Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities: Partners for Places
Partners for Places is a grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents. Through these investments, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant.
Creating vibrant communities is a group effort. Place-based foundations offer unique knowledge of their communities and the ability to provide seed money for important projects. Local government offers the power to move projects through planning and development. Working together results in sustainability programs that save money, improve the environment, increase efficiency, and promote the well-being of all residents. Partners for Places aims to provide matching grants to build these valuable working relationships and projects in local communities, while increasing the visibility and importance of this work in the local philanthropic community. Partners for Places is a partnership of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN). The Funders’ Network and USDN believe that sustainability directors are natural allies for community-based foundations. By combining forces they can become powerful allies to promote more prosperous, livable, and vibrant places.
True sustainability cannot be achieved if any one sector of society bears the burden of growth and development. Through this program, Partners for Places also hopes to encourage a strong emphasis on projects that benefit and engage people of color, people with low incomes, and residents of immigrant and refugee communities in sustainability work in neighborhoods and city-wide.
The social equity dimension of sustainability seeks a fair distribution of burdens and benefits of actions among current and future stakeholders, access to resources in a way that is not reliant on position or group, and ways for all stakeholders to be included in the process of shaping the strategies and policies that are adopted.
The proposed project must either: 1) advance a key aspect of one of the plans listed below; 2) support creation of one of the plans listed below; or 3) address an area identified for performance improvement or implementation for Certified STAR Communities.
- A community-focused sustainability, climate action, adaptation/resilience, or comprehensive plan provision that specifically addresses sustainability
- Any multi-issue plan endorsed by the mayor or city manager that explicitly states and pursues the goal of integrating and/or balancing economic development, environmental quality, and equity
Amount: Grants will be awarded for one-year projects, two-year projects, and renewal projects, as follows:
- One-year project grants will be between $25,000-$75,000, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local, place-based foundations. Approximately 8-12 grants will support projects that are carried out primarily over a twelve-month period.
- Two-year project grants will be between $50,000-$150,000. These projects require a two-year match commitment up front from local funders. In addition, the committee will consider proposals for renewal support for projects funded in earlier rounds. Two-year or renewal proposals must demonstrate how the award would bring appreciable further benefits beyond a one-year award. The number of awards for two-year or renewal projects are not indicated.
Eligibility: The proposal must be submitted by a team of at least two partners who are: 1) the sustainability director of a city (municipality) or a county, and 2) the local, place-based foundation(s). A sustainability director may include a USDN core or associate member, a member of a USDN-affiliated regional network, or any person who leads a multi-department and community-wide urban sustainability initiative from within a city (municipality) or a county government in the U.S. or Canada. A local, place-based foundation may include a community foundation or a private or corporate foundation that focuses on a greater metropolitan area. The local match may not be provided by a national investor in the Partners for Places fund.
At least fifty percent of Partners for Places investments will go to projects involving members of USDN.
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