Sarasota County offering matching funds to assist neighborhoods

Next round of workshops announced for those interested in the Neighborhood Grant Program

Image from the Sarasota County Neighborhood Grant Program webpage
Image from the Sarasota County Neighborhood Grant Program webpage

Twice each year, residents of area neighborhoods submit proposals to the county to fund changes they wish to see in their communities, a county news release notes. The next round of Sarasota County Neighborhood Grant Program workshop dates has just been released and is available on the Neighborhood Services website (, keyword: Neighborhood Grant), the release adds.

The program, which was established in 2002, provides matching grants up to $10,000 per neighborhood, the release says. It requires neighborhoods to match at least 50 percent of project expenses. While some neighborhoods match funds through cash and donations, the release continues, “others opt for sweat equity — garnering credit of $15 an hour through volunteer labor.”

Although workshop attendance is mandatory for grant applicants, there is no cost to register, the release points out. Materials will be provided to participants, it notes.

Any resident-based groups in Sarasota County may apply for the grants, the release adds. The next deadline for applications is March 15, 2016.

Neighborhoods are encouraged to be creative in addressing their needs, the release continues. Projects must fall within one of five themes:

  • Character: “place-making” through 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’s residents with knowledge or tools to prevent, prepare for, confront or respond to incidences of crime, danger or disaster.
  • Environment: protecting water and energy resources, and native plants and animals
  • Health: increasing access to nutritious diets, physical or mental fitness opportunities, or health education.

(See the related story in this issue.)

Two neighborhood leaders recently were recognized with Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Volunteer Awards for their efforts through the Neighborhood Grant Program, the release adds. “Holly Bucciarelli of Mission Estates has set a new standard for using aquatic plantings to improve water quality in neighborhood stormwater ponds,” the release notes, while “Jonard Solie of Deer Hollow has been enhancing the visual appeal of the neighborhood as it is exposed to increasing numbers of visitors.”

A person with a project idea for his or her neighborhood or anyone who simply wants to learn more about the program may register for a workshop by calling 861-5000 or emailing