Use of small grants in Boston during the early years of Making Connections helped to clarify the elements of a complex community change initiatve by putting residents in charge of the funds. Residents built capacity by deciding how to use resident-selected short-term, small dollar projects ($2,000 to $5,000) to authentically engage neighborhoods in – and build local leadership for – longer-term community change efforts.   

February 1, 2006

In This Report, You’ll Learn

  1. 1

    How the small grant-making process itself builds resident leadership skills.

  2. 2

    Using small grant funds to get beyond the “usual suspects” and directly engage a diverse group of residents in changing their own community.

  3. 3

    How small grant funds can help seed a “culture of belief” in communities that have seen a lot of change initiatives come and go.

  4. 4

    Lessons learned from resident-directed small grant programs in Boston and Denver.

Key Takeaway

Community benefit and vision were important

Residents used small grants to promote the greater good by funding projects that benefitted the neighborhood as a whole and that were aligned to a broad vision for community change. Residents applied directly to recieve the grants

Findings & Stats

Statements & Quotations