Love where you live but think you can make it better? Mini-grant might help

Is 2021 the year your Hillsborough County neighborhood becomes extra nifty? Hillsborough County’s Office of Neighborhood Relations has opened the application period for their 2021 Neighborhood Mini-Grant program, and that means creative community building is up ahead. 

“Create a community legacy; tell your community’s story,” says Stephanie Agliano, Hillsborough County’s customer service, and support division director.

Agliano urges those with an idea for a fun, innovative neighborhood idea to apply. Since 1988, the program has funded a wide variety of projects, including a neighborhood-specific app, signage, a bike rodeo, a youth garden, and many more. The maximum ask per award is $5,000; many applicants request far less. The grant pool totals $75,000.

It’s easier than ever to apply. An extensive website was recently launched to educate and inform applicants; in less than eight minutes, a viewer can watch a webinar to review and understand application tips and highlights. The application is straightforward, complete with categories devised to spark ideas.

Categories include:
  • Neighborhood Identification 
  • Leadership Empowerment 
  • Safety Opportunities and Education
  • Environmental Enhancements
  • Health and Wellness Engagement
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Neighborhood and Community Innovation

Agliano expects Hillsborough County’s civic, neighborhood, homeowners, and crime watch associations registered with Hillsborough County’s Office of Neighborhood Relations to ‘wow’ the 5-person review committee. Qualified associations in Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrace will comprise the future honorees.

What projects will flourish based on this batch of grants is anyone’s guess, but Agliano points to community libraries currently thriving in popularity; she also sees the health and wellness engagement space as particularly exciting. At their core, all chosen projects will enrich neighborhoods and have the opportunity to elicit long-lasting impact. 

“Neighborhoods are more than backgrounds,” Agliano says. “Think of the answer to ‘Wow, I’d love to see this in my neighborhood – and apply to do it!”’

Applications are due by December 4. Questions? Email [email protected] or call 813-272-5860.
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Read more articles by Amy Hammond.

Amy Hammond is a freelance writer and author of children’s books that encourage the next generation to attend college. When not indoctrinating youth about the necessity of higher education, she enjoys exploring the paradise that is her St. Petersburg home. She holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Masters in Secondary English Education from the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared in such venues as the Tampa Bay Times. Children’s Book Titles by Amy Hammond include: When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Gator; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a ‘Nole; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Bull; When I Grow Up, I’m Bama Bound; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Tiger.