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Strong Neighborhood Grants make an impact. Apply now.

Do you have an idea for a project that would boost the quality of life in your neighborhood? Grant funding is available through the Strong Neighborhoods grant program to support neighborhood-based, resident-led programs and projects across the city of Lincoln.
In the past year, Civic Nebraska and the Community Builder Coalition have disbursed thousands of dollars from a $25,000 Lincoln Community Foundation fund to support and equip neighborhood stakeholders to achieve neighborhood development goals. They include:

The Little Free Pantry at West Garfield was moved from West Plum in July 2023 to be refreshed and start a new life with a new host. Immediately it was being used every day by people in need. Being near Russ’s Market and a park made it accessible to many who bike or walk. Donations were coming in occasionally from neighbors or other pantry hosts, but it would quickly empty. People seen using the resource ranged in age, and the most popular food items taken were ones that didn’t require a kitchen. Canned items, pasta, and the like were still taken but not as quickly, presumably because not everyone had the resources to prepare them. An effort was made to supply the pantry with a variety of items that reflected the need for food without the use of a kitchen, but still providing essential ingredients to those making meals for families. Hygiene supplies, spices, canned fish and chicken, cream of chicken and tomato soup, individually packed nuts, granola bars, fruit cups, beef jerky, and ramen were all popular items. The grant covered one big shopping cart of food.

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On Sept. 24, the South Salt Creek Community Organization hosted a Pollinator and Yarden Event at the Cooper Park Shelter for neighbors to learn how they can contribute to healthy pollinator cycles in their yards. Alex Svoboda from Arise Botanicals led back-to-back workshops on harvesting and preparing native plants for teas and topical medicines, as well as shared the benefits of Dandelions and Goldenrod. Jenn Duerr with Nebraska Monarchas led a session on monarch migration and native prairies, as well as when and how to plant native plants beneficial to these ecosystems. Participants enjoyed snacks and took home native plants from Midwest Natives Nursery to get into their yards before the fall planting season finished.

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A little free art gallery and library were installed at 25th and D streets near Sunken Gardens. Local artist Jave Yoshimoto was commissioned to create and design the gallery. The design is a nod to Eastern literature and architecture and books in the library are geared toward children.

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U Street Blooms
A neighborhood-wide bulb planting event focused on front yards along the U Street Corridor and Hartley Elementary School. The project aims to beautify the streets and create a living tapestry that tells a story of collaboration and shared pride. Neighbors will be invited to participate in a planting event that will culminate in a beautiful seasonal display that serves as a celebration of spring.

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Everett Free Grocery Program
EFGP received funds to further support neighbors gathering and sharing food and resources. The funding will provide supplies that enable the group to organize food pickup, distribution, and block party planning for neighbors in the Everett community.

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The Coalition reviews applications monthly and includes representation from Civic Nebraska, Collective Impact Lincoln, Lincoln Community Learning Centers, F Street Community Center, Lincoln Community Foundation, Lincoln Public Schools, Lutheran Family Services, Nebraska Appleseed, NeighborWorks Lincoln, and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.
Strong Neighborhoods grants may include neighborhood events that bring neighbors together and strengthen relationships in the community; projects that enhance the safety, beauty, or social connections within a neighborhood; and/or develop leadership skills and roles of neighborhood residents. The maximum amount available is $1,000 for each project.
Grant recipients are required to submit a brief report at the end of their project and submit receipts for purchases made with grant funds.
Grants are open to neighborhood organizations/groups or individuals within the city limits of Lincoln. They can be formal neighborhood associations, School Neighborhood Advisory Committees at Community Learning Center schools, or informal groups of neighborhood residents. It also can include neighborhoods where a member of the Community Builder Coalition is currently working.
Grants may not be used for private programs or events, including private religious celebrations; political activities; alcohol, tobacco, or gambling, which includes raffles or other games of chance; and inflatables or bounce houses.
For more information, visit the Strong Neighborhoods site or contact Nancy Petitto, Civic Nebraska’s senior director of programs, at nancy.petitto@civicnebraska.org