Neighborhood Connections is the community-building program of the Cleveland Foundation established in 2003 to empower people in Cleveland’s neighborhoods and encourage them to become more engaged with each other and the city around them. We invest in citizen-led neighborhood projects through our innovative small grants program that offers residents of Cleveland and East Cleveland grants of up to $5,000. Through October 2014, Neighborhood Connections has funded 2,063 projects totaling more than $7 million.
Those grants and the projects they fund are not the ending point, though. Instead, they are a beginning – a point of engagement. The grants invite “everyday people” – individuals and groups – to become genuine community leaders.
Neighbor Up, the powerful network of mentors, peers and civic leaders launched by Neighborhood Connections in 2012, offers grantees the means to challenge their own assumptions about themselves, their neighborhoods and their neighbors, and to grow in confidence.
The goal: That grants buy not just events and projects, but a richer citizenry – role models who can lead their neighbors and neighborhoods – and ultimately their city – to an urban renaissance of community, block by block.