The Vermont Natural Resources Council is seeking applications for its 2018 Small Grants for Smart Growth Program.
The grant program, launched this year, provides seed money for community-based, local initiatives related to Smart Growth including: (1) advocacy for better land use through municipal planning, regulations, or advocacy in the permit process; (2) initiatives in the following areas provided they relate to Smart Growth: transportation; housing; conservation, including agriculture, forestry, and historic preservation; downtown and/or village center development or revitalization.
“For more than 50 years, VNRC has been working with communities – most recently with groups like Exit 4 Open Space in Randolph and the Citizens for a Better Bennington – to promote smart growth opportunities in Vermont,” said VNRC Executive Director Brian Shupe. “We know that a little money can go a long way to help host a public meeting, pay for an informational letter, or kick start a planning process that helps a community have a valuable conversation about smart development. We were incredibly excited when former VNRC Board Chair Beth Humstone and her son, Chris Gignoux, came to us with this idea, and Humstone provided the resources to make it possible.”
Humstone, in addition to formerly being the VNRC Board Chair, co-founded the Vermont Forum on Sprawl with the late John Ewing. The Forum on Sprawl eventually became Smart Growth Vermont, which merged in 2011 with VNRC. Through this fund, Humstone will continue her legacy of supporting smart growth approaches in Vermont communities.
“Because VNRC is a statewide leader on smart growth, the organization is uniquely positioned to run this small grant program. I’ve seen firsthand the important role that people working at the local level have to play in shaping the future of their communities,” noted Humstone. “I believe these grants will help catalyze communities and citizens around the state to revitalize village and urban centers, provide housing for all citizens, promote pedestrian, bicycle and public transit access, and enhance the rural countryside for farming, forestry and conservation.”
Grants are expected to be in the range of $500-$1,500 per project. A second year of funding may be available for qualifying projects. Local or multi-town entities, such as municipalities, municipal commissions or committees, nonprofit organizations, and citizens groups working with a nonprofit or seeking 501(c)(3) status are encouraged to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and review of applications will begin in early March, with applicants notified within 30 days of receipt of the application.