Jason Miczek for the Casey Foundation
The Casey Foundation’s Community Investment Fund (CIF) is offering residents in several Southwest Atlanta communities a shot at receiving small grants that offer a big opportunity for lasting community change.
With awards between $500 and $5,000 each, the program works by building on existing neighborhood strengths while spurring innovation. The fund is open to grassroots organizations and residents seeking to build improvement projects in Adair Park, Capitol Gateway, Mechanicsville, Peoplestown, Pittsburgh and Summerhill, known collectively as NPU-V.
Now in its fourth year, the Community Investment Fund has helped grow local leaders. A board comprised of existing NPU-V residents decide which projects are funded, enabling people vested in the community to grow its capacity to thrive. In exchange for their time and effort, CIF board members receive training and other development opportunities to strengthen management, networking and leadership skills.
“You know, 2017 was the year we discovered that our wings work,” said Brandi Hicks, executive director of Rae of Light Foundation, Inc., reflecting on her project’s College Clinic for middle and high school students in NPU-V.
Grantees have developed projects that give residents resources and also, a voice. Rich Laupus produced a documentary project on the historic Summerhill neighborhood called, “There’s Something About Summerhill,” with 100 hours of videos and more than 3,000 photos. His goal: “to take stories that are in the shadows and bring them into the light.”
In documenting the past, Laupus projected a promising future.
“Young people are moving into Summerhill now and there’s a divide,” he said. “The old folks don’t know the new folks, and vice versa. But when we listen to each other’s stories, we open a window to each other. We all want to be heard. And besides, how can we sculpt a future if we pave over the past?”
The application for the 2018 Community Investment Fund is available now and will be accepted through March 19. Projects will receive additional consideration if they support the following priorities of the 2018 CIF Board:
- involve more than one community;
- include community remembrance;
- address equity and/or equality (through convening/discussion);
- include a policy and advocacy component (affordable housing, mental health, city budget & social justice);
- include human services (mental health, addiction, homelessness, access to services etc.); and
- support education and engagement for children and youth.
The deadline for 2018 submissions is 5 p.m. on Monday, March 19. If you have questions, please contact Paola Ayala.
Download the application