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Neighborhood Involvement

Building inclusive, safe and livable neighborhoods and communities.

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Neighborhood Small Grants Program 2013

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Portland’s Neighborhood Small Grants Program funds a wide variety of community projects in Portland’s seven neighborhood districts each year.

Photo of kids planting treesPortland’s Neighborhood Small Grants Program funds a wide variety of community projects in Portland’s seven neighborhood districts each year. The goal of program is to provide neighborhood and community organizations the opportunity to build community, attract new and diverse members, and sustain those already involved.

Portland’s neighborhood coalition offices will be giving out approximately $94,000 for community projects to be completed in 2013.

Grant application and selection will be administered by Portland’s seven neighborhood coalition offices during fall 2012 for projects to be completed in 2013.

You need to apply directly to the district coalition office for the area of Portland in which your project/event will take place. While the overall goals and selection criteria are consistent across the city, each of the seven neighborhood coalitions has the flexibility to include additional selection criteria and define its own selection process.


Diversity and Civic Leadership Program Video

The video looks at the first five years of the DCL Program and at the 5 partners.

group photo at City Hall DCL repsDiversity and Civic Leadership video is now finished. The video looks at the first five years of the DCL Program and at the 5 partners.

Good in the Neighborhood Festival Supported by Neighborhood Grant

Grant supported two years of the annual Good in the Neighborhood Multicultural Music and Food Festival, an event that brings together neighbors, local businesses, and community resources at King School Park with two musical stages, food and craft vendors, twenty-two community resource tables and a parade. A lasting benefit from the event is these groups forming relationships which last long after the festival and produce numerous community benefits.

Good in the Neighborhood Multicultural Festival is currently in its 20th year of operation, a music and food festival in Northeast Portland attended by over 10,000 residents along with a parade of 2,500 participants. Festival goers consider the event a, "big backyard bar-b-que because it brings neighbors together who haven’t seen each other since high school, or use the event to see people they don’t see until they come to the event," says festival chairwoman Cheryl Roberts.

However, the celebration also serves as a venue for new and emerging entrepreneurs who may not have access to other traditional marketplaces to sell their art, craft, and other maketable goods. Likewise, for many in the community it’s a resource for facilitating access to local jobs, civic opportunities, housing, and a multitude of other opportunities in the neighborhood.

Good in Neighborhood photo of girls at event

Notes Roberts, the goal is "to highlight what’s good in our neighborhoods…to provide a venue for residents, not just in the neighborhood of King, but throughout the city, who want to participate and sell their goods and to get a hold of important resources."

Festival organizers say such a resource in the community is ever more critical now due to the ecnomomic downturn over the past few years. Says Roberts, whose regular job is as Executive Director of the African American Alliance for Homeownership, "I think the challenge for me is identifying those long-term impacts in the community that we can highlight, rather than focusing solely on what the festival does for the three days."

Economic downturn has also presented challenges with identifying a lead corporate financial sponsor. Long-time sponsor Washington Mutual was a casualty of the recession. However, Roberts and other organizers have been aggressive and creative in their acquisition of sponsors, such as holding awards for longest running sponsors – Safeway and Caruso Produce. Organizers have been very savy working with their long-time fiscal sponsor Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) utilizing their neighborhood small grant to cover City permits and fees which accompany a festival of this size and scope.

Even more critical to maintaining continuity over so many years has been Robert’s success in building a thriving volunteer leadership team, The Good in the Neighborhood Planning Team. As a long-time organizer she has consciously offered leadership building exercises at meetings, has been very conscious and respectful of volunteers’ time, and organized planning meetings that are "well organized, start on time, end on time, and offer a place where they can contribute, while being appreciated for their commitment."

"Several team members," states Roberts, have become chairs and co-chairs of civic and school groups, contributing their leadership development to their experience as a Good in the Neighborhood planning team member." A key to their success in building both a great event and leadership is her willingness to "let people be creative," but also challenge them by not letting, "anyone put forth an idea if they aren’t willing to execuite it." The event has truly become a community treasure that is organized by, enjoyed by, and for the betterment of the community.