“Love Your Block” This Fall By Winning Your Neighborhood Cash Grants And Services


Children enjoying after school programs created through grant money. Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

It’s common knowledge that Brooklyn is beautiful inside and out, but there’s no block in the borough that couldn’t benefit from $1,000 cash to use towards enhancing their outward appearance.

The deadline is fast approaching for this year’s Love Your Block grant, an annual contest awarding chosen streets $1,000 cash grants, neighborhood services, and other prizes.

The nine-year-old program, similar to the beloved Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest, seeks to support volunteer-led community and school groups citywide by awarding them cash and city services to cleanup their community through beautification projects.

Volunteers at the Inwood Canoe Club. Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

Program winners will receive project planning assistance and “select neighborhood services” from the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, Transportation, Environmental Protection and Sanitation.

According to a press release encouraging groups to apply:

Free services from these city agencies include trash collection on the day of the project, vacant lot cleanup, graffiti removal, dead tree removal, tree stewardship workshops, resident surveys to plant new street trees, provision of wood chip mulch for gardening projects, repair of and installation of street signs and street lights, and traffic safety surveys, and installation of bicycle racks and speed bumps. 

“The change that a group of volunteers can achieve on their blocks with just a small cash grant and the help of city services is incredible,” Citizens Committee CEO Peter H. Kostmayer noted in the press release.

Since the program began in 2009, there have been 785 grants awarded to communities in Brooklyn. Past winners have used their grant money and services to construct greenhouses, start art classes and soccer leagues, and preserve trees by creating a rainwater catchment system, among numerous other projects which are mapped on the Citizens Committee website.

Volunteers painting a mural in Bed Stuy. Photo via Citizens Committee for New York City

Southern Brooklyn has had but a handful of grantees, but hopefully that can change this year.

Both individual blocks and consecutive groups of blocks can win. Eligible groups to apply include neighborhood, block, and civic associations, school groups, and newly formed volunteer groups with a focus on transforming their block.

The application submission deadline is Monday, November 7. Grant recipients will be announced on November 28, with block transformation initiatives set to be implemented in spring 2017.

The Love Your Block Grant Campaign is sponsored by NYC Service and Citizens Committee for New York City. It is the only public-private “adopt-a-block” grant program currently available in New York.

To apply, and for more details on what applications should include, download the application from the Citizen Committee’s website.

There will be two Love Your Block Grant application info sessions, to be held in Lower Manhattan, on Monday, October 17, and Monday, October 24. RSVP is required and space is limited. To attend, contact Shawn Whitehorn at [email protected] or (212) 822-9563.

About Author

Hannah Frishberg is a 4th generation Brooklynite and editor of the Bensonhurst Bean. You can reach her at [email protected], via Twitter @BensonhurstBean or via the Bensonhurst Bean’s Facebook.