Community Foundation Opens Grant Opportunity to Activate and Create Public Spaces in Monroe County

(BLOOMINGTON) – The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has opened a request for grant proposals for projects that activate or create public spaces to advance a more vibrant, welcoming, and inclusive community.

Up to $20,000 in grant funds is available for one or more projects.

Funding for this initiative is made possible by a field of interest fund established by a Community Foundation donor to address community aesthetics and beautification.

Proposals are due on February 29. 

The Better Together – Creative Places Grantmaking Initiative is designed to support Monroe County’s “maker mindset.”

“Monroe County has a long history of industrious people driven to build, create, and innovate together,” said President and CEO Tina Peterson. “This grant opportunity gives us a chance to continue that tradition of creativity and produce a placemaking asset that continues to grow our local quality of place and brings people to our communities.” 

In 2019, hundreds of individuals participated in the creation of a community-informed quality of place and workforce attraction plan for Monroe County.

Through focus groups, surveys, interviews, and town hall meetings, county stakeholders learned a great deal about where we succeed and where we could be better. We also learned that the communities within our broader community are very willing to engage and that being better requires working together, said Peterson.

Monroe County’s ability to attract and retain talent is greatly increased by taking advantage of unique placemaking assets in its communities. Building upon both the spirit and findings from the community design process that resulted in the Monroe County Quality of Place and Workforce Attraction Plan, the Community Foundation is seeking proposals for creative placemaking projects that, through deliberate and thoughtful collaboration, will make us better together. 

Funding and Eligibility 

The Community Foundation has $20,000 to allocate to this initiative. Grant amounts will range between $5,000 and $20,000. Organizations must match 50% of the grant provided by the Community Foundation. 

Examples of the match requirements follow: 

Project total: $10,000 $20,000 $30,000

Grant from CF: $6,667 $13,334 $20,000

Organization Match: $3,333 $6,666 $10,000 

Local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and tax-exempt entities are eligible to apply. 

This includes nonprofits, units of government, school corporations and education institutions, and religious organizations. 

Project Proposal Goals and Examples 

Projects proposed should: 

  • Advance community aesthetics and beautification 
  • Address quality of place in one or more Monroe County communities
  • Create welcoming, inclusive space(s), accessible to all 
  • Promote a sense of ownership and pride in the community
  • Bring the community together in all phases of the project 
  • Contribute to community vibrancy 
  • Activate underused public spaces or create new ones
  • Be completed and open to the public within one year of receiving CFBMC funds 
  • Have a sustaining impact 

Some examples of the types of projects or programs that may be eligible for grant funding include, but are not limited to: 

  • Streetscape beautification and walkability 
  • Alley activations 
  • Public plaza development 
  • Innovative public space amenities that encourage people to interact
  • Community art projects 
  • Farmer’s markets 
  • Amphitheaters and band shells 
  • Bike and pedestrian pathways 

Events are not eligible projects, but expenses for convenings may be considered as part of the development process. For instance, expenses to bring community members together to participate in creating, installing, or building a place-based improvement may be considered. 

Grant Timeline 

  • February 29, 2020: Application deadline 
  • March 2020: CFBMC reviews applications & selected applicants will be invited to pitch the project in person. 
  • April 2020: Grant award(s) announced 

Full guidelines and instructions for this initiative are available online at this link.

For more information on eligibility and application procedures, contact CFBMC Program Director Marcus Whited at (812) 333-9016 or 

About Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County: 

Created by individuals, families, and businesses who share a passion for Monroe County and a vision for its future, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County has granted $30 million to more than 400 local nonprofit organizations since its incorporation in 1990. With a growing $33.5 million endowment, the Foundation makes a difference by connecting caring people, important causes, and community resources.