Neighbourhood enhancement grants
We offer two types of grants to help residents enhance their neighbourhood and neighbour connections: neighbourhood grant and youth development & engagement grant. Learn about the great neighbourhood initiatives we have supported through these grant programs by visiting our Strong Neighbourhoods success stories page.
If you’re planning a block party, neighbourhood picnic or themed gathering, please visit our Block party planning support page.
Residents often know just what is needed to enhance their neighbourhood’s quality of life. This understanding inspired us to partner with the Central Okanagan Foundation to offer matching grants of up to $1,500 to support resident-led neighbourhood enhancement ideas or projects that empower neighbours to take action locally.
In working together with other residents, these grants will provide the opportunity for neighbours to build relationships, gain a greater sense of neighbourhood pride and provide resources to address each neighbourhood's unique interests and needs.
Get creative and make your neighbourhood an even better place to live!
- Neighbourhood garden
- Boulevard beautification
- Little free library and pantry
- Nectar trail
- Interpretative nature signage
- Neighbourhood clean-up
- Buddy bench
- Wall or fence mural
- Gratitude garden
- Back alley roadway art
The overarching goal of the neighbourhood grant is to deepen and strengthen attachment to the community. In a 2014 community survey, residents of Kelowna indicated there are five key areas that enhance neighbourhood attachment and these are the core focus of the program. The following table lists these focus areas and what we’re looking for in each category. Your project doesn’t need to support all areas, but must support a minimum of one focus area.
Enhance the physical appearance, character, or natural environment in your neighbourhood
Examples: nectar trail, neighbourhood garden, mural, sidewalk art, alleyway beautification
Encourage/involve multiple neighbours to participate in planning and/or implementing the project including opportunities for neighbours to share skills with each other
Examples: teaching neighbours how to cook, starting a knitting circle
Enhance safety, especially traffic, bike and pedestrian safety (for example: creating a traffic calming sign)
Examples: AED training, emergency preparedness bench, traffic calming signs
Provide opportunities for neighbours to gather and have fun
Examples: holiday decorating along street, little free library, playbox
Create opportunities for neighbours to connect, especially neighbours that are new or haven't interacted in the past
Examples: buddy bench, neighbourhood concert
Any group of three or more residents with an idea for a project or event that will enhance their neighbourhood is eligible. Experience in organizing a project or event is not necessary; Community Development Coordinators are available to support you along the way. In order to be eligible for a Neighbourhood Grant, an applicant must:
- Live within the boundaries of Kelowna
- Live within the neighbourhood of the proposed project
- Identify a working group including a minimum of two additional neighbours from separate households
The Neighbourhood Grant is a matching grant, and has the following funding availability and requirements:
- Maximum grant amount is $1,500 per project
- $15,000 is available annually by the Central Okanagan Foundation, which will be distributed over three intake periods: $6,000 is available in March and June and $3,000 is available in November
- Matching contribution can include cash, in-kind volunteer hours valued at the current B.C. minimum wage rate, and/or donated materials and equipment
- Application budgets must accurately reflect the estimated costs of the project
- If all funds aren’t awarded during a grant cycle, applications received after the deadline that meet all other criteria will be considered on a first come, first served basis
Acceptable funding uses
- Equipment, materials and other items that will not revert back to private ownership
- Contract services from outside the neighbourhood (e.g., master gardener, journeyman carpenter or artist). These services are only fundable if there’s no individual within the neighbourhood willing or able to donate the necessary expertise
- Promotional material and translation services
- Equipment rental
- Food costs, to a maximum of $10 per person, to complement neighbourhood enhancing project. Exceptions will be considered for projects focused on skill sharing or skill building specific to food preparation and preservation.
- Retroactive expenses
- Any item that will revert to private ownership
- Travel expenses
- Trade shows or commercial/business activity
- Fundraising activities and/or donations
- Political or religious activities
- Volunteer honorariums
- Any project in contravention of City bylaws
- Block parties where funds are used exclusively for food, drink and entertainment
Start your application by completing the neighbourhood grant expression of interest form. Tell us about your project idea as soon as possible to give yourself lots of time to work on the full application.
All applicants must complete an expression of interest form. Once the expression of interest has been submitted, the Community Development Coordinator will follow up to discuss the project further and will provide the full application form, which must:
- Explain how the project addresses one or more drivers of neighbourhood attachment: aesthetics, leadership, safety, social offerings or relationships
- Describe a neighbourhood enhancement component or activity that will encourage neighbours to connect to build relationships as well as share skills, talents and passions
- Describe how the project will enhance living in the neighbourhood and/or enhance connections among neighbours
- Meet matching grant requirement by means of volunteer hours (valued at the current B.C. minimum wage rate), monetary donations from businesses or community members and other in-kind contributions
- Demonstrate how the project will foster neighbourhood participation
- Projects must comply with City bylaws
- Insurance and applicable permits are the responsibility of the applicant
- Grants are available only to residents of Kelowna and require a minimum of three residents from separate households within the neighbourhood to operate as a project working group
- Project must occur within the applicant group’s neighbourhood
- Resident groups must have a project lead accountable for project funds and reporting
Applications are to be considered on the benefit of projects to the their neighbourhoods and the city through the following categories:
- Neighbourhood participation and impact
- Alignment with Council priorities and the program’s focus areas
- Project feasibility
- Project sustainability
- Applicants who meet the above criteria and have not previously received grant funds will be given priority
- Applicants will typically be limited to one neighbourhood grant per 12-month period.
- Applicants can’t apply for recurring funding for a project already supported by the Strong Neighbourhood program.
Neighbourhood groups can apply at any time and funding is released three times per year. If you have an idea for a project, you’re encouraged to submit your expression of interest early so that you may have time to complete the full application by the following deadlines:
- Summer project applications are due on the first Friday in March
- Fall project applications are due on first Friday in June
- Winter project applications are due on first Friday in November
*If deadline lands on a statutory holiday, the next business day will serve as the new deadline.
- Community Development Coordinators will review applications and vet them through applicable City staff, depending on the nature of the grant application.
- Community Development Coordinators will evaluate the applications based on the program criteria and forward their recommendations to the Divisional Director of Active Living & Culture for final approval
- The decision of the Divisional Director of Active Living & Culture will be final
- Applicants will be notified within five weeks of the intake deadline. In some cases, an applicant may be required to submit further information before a final decision can be made.
Youth development & engagement grant
The youth development and engagement grant is a matching grant of up to $1,000 designed to empower youth (aged 13-19) to participate in civic engagement, receive mentorship and shape their neighbourhoods by leading neighbourhood enhancement projects. In working with other youth in their neighbourhoods, this grant will provide the opportunity for youth to build relationships, gain a greater sense of neighbourhood pride, develop leadership skills and have fun!
It's a great opportunity for youth to take a leadership role in planning and implementing community-based projects with neighbours - which looks good on a resume and post-secondary application! Get creative and make a difference in your neighbourhood!
Applications for spring 2021 projects are due by the end of the day on Sunday, January 17. If you have an idea, but need help with the application or getting started, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 update: While we are accepting grant applications for the Youth Development & Engagement Grant, please note that projects are dependent on BC’s Public Health orders. We encourage applicants to find creative ways to stay socially connected while physically apart.
Here are some examples to help you get started:
- virtual cooking classes
- virtual art nights
- virtual trivia nights
- virtual skill building workshops
Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, guidelines are subject to change.
While we always encourage new and innovate project ideas, here are some common project possibilities:
- Kindness rocks
- Neighbourhood garden
- Free little pantry
- Art mural
- Gratitude garden
Applications should focus on at least one of these five areas:
- Leadership – Getting other neighbours involved in planning local projects and events
- Relationships – Helping neighbours get to know each other better
- Social offerings – Providing activities for neighbours to have fun together!
- Safety – Making it safer to ride bikes and walk around the neighbourhood
- Aesthetics – Enhancing the appearance of a neighbourhood
What are you passionate about? Chances are there’s a project that connects with your passion. You can also look online for neighbourhood project examples around Kelowna, Canada and the world for inspiration.
Grant money can be used for:
- Purchasing or renting equipment & materials
- Professional services
- Promotional materials
- Skill training
Grant money can’t be used for:
- Fundraising activities
- Retroactive projects and expenses
- Items that will revert to private ownership
- Travel expenses
Any project in contravention of City bylaws.
No experience is necessary to take part in this process. A Community Development Coordinator can help your through the application process and, once your project is approved, offer mentorship and help guide you through the developing, planning and carrying out your project.