Nov 22, 2009

Got a project you'd like done?

Our City's Department of Neighborhoods sponsors the Neighborhood Matching Fund, which helps neighborhood groups fund and administer public service projects, large and small. Our neighborhood has benefitted in larger (Miller Fountain) and smaller (traffic circles) ways from this innovative way to get neighborhood projects accomplished. (Go here and search for Miller Park to see a list).

A recent letter from the Department Director, Stella Chao, lists recent changes in the program to make it even easier to use. Maybe this will prompt some Miller denizens to leap into action. Stella notes:

Over its 21 years, the Neighborhood Matching Fund team has made continuous improvements to the program. Following up from a formal assessment in which several of you participated, we have identified improvements, and I’m pleased to announce the following changes to the Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) beginning in January 2010.

NMF Guidelines: 
·         The NMF guidelines are now clearer and easier to navigate.  In fact, all four NMF funding programs are covered under the same guidelines document.    
·         The value of volunteer time has increased to $20 per hour keeping up with Independent Sector research on average volunteer time value.
Fund Category and Dollar Limit Changes: 
·         The Outreach Fund is now combined with the Small Sparks Fund, which will continue to provide support for community building projects with small funding needs, along with the enhancement of more flexible guidelines. 
·         To keep up with rising costs, fund request limits have increased for the Small Sparks Fund up to $1,000 and the Small and Simple Fund up to $20,000 per project.

Application Forms: 
·         The forms have been redesigned to be easier to use, along with simplified questions, fill-in electronic formatting, and simpler work plan and budget forms.  
·         Signatures documenting community match pledges are no longer required for the application stage.
Technical Assistance:
·         To increase our outreach and assistance to projects, the Neighborhood Matching Fund staff will hold one to two technical assistance workshops every month at various locations around the city. 
·         Our website has been revamped to ease navigation and provide clearer information with the inclusion of a “Frequently Asked Questions” section.  Watch for the launch of our new webpages on December 1.  Our website will continue to expand, allowing community members access to NMF advice and technical assistance – any time, any day. 
As mentioned earlier, our team is continuously looking at ways to enhance our program.  We are excited about these improvements and trust you will find them helpful as you, your organization or your neighborhood participate in the NMF.   


Stella Chao, Director
Department of Neighborhoods
PO BOX 94649 Seattle, WA 98124-4649
T: (206) 684-0465

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