We work with lots of community groups and organizations that want to do projects. Small projects — maybe a community celebration, public art project, engagement event, or building a parklet.
Many of these projects need less than $5,000 (or even $500!), but that funding is critical to helping projects get off the ground. So where do you find funding for those small projects with big impact?
Here is a list of the top places you can look, plus a special list of specific funding programs for our Vermont communities.
If you’re lucky enough to have a community foundation in your state or region, that’s the place to start. If they don’t have small grant programs of their own, they can likely advise you on sources and point you in the right direction.
Local banks are often very generous with their funding. Many have foundations, and most have smaller, flexible giving programs on a rolling deadline. Managers can sometimes make a donation of a $100 or so on the spot, or ask about bigger programs and opportunities.
Look around your community for the businesses that operate in your area of interest, that contribute to local projects or causes, or that are known for being good neighbors. Ask whether they have grant programs or make contributions. Planning a community energy project? Try a solar company. Looking to build a park? Google landscapers.
If you’re really at a loss, look around for similar events in the community. Check out posters, programs or websites and see who sponsored them.
PND is one of the best national grant aggregators, with hundreds of listings of grants. Most are larger, and most will not be relevant, but if you scan it often you’ll sometimes find smaller grants in your area of interest. This could be a great place to find a few thousand dollars to build a community garden or start a reading program. Search online or sign up for a digest of grant announcements.
Small Grants for Vermont Projects
Vermont Community Foundation’s SPARK grants
New England Grassroots Environment Fund
Ben & Jerry’s Community Action Team grants
Vermont Natural Resources Council