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Vibrant Neighborhoods Grant
How would a City-funded project help foster, enhance, and renew the characteristics that make your neighborhood and the City of Fort Collins a great place to live and work?
The Vibrant Neighborhoods Grant (VNG) is a progressive and innovative program which offers funds in support of neighborhood projects that are co-created by the residents and local stakeholders through a collaborative process.
To participate, you and your neighbors must work together! Keep reading this page to find out more information and give our office a call if you have any questions.
What types of projects are eligible?
Projects which demonstrate that they benefit the neighborhood as a whole. Eligible projects must be implemented within the limits of the City of Fort Collins. Here are a few ideas to help your neighborhood start brainstorming a great project:
- Community Events
- Public Art or Murals
- Night Sky Lighting Projects
- Educational Events
- Seating Areas
- "Do-it-Yourself" Library
- Improvements to existing paths
- Establishing a Community Compost
This is NOT an exhaustive list of potential projects! Think about what might benefit your neighborhood.
How much funding is available for a project?
Neighborhoods may receive up to $25,000 in funding to implement a project. Neighborhoods are welcome to seek additional funding from other sources or to provide additional funding on their own to help support the cost of their project.
Is a project idea appropriate for funding?
Grant funds should be used to improve upon or align with existing objectives, projects, or plans developed or implemented by the City of Fort Collins. Consider reviewing these resources as a starting point:
Make your application stand out!
This is a competitive process - funding is not guaranteed. It is essential to demonstrate how your project or neighborhood reflects the Preferred Project Attributes. You may select up to two preferred project attributes to discuss in your Letter of Intent.
How can you participate?
- Step 1: Collaborate and brainstorm with your neighbors and other stakeholders
All applicants must utilize the free Meeting in a Box kit offered by the VNG program. The kit includes supplies for brainstorming and planning, including a facilitator who will assist participants in discussing ideas and building consensus.
The Meeting in a Box can be supplemented with a micro-grant to provide funds to pay for the cost of food and/or meeting space in amounts of up to $150. A short application must be completed to utilize the Meeting in a Box and the micro-grant.
Neighborhood organizers are responsible for choosing a time and location for their Meeting in a Box, and for publicizing the meeting and ensuring that other neighbors attend. Make sure to pick a date and time that works well for your neighbors! A successful meeting is one which has many attendees from throughout the neighborhood. A meeting primarily composed of an HOA board, an existing social club, or on behalf of a business interest may not be sufficient.
Meetings may be hosted in local restaurants or cafes, public meeting spaces, backyards, or anywhere that is accessible and welcoming for neighbors and local stakeholders to participate and deliberate. Stakeholders may include residents, property owners, business owners, employees, HOAs, neighborhood associations, community organizations, non-profits, or other persons or organizations which are able to demonstrate an existing connection to the geographic area.
Applicants must use the Collaborative Brainstorming Session Participant List to demonstrate their process. Include completed Participant List(s) as an attachment when your neighborhood submits its Letter of Intent. The Participant List helps demonstrate that a group of neighborhood stakeholders was engaged in developing project ideas. You should consider all the ideas that neighborhood stakeholders propose.
During your meeting you should identify project managers who can work together to ensure everyone in the neighborhood is engaged and welcomed to participate.
We recommend that you and your neighbors do not delay starting this process. You MUST apply for a meeting in a box several weeks before your actual meeting. Please review the application form for more details.
- Step 2: Submit a Letter of Intent
Once your brainstorming process has been completed your neighborhood should submit a Letter of Intent. The purpose of the Letter is to concisely state the project idea that your neighborhood wishes to implement. The Letter of Intent requires details such as:
- Specific Project Concept
- Explanation of potential project benefits
- Specific project location
- Explanation of how project aligns with Preferred Project Attributes and City objectives, goals and plans
Your neighborhood may submit up to two project ideas for consideration one primary idea and one secondary idea. Note that priority consideration will be given to your primary idea, and your secondary idea will be considered only in circumstances where the committee is not able to identify sufficient good ideas when reviewing the cumulative pool of primary ideas.
A committee of subject-matter experts from various City departments will competitively review Letters of Intent and select which neighborhood projects will be further considered for funding. Each of the selected neighborhoods will receive up to $2,500 to hire a professional who can help the neighborhood develop a thorough and feasible plan.
- Step 3: Refine your idea and begin preparing your application
If your neighborhood proposal is selected to continue in the process, your neighborhood will be awarded a planning grant so that you can hire an engineer, architect, planner, or other professional who can help you and your neighbors develop a thorough and feasible plan. You will have several months to develop and refine this plan in conjunction with your neighbors. Your plan will then be reviewed by the VNG selection committee to determine if it will receive final funding for implementation.
If your neighborhood Letter of Intent is not selected for planning funds in 2018, your neighborhood will not be eligible to continue competing for implementation funds. We thank you and your neighbors for your hard work, and we hope that you have enjoyed getting to know each other better! We encourage you to participate in future years!
- Step 4: Demonstrate support from neighbors and stakeholders
As you and your neighbors develop your final plan it will be essential that you include your neighbors and other stakeholders and demonstrate that they support the proposed project.
Please contact our office for information and forms related to this process.
(970) 416 - 4358 or bnNwcm9ncmFtc0BmY2dvdi5jb20=
- Step 5: Submit your application
Your neighborhood will be responsible for crafting and submitting a final application to the Vibrant Neighborhoods Grant Evaluation Committee. This committee will evaluate grant applications and consider projects for funding using the evaluation criteria.
If your application is selected, the City will work with you and your neighborhood to quickly and efficiently implement your project.
If your project is not selected, please do not be dismayed. We are ecstatic that you and your neighbors have collaborated to improve the vision and future of your neighborhood. You and your neighbors can further refine your ideas and application for resubmittal next year!
Please contact our office for information and forms related to the application process.
(970) 416 - 4358 or bnNwcm9ncmFtc0BmY2dvdi5jb20=
If you have any questions about this program please contact:
Julie Wenzel, Program Assistant
Please note that information regarding the Vibrant Neighborhoods Grant is subject to change.