Applications are always available! Next round June 1.
Sustainable Tompkins Neighborhood Mini-Grants support initiatives of Tompkins County residents and small organizations with “seed money” to make their neighborhoods more sustainable. As of April, 2013, we have awarded 102 grants totaling $40,445 to local grassroots projects. Applications are accepted quarterly and the next round closes on June 1, 2013.
If you have an idea for a Mini-Grant project, email Karen@sustainabletompkins.org or call us at 607-216-1552. We’ll send along an application form and answer any questions you might have. Applications are reviewed quarterly by the Mini-Grant Council, comprised of local citizens and members of Sustainable Tompkins board and staff. Awards range from $150 to $750. For more details, and to apply, click here.
Suzanne Aigen Renews Her Sponsorship of the Neighborhood Mini-grant Program
At Sustainable Tompkins we are proud that Suzanne Aigen of Aigen Financial Group Insurance and Financial Services has agreed to continue to sponsor the Neighborhood Mini-Grants into 2013. Suzanne’s business partner, Prudential Insurance matches her generosity one to one. This money, combined with some of the grant from the Park Foundation, and individual contributions from friends like you makes it possible for Sustainable Tompkins to provide seed funding for neighborhood projects that promote community and sustainability. We welcome proposals from people in Tompkins County who seek to increase community health, sustainability and overall quality of life in Tompkins County. We thank Suzanne, Prudential, the Park Foundation and YOU for your generosity on behalf of the many community groups who have and will benefit from Neighborhood Mini-Grants.
The March 2013 round was very competitive with 13 applications totaling more than $7000. The Council had some tough decisions, and we’ll be listing those grants later this week.
Recipients of the December, September and June 2012 Mini-grants are:
- Wood’s Earth Living Classroom for infrastructure improvements.
- Rainbow Healing Dance Center for the 7th Annual Black History Month Poetry/Essay Contest.
- GIAC Conservation Corps for improvements to the community garden including the garden’s compost, expanding the raised beds and other construction.
- Paper free hand driers for Ithaca Free Clinic/Ithaca Health Alliance
- Funds to purchase and transport trees for the OURS/YOURS Green Belt Movement after school program with rural teens.
- Money for supplies and materials to build a kiosk and donation box for Dotson Park/Danby Community Park.
- To support Geared for Change–RIBs Southside Community Center’s after school program to teach teenaged girls to learn how to repair bicycles.
- Community Arts Immersion program to start a summer performing arts program for youth at the Southside Community Center.
- Femtastic! in Trumansburg to provide for up front costs to grow pumpkins and to organize their 2nd Annual Pumpkin Fest.
- Community Technical Assistance at FingerLakes Reuse for licensing fees for software in refurbished computers distributed to low income households.
- Loaves and Fishes to start up a community garden where vegetables and fruit will be grown by guests for the Loaves kitchen.
- To the Center for the Environment to help with the cost of printing/publishing the Peace Week/EarthDance program.
- SewGreen to pay a stipend to a intern working with youth in West Village.
- Family and Children’s services for the garden planted and tended to by youth participating in the DAP program.
- West Village Gone Green Community Garden to buy a new drink-safe hose and other garden supplies.
- Creating the Dreams Movement for TeamUnity Project Stewart Park planned for Spring 2013.
- Finger Lakes for New York Health’s Healthcare Visual Storytelling Project to pay for editing local stories about peoples experiences with the Healthcare system.
How we fund the Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program:
The Neighborhood Mini-grant program is funded through individual donations, sponsorships, and grants. Together, we can transform our community into a more just and sustainable one. Every gift—large or small—helps, so please take a moment to complete the Online Gift form.
Applications are reviewed quarterly by the Mini-Grant Council, comprised of local citizens and members of Sustainable Tompkins board and staff. Awards range from $150 to $750. For more details, and to apply, click here.
Some of Our Recent Sustainable Tompkins Mini-Grant Recipients
For a complete history of projects supported with neighborhood Mini-Grants download our pdf file of past Neighborhood Mini-Grant Recipients.
West Village Gone Green Neighborhood Association received a recent Mini-grant to buy a hose and other supplies for their community garden. This is their third grant. In phase one, the neighbors gathered to plan a project that would bring the community together and the decision was made to build a garden. The project serves the people of the West Village apartments in Ithaca by providing local, fresh, and organic food, building community engagement, and teaching gardening skills. Resident children have been involved with planting, weeding and harvesting as well as general neighborhood clean up.
Healing Hearts Women’s Fall Retreat conference was held on September 2011 and was a part of Earth Connection Programs. The main purpose of the retreat was to develop women self-esteem, self- acceptance, and strength. During two day gathering 24 women participants were, among many other activities, able to hear about aromatherapy, learn how to manage stress, grief, and fear, and meditate. The Mini-grant made it possible for the conference organizers to reduce the cost for all participants and also provided monies for six women to attend the event with no fee.
The Dewitt Middle School Vegetable Garden started in Fall 2009 and provides fresh, local food for School’s cafeteria as well as supplies for social studies, art projects, and biology class. The garden had been integrated into the school curriculum and provides a great tool for learning used in many different classes. The project participants include teachers, students, parents, staff, and volunteers from the Northeast neighborhood. The Garden is open to host groups of public tours from around Tompkins County, such as Cornell Youth Summit or CCE Garden Educators who visited the Garden last year. The June 2011 was used to purchase critter-friendly traps and other materials necessary to protect garden from rabbits, groundhogs, skunks, and other garden pests.
The Youth Outreach Undergraduates Reshaping Success (YOURS) grant was awarded to develop the Sustainability Education program for At-Risk Dryden Youth. The project paired Cornell undergraduates with 22 high-risk, low-income children from Dryden, NY for an after-school program to increase young people’s awareness of sustainability. The Dryden youth participated in cooking, fitness, and arts and crafts activities.
Co-creating a Sustainable Homestead
The Dacha Project is a group of six individuals working together to create a self-sustainable, educational homestead in rural Freeville, NY. They received a Mini-Grant in 2010 to transition their generator from a diesel source to a bio-fuel source. In the fall of 2009,the Dacha Project was awarded a Mini-Grant to purchase a Brumby water pump, driven by compressed air instead of electricity, and the first of its kind in Tompkins County. So far they have established a fruit and nut tree orchard, organic garden, and a straw bale cottage, and provided many educational tours to groups of students.
The Granny Squares is an initiative by a small group of senior women of Titus Towers in Ithaca. A mini-grant award in the summer of 2009 helped them procure a long arm quilting machine. The process of creating beautiful quilts together improves their quality of life through shared, purposeful activities, and strengthens their ability to rely upon each other. Auctioning the final products, which are both artistic and useful, helps their group work towards economic self-reliance.
The Sweet Outdoors
Maple Sugaring Education connects youth with nature in an urban setting. Forty-five Beverly J Martin kindergarten students and their teachers participated in the pilot program, launched with the support of a mini-grant in the winter of 2009. The program combined math and science classroom projects with outdoor activities. It was designed by Steve Gabriel of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, who would like to bring it to more classrooms, after-school programs, home-schoolers and community centers in Tompkins County. For more info, visit “Sugaring in the Schools” at Sapsquatch.
Inter-generational Pizza Baking Project
A number of the residents of the Linderman Creek low-income housing project and the senior facility came together to learn how to make pizzas, under the guidance of Pat Dutt from the West Hill Civic Association. Joining the project were a number of senior citizens who happened to be experienced bakers, and they enjoyed teaching the younger bakers what to do. Pizza ingredients included many fresh garden products (basil, tomatoes, peppers, etc) that were grown in the new West Hill Community Garden.
Outreach with Ithaca’s Burmese/Karen Community
Using a Sustainable Tompkins mini-grant, SewGreen was able to offer special daylong sewing classes to two groups of Karen teenagers. They worked through the Ithaca City School District to make connections to sponsors and eventually to the teens themselves. Because of their background, most of the teens—all girls—had never used a sewing machine. They were at first very shy and hesitant about asking questions, but as the day progressed, typical teenage exuberance burst forth. They were very proud of the projects they made, and at one point, three of the younger girls literally squealed with delight and jumped up and down.
All of us here at Sustainable Tompkins are very proud of the Neighborhood Mini-Grants program and we’re happy to sing their praises. But we think the best advocates for the Neighborhood Mini-Grants program are the recipients themselves! Click here for video of three of our Neighborhood Mini-Grants recipients speaking at last spring’s Neighborhood Mini-Grants Reception.
The stories from Neighborhood Mini-Grant recipients were deeply inspiring and hopeful. During a time of economic contraction, the Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program is making long-term investments in our local economy. We’re investing in the ability of community members to provide for one another. Through community gardens, farmers markets, swap meets, sewing workshops and mentoring programs (just to name a few!) our Mini-Grant recipients are truly building greater sustainability for all of us. Since 2008, we have supported 50+ projects with over $24,000 in funding.
Left: Neighborhood Mini-Grant Recipient, Black Locust Project, helped the Trumansburg Middle School to implement a garden and root cellar. Here, students harvest spring peas.