DIY Placemaking Recipe Book

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Sometimes the best things come in small packages. That’s true for community projects, where the most impactful actions can be very simple, quick, and inexpensive. We’re partnering with AARP Vermont to write a “recipe book” with how-to instructions, templates and practical tips for some of the most popular community placemaking projects, from wayfinding signs to parklets, guerrilla gardening to play streets. We’re sharing a draft of the first set of recipes now, and we would love to hear what you think! We’ll be adding another half dozen and releasing the first book in 2019.

Draft recipe book

Can’t wait for the book? You don’t have to. Here’s a PDF draft of the first six recipes, just for you.

Penny for your thoughts?

We’d love to hear what you think of the draft recipes. We’ll use your feedback to be sure we’ve got the format and content right, and then to design the next set. After you check out the draft, please use this quick form to tell us what you think.

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Small Change - Grants and Funding for Small Community Projects

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.


  1. Community Foundations

    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.

  2. Local Banks

    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.

  3. Community-Minded Businesses

    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.

  4. Similar Events

    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.

  5. Philanthropy News Digest

    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

  • Catamount Solar