Nonprofits, neighbor groups, businesses must apply by March 21 for CRA grants

From the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, Jan. 26, 2017: Up to $125,000 will be distributed via the 2017 Forward Fund, a micro-grant program intended to support specific physical improvement projects that benefit all residents, workers and visitors. The deadline to apply is March 21.

The fund began two years ago, when it disbursed $39,600. Last year $80,000 was available, but $58,000 was disbursed.

Grant applicant projects should incorporate the theme “Connections With Cambridge” using an inclusive, collaborative and resourceful process. Applicants may apply for one of the two award types of capital grants:

bullet-gray-small Civic experimentation. Awards will be offered to applicants piloting innovative physical improvement projects that encourage, enable or execute a physical innovation, avant-garde placemaking or tactical urbanism in public and civic space, whether publicly or privately owned.

bullet-gray-small Community Infrastructure. Awards will be offered to applicants seeking to fund a physical improvement project that serves a civic facility that provides public services and facilitates community connections or meets neighborhood needs regardless of its level of innovation. This may include a building or infrastructure project for a nonprofit or a Cambridge-based independent small business with a neighborhood function that touches a significant amount of the population. Projects involving private property will need to specifically demonstrate the “publicness” and community value of the investment. If the proposal is for the grant to be part of a much larger project, it will need to demonstrate that the CRA investment is filling a critical gap in the viability of that project and show how that money will be used for a particular project element related to the Fund’s purpose, goal and theme.

Awards will range from $5,000 to $25,000. Eligibility is open to all Cambridge-based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations; community organizations with a fiscal sponsor; or independent small businesses. Applicants from neighborhood groups, human services organizations, inventors, artists, educators, entrepreneurs, civic organizations, previous awardees and more are welcomed.

For information, visit cambridgeredevelopment.org/forwardfund-2017/.

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