NEIGHBORHOOD PRIDE GRANT FAQ
1. What are Neighborhood Pride Grants?
Pride Grants are grants that assist neighbors in implementing projects that improve streetscapes, parks or add cohesion to a neighborhood.
2. Are we guaranteed funding if we apply?
No. Applications are competitive (see #7 and #8 below). Awards are based on availability of funds, neighborhood involvement, quality and scope of project, and location in Target Zones. Also, if a Pride Grant is funded, it maybe funded for less than the amount requested.
3. How are Neighborhood Pride Grants Different than Renaissance Block Challenge Grants?
Renaissance Block Challenge Grants are a separate program that provide matching funds for homeowners to improve the exterior of their own properties in almost any way they see fit. Each participant "does their own thing" with their own homes. In contrast, Neighborhood Pride Grants are more flexible. Neighbors can do their individual projects if they like. But we also prioritize proposals when neighbors must work together for a common purpose - usually improving a local park, playground, vacant lot or streetscape. Projects can also involve improvements to private homes. If so, It is preferred (but not required), that projects be coordinated in some way, adding cohesiveness to the neighborhood. For instance, every house participating does a new landscaping project, or all participating houses install landscape lighting, or every house does a porch improvement. Whatever the project, stronger proposals include a common theme or goal across all participants. This is not a requirement, however, and we do fund collections of individual projects that are unrelated as well. Coordinated projects only have an advantage in that they are more competitive as proposals, and help increase the likelihood of funding, if we have more Pride Grants than we have funding for.
4. Is it true that physical projects must be visible from the street?
Yes. All Pride Grants that involve physical improvements must be exterior (outside) projects and plainly visible. No interior or out-of-public-view projects are eligible.
5. Can we apply for a Pride Grant even if we've been awarded other ORA grants?
6. I'm confused about whether my group is supposed to pay for some of the project or not.
It depends. If the project is on city-owned property (park, playground, public space), and approved by the City of Oswego, then no funds from the applicants are required (although funds from the applicants will make the application more competitive). If the application involves improving property that is generally considered "private property" (generally homes and somehwere between the house and the front sidewalk), and the entire cost for the street is less than $300, no funds from applicants are required. If the cost exceeds $300, and the improvements are to private properties, then a minimum of a 1:1 dollar match from property owners are required for every dollar above $300.
7. How can I make our Pride Grant application for a public space improvement competitive?
First, consider 1st successfully completing a Renaissance Block Challenge Grant this year, or next. Although this is not necessary for funding, having shown a history of neighborhood organization, investment and follow-through can be a competitive advantage. Second, and very importantly, arrange a meeting with an ORA representative and your entire group to discuss your application if the request is > $1000. The more collaboration among neighbors that is evidenced, the more time and effort neighbors will invest, the more competitive the application. Third, even if matching funds are not required, volunteering to provide matching funds, or some degree of funds, significantly increases the competitiveness of your proposal. Finally, you will need to work with the ORA and get permission from the City of Oswego to improve public space. A competitive application will a) have obtained sufficient participation from neighbors for the project to work, b) have a well laid out and realistic plan, c) have discussed the project with the City with plans to succesfully obtain approval.
8. How can I make our Pride Grant application for a Private Property (i.e.; homes) more competitive?
First, consider 1st successfully completing a Renaissance Block Challenge Grant this year, or next. Although this is not necessary for funding, having shown a history of neighborhood organization, investment and follow-through can be a competitive advantage. Second, clustering of houses (i.e. on the same street or nearby) provides a competitive advange over projects that are scattered. Third, and very importantly, arrange a meeting with an ORA representative and your entire group to discuss your application if the request is > $1000. Fourth, although dollar-for-dollar (1:1) matching funds ARE required for improvements to private properties, volunteering to provide a higher ratio of matching funds (i.e.; 2:1.....$2 property owner contribution for every 1$ grant requested) significantly increases the competitiveness of your proposal.
9. Can Pride Grants be done for seasonal decorations (Halloween, Christmas, etc)?
Yes. We also will prioritize grants where there is some thematic consistency for participating households. Purchasing bulk LED candles for every window for every participating house. Bulk purchasing of pumpkins for each house. Wreaths for every door.
10. Does the Pride Grant have to be started this Year (2016)?
11. Can Pride Grants be done for events/parties/neighborhood activities?
Yes, yes and yes. Block Parties. Historic House Tours. Small local Park Concerts.
12. Does the ORA provide funds up front, or do we pay and then receive reimbursments?
If the grants are on public space then the ORA may be able to pay for materials up front. If on private space, then the neighbors pay the costs and are reimbursed following submission of valid receipts. The ORA cannot reimburse sales tax.