Community improvement grants now available through Kansas City’s Neighborhood Empowerment Program

Date:

Kansas City, Missouri – Kansas City’s Neighborhood Services Department announced another round of funding for the Neighborhood Empowerment Grant. The application window is open from May 14 to June 21, with $400,000 available in this cycle. Each applicant can request up to $20,000 in grant funding.

Initiative Led by Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw

Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw played a crucial role in the development and implementation of the Neighborhood Empowerment Grant program. As the primary advocate behind the initiative, Parks-Shaw introduced and championed the Neighborhood Empowerment Grant ordinance, which allocates funds to neighborhood organizations aiming to enhance their community’s quality of life.

“The Neighborhood Empowerment Grant empowers neighborhoods with funding to work on the issues that improve the quality of life in their community. Improving the quality of life strengthens the neighborhood, and stronger neighborhoods make for a more robust and better Kansas City overall,” said Mayor Pro Tem and 5th District Councilmember Ryana Parks-Shaw.

Commitment to Community Engagement and Safety

The Neighborhood Empowerment Grant program is dedicated to bolstering community engagement, enhancing neighborhood identity, and promoting public safety strategies within Kansas City.

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Neighborhood Services Director Forest Decker emphasized the city’s commitment to community empowerment. “For Kansas City, community empowerment isn’t just a concept—it’s a commitment. With the Neighborhood Empowerment Grant, we’re investing in community-led projects and the fabric of our neighborhoods. Together, we’re shaping safer, stronger, and more vibrant communities,” Decker said.

Eligibility and Focus Areas

The grant application is open to not-for-profit Neighborhood Associations registered (or partnered with an Association registered) with the City of Kansas City and the State of Missouri. The program prioritizes projects that focus on:

  • Community Engagement: Promoting active participation and involvement of residents in neighborhood initiatives and activities.
  • Enhancing Neighborhood Identity: Supporting projects celebrating each neighborhood’s unique identity and culture.
  • Public Safety Strategies: Funding projects and programs to enhance community safety.
  • Quality of Life Enhancements: Facilitating necessary repairs and upgrades to improve residents’ safety and well-being.
  • Crime Reduction: Supporting community-led projects aimed at reducing violence and other crimes.
  • Neighborhood Investment: Encouraging neighborhood investment and development both internally and externally.
  • Code Violation Remediation: Implementing measures to reduce code violations and enhance overall living conditions.

Success Stories from the First Round

During the program’s first round of funding, the Neighborhood Services Department awarded $260,000 to 26 neighborhood organizations. The Blue Valley Neighborhood Association was one of the recipients, receiving a $10,000 grant which was used for minor home repairs, crime reduction strategies, youth development, and beautification of their neighborhood garden.

From this grant, $4,000 was specifically allocated to essential minor home repairs, prioritizing the needs of the community’s elderly and underserved residents. This impactful use of funds highlights the program’s potential to make significant improvements within neighborhoods.

Application and Informational Session

Interested applicants can apply for the Neighborhood Empowerment Grant through the Neighborhood Services Department. To assist with the application process, a virtual Lunch and Learn session will be hosted on May 23 from 11 a.m. to noon. The link for the virtual session will be available at KCMO.gov/neighborhoods on the day of the event.

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