants.”
Preference will be given to projects within the established target neighborhoods: Kensington-Bailey, Broadway-Fillmore, Upper West Side, Masten Park, and Riverside, according to The City of Buffalo.
Examples of these projects include:
- Turning a vacant lot into a community garden
- Covering up an unsightly building with a mural
- Installing yard lights throughout a neighborhood
- Beautifying vacant lots
- Erasing graffiti tags
- Combatting illegal dumping
During the first year of the funding initiative, over 20 projects were implemented. In year two, five grant workshops will be held over the following three weeks (see schedule below). Applications are due on April 20, with projects targeted to be completed in summer 2020.
Five grant-writing workshops will be held to offer the mini-grant applicants assistance with filling out applications.
Dates and locations of grant-writing workshops in each target neighborhood:
Frank E. Merriweather Library
1324 Jefferson Ave. @ 6pm-7:30pm
Buffalo State Community Academic Center
214 Grant St. @ 6pm-7:30pm
780 Fillmore Ave. @ 5:30pm-7pm
Kensington-Bailey National Housing Services
995 Kensington Ave. @ 5:30pm-7pm
Elaine M. Panty (formerly Riverside Branch) Library
820 Tonawanda St. @ 5:30pm-7pm
For more information regarding Year Two of Buffalo’s Love Your Block program and the mini-grant application, please visit buffaloveyourblock.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (716) 851-5515.