Up to $193,000 will be awarded in grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for the 2021 cycle. Applications were accepted Aug. 3 through Oct. 2. Metro received 95 applicatons requesting more than $1.9 million.
Aug. 3: Applications open
Oct. 2 at noon: Applications due (new deadline)
Early January: Awards announced
Early March: Funds available, grant-funded activities can begin
June 30, 2022: Grant-funded activities should conclude
Get help with your application
Get started by reading the application handbook.
Staff is available to help think through your idea and get you ready to submit a strong application. Individualized assistance is available and encouraged. Contact information appears at the bottom of this page. You can also attend an optional information session.
Watch one of the information sessions from August, which walks through the application handbook and other important details. The information presented is the same in each.
Who can apply?
Community Placemaking grants support community-driven initiatives, and partnerships are key to a competitive proposal. Given that, anyone meeting the following conditions can apply:
- Community-based organizations with nonprofit status.
- Community groups or individuals without nonprofit status must partner with a fiscal sponsor, such as a state certified, federally approved 501(c) nonprofit or a public agency. That fiscal sponsor must have must have a federal employer tax ID number and capacity to contract with Metro. Learn more about a fiscal sponsor’s role in the application handbook beginning on page 6.
- Public agencies must have community partners involved in the implementation of the project and a plan to involve the broader public.
- If you are a past recipient of a Community Placemaking grant and your project was exclusively an event (spanning a single or multiple days), you may not reapply the year following your award.
New: choice of written or video responses
Applicants will choose to either submit written responses or create a video that addresses the seven application questions. Applications will not be judged on the quality of the writing or the production value of the video, but on the substance of the proposal. Preview the application questions in the application handbook on pages 8 and 9.
Video responses: Please carefully read the guidance on video responses in the application handbook beginning on the page 9. Applicants can choose to answer the seven application questions in a video recording instead of writing responses. The link to the video must be accessible through Dec. 31, 2020. Applications will not be judged on the quality or production value of the videos.
All applicants will use ZoomGrants. Video applicants must complete the scope and budget section in writing. They are also encouraged to add supporting material, such as letters of support or photos, in the document uploads section.
Unfortunately, Metro is unable to offer technical support to help create, host or link to videos, so applicants should only choose this option if they have the knowledge or assistance to do so successfully. Note that written responses, much like video responses, are judged on the substance of the proposal not the quality of the writing. Links to video resources appear in the application handbook on page 10.
Elements of a strong proposal
The Community Placemaking program has four objectives, each of which are followed by characteristics that make for a strong proposal.
Placemaking: People’s connections to each other and to places they care about are strengthened.
- Addresses a community challenge or opportunity
- Prompts people to interact with each other
- Uses art as a tool to bring people together or influence their community
- Helps people feel a stronger connection to the place(s) where the project happens
- Strengthens the things that make a place unique or valued
Equity: People of color and members of historically marginalized communities have power and resources to influence their neighborhoods and communities.
- Directly benefits people of color or members of other historically marginalized communities
- Led by or actively supported by communities of color or other historically marginalized communities
- Strengthens cultural and community assets
- Provides opportunities for expression of culture
Partnerships: People’s efforts are maximized because they work in partnership with each other and with Metro.
- Involves partnerships that bring different or new groups together
- Encourages collaboration among community partners
- Engages the public in the planning for and participating in the project's implementation
- Enhances regional efforts where Metro is actively engaged
Leadership: People participate in projects and decisions that affect them.
- Gives opportunities to emerging leaders
- Builds individual and organizational capacity for civic engagement
Evaluating the applications
An advisory group of community members who work at the intersection of arts and social justice in the Portland region reviews the applications and makes a funding recommendation to Metro. This group has expertise in community development, social justice, arts and cultural programming, and urban planning, and they are predominately people of color. Make sure your proposed project is clear, compelling and sufficiently defined so they can understand how well it meets the Community Placemaking program’s objectives. They will evaluate the applications using the following questions.
- How impactful do you think this project will be?
- How strong are the equity and inclusion components of the proposal?
- How feasible is the project to implement?
- How well does it meet the objectives of the Community Placemaking program?
Applicants are encouraged to contact Metro staff to discuss your idea. Staff does not play a role in advocating for applicants or making the funding recommendation, and instead is available to help you make your application as strong as possible. Optional information sessions and individualized assistance are available. Contact information appears at the bottom of this page.
Minimum grant requirements
- Grant-funded activites must take place within the region's Urban Growth Boundary.
- Activities proposed in public spaces must have a clear plan to gain support and appropriate permits from the local jurisdiction.
- Grantees (and their fiscal sponsors) are required to carry insurance coverage and are responsible for the proper use, accounting and reporting of grant funds. Metro reports grant distributions to the IRS.
- To be eligible for operating support, grantees’ mission and ongoing work must be clearly aligned with the four Community Placemaking objectives. This grant program should not be considered an opportunity for ongoing support.
Restrictions on use of funds
Community Placemaking grant funds may not be used for any of the following purposes:
- Activities or events held outside the Portland area Urban Growth Boundary
- Materials or costs not tied to the proposed event/project
- Costs of preparing this grant application
- Annual appeals or fund raising drives
- Direct grants or loans that primarily benefit specific individuals or businesses
- Any attempt to: directly influence legislation or public policy; participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office; induce or encourage violations of law or public policy or improper private benefit to occur
- Activities or events held on property whose owner discriminates against individuals or groups because of race, color creed, national origin, sex, age or disability, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, as amended; 42 U.S.C. Section 2000d; Section 303 of the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended; 42 U.S.C. Section 6102; Section 202 of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990; 42 U.S.C. Section 12132
New: general operating support
For the 2021 grant cycle, organizations may propose to use grant money for general operating support if their mission and ongoing work through June 2022 is clearly aligned with the four Community Placemaking objectives that begin on page 5. These funds would be available after March 1, 2021 and can be used at the organization’s discretion to carry out its mission by covering costs such as staff time, rent, programming, overhead, etc.
Due to the limited funding of the Community Placemaking grant program, this should not be considered an opportunity for ongoing support.
Role of a fiscal sponsor
Community groups or individuals without nonprofit status must partner with a fiscal sponsor, such as a state certified, federally approved 501(c) nonprofit or a public agency. A fiscal sponsor plays an important role in a Community Placemaking project. Fiscal sponsors should expect to participate in the following ways.
- Carefully review and sign the legal agreement
- Provide insurance coverage for the duration of the grant project
- Receive payments from Metro and distribute funds appropriately
- Submit progress reports to Metro
- Participate in grantee gatherings and evaluation activities