Neighborhood Challenge Offers Matching Funds for Community Projects

The "Culinary Kids Farm Rockaway Project" in Queens (photo courtesy of ioby)

The “Culinary Kids Farm Rockaway Project” in Queens (photo courtesy of ioby)

This summer, a nonprofit community engagement platform, “In Our Backyards” (ioby) is kicking off a new neighborhood challenge to help Lower East Side residents bring their community-based project ideas to fruition – offering matching funds, training and planning assistance to winners of the challenge.

To date, ioby has helped over 800 project leaders nationwide raise more than $2.5 million in citizen philanthropy for projects that make their communities healthier, greener, safer and more livable. Now the New York State Health Foundation is providing $100,000 in matching grants to communities throughout New York State.

Projects that have received funding on the ioby platform in the past include the SWAG farm, an urban farming, food justice and educational project in the South Ward of Newark; Hike the Heights, an annual volunteer-planned and community-run event that links local residents with parks in Northern Manhattan; and Bikesplorations, which enables teens in Brooklyn and the Bronx to ride bicycles while getting involved in issues affecting them and their built environment. (A complete list of projects funded on ioby’s platform to date is available here.)

“There is a long history of New York City residents making transformative changes in their neighborhoods,” said Betsy MacLean, Executive Director of Hester Street Collaborative, the LES-based non-profit organization. “ioby builds on that history by connecting deep local knowledge to the resources that make the gardens, bike lanes, school uniforms and arts projects communities most need possible.”

Applications for the Healthy Neighborhood Challenge are due on August 1, and can be found at ioby.org/healthy.