From addressing large-scale social justice issues to helping individuals grow their own food, organizations can bring people together to build more connected, resilient communities in many ways. In September 2018, two Neighborhood Mini-Grants totaling $600 were awarded to Civic Ensemble and the Floral Avenue Community Garden.

Civic Ensemble, an Ithaca-based theatre company devoted to exploring and addressing social, cultural, and political issues, has long used public story circles to develop its plays and programs while strengthening local communities. But its new story circle series Community Soup: Storytelling Toward the Beloved Community focuses on connecting people of all demographics, giving space for all voices and empowering the public to collaborate on working against discrimination and economic inequality. A Neighborhood Mini-Grant will support the first two of these monthly gatherings.

The Floral Avenue Community Garden on Ithaca’s West Hill will host a Community Perennial Planting Workshop in October 2018, where participants will receive education in cultivation and use of food-producing perennial plants, assist in planting the garden with them, and take home seeds and plantings, using a wide variety of herbs, bushes, and trees. A Neighborhood Mini-Grant will pay for the plants, fencing, and event promotion.

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by the Park Foundation, Beck Equipment, Craig Riecke, Natural Investments, Fingerlakes Wealth Management, and local donors. We need your support so we can help more citizen leaders act on their values. Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.