The Neighbourhoods Smalls Grants (NSG) program offers opportunities for neighbours connecting with their neighbours, strengthening community, and supporting overall city safety and vibrancy. There is great power in people coming together and this micro grant program is all about empowering our citizens to do just that!
The NSG program is offered through a partnership between the Vancouver Foundation, the City of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford Community Foundation(ACF). We, the ACF, and the Vancouver Foundation put up the money and the City makes it happen through a residents’ adjudication committee. Every year, the City collates dozens of applications and leaves it to our community to make decisions about where the money goes. This is truly trust-based philanthropy in action – communities deciding for themselves where monies go for the most meaningful impact.
This is a micro grant program that focuses on the following 6 principles of grassroots grantmaking:
Everyone has gifts | Small is beautiful | Local decisions are best | Where we live matters | We learn together | Everyone is invited
We were blown away by the creativity, diversity, and effort that so many community members brought forward with their ideas to bring their neighbourhoods together. The 25 projects approved this year include block parties, street fairs, BBQs, active living initiatives, neighbourhood socials, residents sharing their skills, talents, and arts with others, and so much more!
If you live in one of the neighbourhoods doing something cool, we’d encourage you to see what’s going on and getting involved – even if it’s just to show up to eat! These types of celebrations, get togethers, and opportunities create more connected, resilient and safe communities. When you know who your neighbours are, you’re more likely to look out for them…and they for you. While the world around us becomes increasingly busy, we don’t always get the chance to meet our neighbours one on one.
These are the ways in which we meet, connect, chat, and find what we have in common. Children play together, there’s always an adult to keep an eye out, seniors become less isolated, there’s no worries about figuring how to get somewhere because the event is just outside your door. It’s also a way for us to share our skills, talents, and hobbies with others. You don’t always have to sign up for a formal class when you have a neighbour who’s willing to share their wisdom. It’s also a great way for families to volunteer together or youth to get those crucial community service hours.
If you’re curious about the NSG program, there’s lots of ways to get involved. Applications open each spring for about 6-8 weeks and both the City and ACF put out the information on our social media. Everything is online so if that’s a barrier for you, check out your local library because they have wifi and computers for you to use. A little intimidated by the process of filling in a grant application? We promise that this application is user-friendly. It is in English so if you’re not proficient in writing in this language, seek out some help from a friend, family member, or…a neighbour! We work diligently to make the program as accessible as possible so if you think we’ve missed something that is a barrier, let us know. As long as you fulfill all the eligibility requirements, we encourage Abbotsford residents to apply. You might have a winning idea to bring community together!
If you’re looking to be a part of the community adjudication team, the City puts out a call for residents who want to get involved at about the same time the call for applications goes out. There is a vetting process along with an orientation. It’s a great way to see all the things happening in your community and the best part is, you get to give money to worthy projects with local impact!
While the application process is now closed for 2023, you can learn more here. And don’t forget to get involved in the great initiatives we’re funding this year – possibly, right in your own neighbourhood.