2018 Program Report

Every year, we bring on a summer intern to help us evaluate the Neighbourhood Small Grants program. Geneva Lloyd supported us on the 2018 program evaluation. This is her reflection on her experience.

To read the 2018 Neighbourhood Small Grants program evaluation, click here.

By Geneva Lloyd

Reading countless stories of neighbours gathering, laughing and working together, it’s clear that Neighbourhood Small Grants (NSG) is much more than just an opportunity to throw a party. Rather, it’s a process that reveals the capacity of individuals and communities to make a difference. The impacts of these small grants reach far beyond any single event. Together, they contribute to a greater movement that influences and improves the places we live in.

In the months I worked with Vancouver Foundation preparing the 2018 Neighbourhood Small Grants program evaluation report, I explored theories and practices to help Neighbourhood Small Grants fulfill its vision as a grassroots grantmaking movement.

At the core of this movement is the people that make up Neighbourhood Small Grants. That includes project leaders, committee members, and program coordinators. By investing in them, Vancouver Foundation can create an environment that promotes social sustainability.

Beyond the skills, knowledge, and sense of community cultivated through Neighbourhood Small Grants, the most compelling learning has been at a personal level. What also happens is that neighbors shift the way they understand themselves and their neighbours.

Neighbourhood Small Grants bring together people whose lives have been historically divided. As a result, it can increase our understanding of different perspectives and lived experiences. It has been an absolute pleasure and inspiration seeing neighbourhoods transform into support networks and individuals grow into local leaders.

As for my learning, I gained insight into the incredible work being done on the ground. I also got a glimpse into the institutional operations that financially support this work. I admire the flexibility and trust that Vancouver Foundation affords Neighbourhood Small Grants. It’s an approach too often lacking in the granting world.

Locals really do know best. By investing in the development of local leaders, Vancouver Foundation will continue to support communities thrive today and tomorrow.

Below are a few key recommendations for Neighbourhood Small Grants members.

Recommendations for Project Leaders

  • Connect with local networks and organizations to attract volunteers and participants.
  • Use a variety of outreach methods, such as social media, word of mouth, and posters.
  • Tap into local resources by seeking donations from local businesses. Exploring existing resource-sharing opportunities.
  • Incorporate self-reflection into your project planning. Think about your experience and those who are participating. Think about what you can do to make sure everyone will feel welcomed and safe in the space you create.

Read the program evaluation summary for project leaders here.

Recommendations for Community Coordinators

  • Connect with local networks and organizations to broaden outreach and attract project leaders and committee members.
  • Support project leaders through the application and implementation with tools like an inventory of local resource-sharing platforms.
  • Incorporate self-reflection into your practice. Encourage project leaders and committee members to do the same.

Read the program evaluation summary for community coordinators here.

Recommendations for Neighbourhood Granting Committees

  • Connect with local networks and organizations to broaden outreach and attract project leaders and fellow committee members.
  • Set aside time to reflect on your experience and those of your fellow committee members. Think about whether the Neighbourhood Granting Committee (NGC) reflects the neighbourhood it serves. Are there people missing from the NGC? If so, what might be some reasons they don’t participate?

Read the 2018 evaluation summary for Neighbourhood Granting Committees here.

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Neighbourhood Small Grants

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