At a time when we are increasingly told to stay at least 6-feet apart, a full-tilt effort is getting underway in Michigan offering micro-grants for those who are working to connect people like never before.
The Michigan Municipal League Foundation has launched a new micro-grant program designed to support positive individual action, by citizens, in their local community. The Bridge Builders micro-grant program offers six (6) micro-grants of up to $500 each.
The award is designed for individuals, specifically emerging leaders, who are doing innovative work that intentionally and creatively brings people together, while socially distant, and repairs broken relationships in the community.
Helen D. Johnson, MML Foundation president, says, “Our communities are experiencing profound impacts from current events and we want emerging leaders to know that their individual actions play an important role in shaping the future. The MML Foundation has launched this grant initiative to recognize and support a diverse group of individuals who are creatively driving positive change in their community.”
The MML Foundation recognizes that action at the level of local community is central to the social, cultural, and economic recovery from the pandemic. Every municipality needs engaged and active citizens. A strong civic base is key to ensuring good governance and creating an equitable and vibrant place.
Individuals and groups of people planning to complete projects in Michigan Municipal League member communities are eligible to apply. League member communities include nearly every city and village, as well as multiple urban townships in Michigan. Traditional 501c(3) organizations, businesses, and units of government are not eligible to receive funding.
The grant application window starts today, August 3rd and ends August 14th. Semifinalists will be notified by August 20th and public, online voting on semifinalists will run from August 24th to September 4th. A selection panel will choose the final recipients based on overall project feasibility, community need and impact, creativity, number of votes, diversity of applicants including demographics and geographic location in Michigan. Preference will be given to projects that intentionally foster constructive community conversations around racial equity and inclusion. Vote totals, combined with other factors, will determine the final recipients of the micro-grants.
The Bridge Builders micro-grants are intended to fund place-based projects that intentionally bring people together and seek to mend broken relationships in the community. Since the start of the pandemic, Michigan residents have organized socially-distanced neighborhood gatherings, created collaborative community murals, and worked to actively spread hope and bring neighbors together for difficult but necessary conversations around racial equity and inclusion.
Danielle Beard, Associate Program Officer for the MML Foundation, says, “We are looking forward to seeing the creativity that people bring forth to their applications. It’s our hope that this grant opportunity can not only spark new project ideas but also give a boost to existing community-building efforts.”
The MML tells us that project ideas could include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Events that promote an active and engaged civic life…
- Micro-placemaking activities that elevate cultural traditions using art and creative expression
- Hosting a neighborhood book-read and discussions about issues of equity and inclusion in the community…
- Events, placemaking activities, or other activities that reinforce our shared humanity and celebrate your community…
- Initiation of community gardens/markets that address issues of neighborhood food security…
Any in-person events should take proper social distancing measures including the use of face masks.
Visit the link below to learn more and submit applications: