Strong Neighbourhoods grants
We offer two types of grants to help residents build neighbourhood connections: the Strong Neighbourhood Grant and the 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.
Strong Neighbourhood Grant
Great cities are made up of strong neighbourhoods. In turn, it takes citizens that are inspired, involved, connected, and empowered to create strong neighbourhoods. This understanding inspired us to partner with the Central Okanagan Foundation to offer matching grants of up to $1,500 to support resident-led activities that: socially connect neighbours; enhance the neighbourhood through placemaking projects; or involve neighbours sharing skills or talents with each other.
This program aims to provide assistance to residents at the neighbourhood level for the purpose of:
- stimulating small-scale, resident-led, neighbourhood-based projects and initiatives that build community and enhance quality of life
- inspiring residents to connect and build relationships with their neighbours
- harnessing local experience and expertise in neighbourhood-based initiatives
- encouraging resident involvement in making their neighbourhoods better places to live
- promoting neighbourhood-based solutions to everyday concerns
Get creative and make your neighbourhood an even better place to live!
Neighbourhood projects are eligible for up to $1,500 in matching grant funds. Some ideas include:
- Creating a neighbourhood garden
- Enhancing an alleyway
- Painting a mural
- Boulevard beautification
- Creating a story walk
- Building a little free library
- Leading a cooking lesson
Neighbourhood events are eligible for up to $500 in matching grant funds. Some ideas include:
- Organizing a block party with performers and activities
- Organizing a neighbourhood festival
- Organizing a talent show, porch concert or movie night
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
Examples: AED training, emergency preparedness bench
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 neighbours from separate households with an idea for a small-scale project or initiative that is inclusive and brings neighbours together is eligible to apply. Experience in organizing a project or event is not necessary; the Community Development Coordinators are available to support you along the way. In order to be eligible for a Strong Neighbourhood Grant, an applicant must:
- Live within the geographic boundaries of Kelowna
- Live within the neighbourhood of the proposed project or initiative
- 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 and $500 per event
- $15,000 is available annually by the Central Okanagan Foundation, which will be distributed over three intake periods: $6,000 is available in January and May and $3,000 is available in August
- 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
- Equipment rental
- Promotional material and translation services
- Equipment, materials and other items that will be accessible and used by the neighbourhood. The use of these items are not to be restricted for use only by the applicant or project working group
- Contractor service payments for performers and other service providers
- Honorarium payments in recognition of a volunteers’ contribution of skill, knowledge or expertise to the project. A maximum of $200 per person may be given as an honorarium
- Contractor service payments and honoraria cannot be paid to family members or project working group members. No more than 50% of the grant can be allocated to contractor service payments or honoraria
- Food costs are not to exceed more than 50% of the total grant request. Exceptions will be considered for projects focused on skill sharing specific to food preparation and preservation.
- ongoing operating costs
- ideas that are not neighbourhood-based
- projects or activities put on by for-profit businesses
- retroactive projects and expenses
- any item that will revert to private ownership
- travel expenses
- trade shows or commercial/business activity
- fundraising activities and/or donations
- projects which already receive financial support from other City of Kelowna sources
- activities focused on politics or religion
- any project in contravention of City of Kelowna bylaws
- block parties where funds are used exclusively for food, drink and/or prizes
New Online Grant Platform: We have launched our new Online Grant Platform on SurveyMonkey Apply.
You can now apply for the Neighbourhood Grants on this platform.
We know that these transitions can be challenging. We've ensured that there are plenty of resources available to support you in navigating our new online system. Check out the FAQs on our grant webpage to steer through the challenges you may be facing.
The Applicant must:
- Describe the project or activity and how it will enhance living in the neighbourhood and/or enhance connections among neighbours
- Explain how the project will enhance one or more drivers of neighbourhood attachment: aesthetics, leadership, safety, social offerings or relationships.
- Describe how the project will foster neighbour participation and connection
- Share details of when and where the project will take place
- Include a project budget with quotes
- Provide a description of the plan to meet matching grant requirement by means of volunteer hours (valued at current BC minimum wage rate), monetary donations from businesses or community members, and other in-kind contributions
- Projects must comply with City of Kelowna bylaws.
- Insurance and applicable permits are the responsibility of the applicant
- If the project is to take place within a Strata, a letter of approval from the Strata must accompany the grant application. Please note, in some cases a ¾ owner approved vote is needed to make physical changes to strata common property.
Residents considering submission of an application are encouraged to do the following:
- Review the complete guidelines
- Contact staff to discuss eligibility for this program or to obtain more information
Applications are to be considered on the benefit of projects to 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 Neighbourhoods program.
Applications must be submitted by 8:00 AM on the application deadline: last Monday of January, May or August.
A typical timeline appears in the table below. The timeline is subject to change.
|Application Deadline*||Last Monday in January||Last Monday in May||Last Monday in August|
|Decisions Announced||Last Monday in February||Last Monday in June||Last Monday in September|
|Implementation Phase||March to June||July to September||October to December|
Project Completion By
|June 30||September 30||December 31|
|Final Report Due||Fifteen days after project is completed|
*Should a deadline fall on a statutory holiday, the deadline will be adjusted to the following business day.
- 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 13-24) 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 2023 projects will be accepted on a rolling intake until all allocated funds have been awarded.
If you have an idea, but need help with the application or getting started, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Online Grant Platform
We have launched our new Online Grant platform on SurveyMonkey Apply. You can now apply for the Neighbourhood Grants on this platform.
We know these transitions can be challenging. We've ensured that there are plenty of resources available to support you in navigating our new online system. Check out the FAQs on our grant webpage to steer through the challenges you may be facing.
While we always encourage new and innovate project ideas, here are some project ideas for inspiration:
- Indigenous cooking teachings
- Teach others how to speak a language, play a sport or play an instrument
- Paint night
- Little free art gallery
- Seed library
- Story walk
- Gratitude garden
- Community quilt
Applications should focus on at least one of these five areas:
- Leadership – Opportunities for neighbours to share skills with each other
- Relationships – Helping neighbours get to know each other better
- Social offerings – Providing activities for neighbours to have fun together!
- Safety – Enhancing the safety of a neighbourhood or among neighbours
- 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.
Each approved applicant group will be invited to a series of three workshops to help groups with finalizing project plans, budgeting, creating timelines and actions plans, recruiting neighbourhood volunteers, and other work critical to their project's success. All project group members will be encouraged to attend all three workshops.