By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
A regional grant program will award up to $5,000 per community project that brings people together, offers new leadership opportunities and showcases neighborhood-level solutions that improve quality of life.
March 10 is the deadline to apply for The Great Neighborhood Challenge, facilitated through The San Diego Foundation and Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement.
Officials said 10 to 20 community awards of $1,000 to $5,000 will be awarded in July. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2015. There will be a special focus on low-income and under-organized communities, the latter defined as “those without an equitable number of organizations supporting quality of life issues in their neighborhoods and/or communities where individuals are not in a structured order to address a specific goal.”
Applicants must have 501(c)3 tax exemption status or have a fiscal sponsor with that designation. Projects must provide benefits at the neighborhood level. Some examples include residents establishing a toddler park in their neighborhood and residents forming a neighborhood group that hosts community clean-ups and events to promote a safe, attractive and crime-free environment, officials said.
Those not eligible include groups with an annual operating budget of $50,000 or more — they are welcome to volunteer as fiscal sponsors; projects not located in under-organized communities; for-profit businesses or public institutions, such as schools; and groups with fewer than three leaders, leaders who are related or do not live in the neighborhood served.
Upcoming grant meetings include one at 8 to 9:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 24 in East Valley Community Center, 2245 E. Valley Parkway in Escondido. On Thursday, Feb. 13 there will be an arts workshop from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and an environmental workshop from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in The San Diego Foundation headquarters at Liberty Station, 2508 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 200 in Point Loma.
From 5 to 6 p.m. each Thursday there are online community hours via Google Chat. To participate, search for username “GreatNeighborhoodChallengeSD@gmail.com.”
For complete guidelines and application, go to
and under the “San Diego Center for Civic Engagement” tab click on “The Great Neighborhood Challenge.”
For questions, contact Vi Nguyen at