Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program information available through free workshops

County staff to assist interested persons in learning how to win funds to improve their residential communities

New signage and trees for Siesta Isles on Siesta Key were made possible by the program. File photo

Sarasota County residents are being invited to learn about the county’s Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program and how it can help them improve their communities, with free workshops offered May 31 through June 19.

Twice each year, area neighborhoods may submit proposals to Sarasota County to fund the changes they wish to see in their through the Neighborhood Initiative Grant Program, a news release explains. The competitive program has provided matching funds, currently up to $10,000 per neighborhood, since 2002, the release points out.

The program requires neighborhoods to contribute at least 50% of project expenses. While some match funds through cash and donations, the release notes, others opt for garnering credit of $15 per hour through volunteer labor.

Projects may be proposed within one of five themes, the release points out:

  • Character: the creation or enhancement of assets that are a source of pride and neighborhood identity.
  • Leadership: training neighborhood leaders or teams — and developing skills — for neighborhood governance or action.
  • Safety: equipping the neighborhood with knowledge or tools to prevent, prepare for, confront or respond to incidences of crime, danger or disaster.
  • Environment: protecting water, energy resources and native habitats.
  • Health: increasing access to nutritious diets and physical or mental fitness.
Gulf Gate Manor updated its entryway signage, too. Before-and-after photos courtesy Sarasota County

With the next round of Neighborhood Initiative Grant workshops offered May 31 through June 19, applications are anticipated to be presented to the County Commission in November, the release adds. Registration for workshops is required.

In addition, the Sarasota County Neighborhood Services Department will host a grant “SHARE-shop” from 4-5 p.m. on May 30 at the Gulf Gate Library, the release says. The SHARE-shop will provide a firsthand perspective of the grant program, featuring a panel composed of a grant recipient, a grant advisory committee member, a staff reviewer and the grant coordinator, the release notes. This month’s SHARE-shop will feature a project from Pine Run Association, which focused on the removal of invasive plant species from natural habitat, the release adds.

Workshop dates and registration, along with additional information, are available by calling the county Contact Center at 861-5000, or by visiting www.scgov.net.

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