The Community Connections Small Grants Program supports resident-led efforts to improve the quality of life throughout local neighborhoods. In partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, Zilber Family Foundation and Northwestern Mutual, these grants (ranging from $50 to $2,000) fund projects, events and activities led by residents. All grant applications are reviewed and scored by a group of residents who reside in the targeted zip-codes: 53204, 53205, 53206, 53208, 53209, 53210, 53212, 53215, 53216, 53218, 53224 as well as Dunbar Oaks and Tower Hill neighborhoods in Waukesha.

There are two types of grant opportunities available:

Neighbor-to-Neighbor Projects – Range from $50-$750

Neighbor-to-Neighbor projects are resident-led projects addressing a neighborhood issue or concern. Only two grants will be funded per neighborhood per year.

Examples of funded projects:

Community Talk Backs for Autism Awareness, Sherman Park Neighborhood - To raise awareness of children with Autism, applicants hosted a series of interactive workshops to educate and encourage families about how to support children living with Autism.

Tree of Life Earthworks, Clarke Square - Residents turned the first floor of a carriage house into a community gallery space and class studio where they taught free ceramic classes and hosted gallery receptions and art discussions open to everyone interested in the arts.

Milwaukee Innovation Projects – Up to $2,000

Milwaukee Innovation projects support community problem-solving efforts that are inclusive, collaborative and resourceful. Innovation grants contain a "WOW" factor by stimulating something new in the local community. Only one innovative grant will be funded per neighborhood per year.


Mobile Garden Hotspot – Residents turned a vacant lot into a community garden to educate their neighbors on healthy eating while providing free wifi to its residents.

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Who Should Apply

Resident led groups living and working in the following zip codes 53204, 53205, 53206, 53208, 53209, 53210, 53212, 53215, 53216, 53218, 53224 and the Dunbar Oaks and Tower Hill neighborhoods in Waukesha are encouraged to apply. Projects should benefit a specific neighborhood and be planned and led by a group of at least three unrelated individuals, all of whom live in the neighborhood where the project will take place.

The purpose of Community Connections Small Grants is for groups to become a part of the fabric of their respective neighborhood, not provide a service to a neighborhood; they must be connected and engaged in the community. Projects should make use of the strengths and assets that already exist in the community. These strengths and assets are shown through the dollar-for-dollar match in the budget. Strengths may include the commitment of the residents, active networks and strategies already in place. Assets are institutions, organizations and people whose resources, gifts and talents are used to make the project happen. Applicants are encouraged to think creatively about neighborhood assets and how they can be used to accomplish projects.

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• Completed grant applications must be received by the deadline. All applications received after the deadline will be considered during the next grant cycle. See below for grant application deadline information.

• Applicants are encouraged to attend a technical assistance session to obtain feedback regarding proposals prior to submission. See below for more information.

• Projects should benefit a specific neighborhood and must be organized by a group of at least three unrelated individuals. All three individuals must live in the neighborhood where the project will take place.

• Secure a dollar-for-dollar match equal to or greater than the amount requested from the small grants program. For example, if you request $750.00, you should demonstrate $750.00 in matching funds and/or in-kind services. Matching support can be money, volunteer work or donated goods or services such as land, event space, tools or equipment, etc.

• If funds are requested to cover the cost of contractors, the cost of the contractors cannot account for more than 50% of the total grant funds requested from the program.

• Track and document all project expenses. This includes keeping track of original receipts and invoices. Submitted receipts can only reflect items purchased for the funded project. Personal items found on submitted receipt will be discredited.

• Applicants are prohibited from buying tools or equipment using the Community Connections Small Grant funds. For questions regarding acceptable purchases please email [email protected].

• All groups must have a checking account in the group's name. If you do not have a checking account, a representative from a bank will be present at the grantee orientation to assist your group in opening an account. Checks will not be made to individuals, non-profit organizations or pre-existing businesses that are not a resident-led group.

• Where appropriate, take before and after pictures of the project.

• Applicants can only take the lead and/or be the point of contact for one project.

• Applicants will receive an email regarding the status of the grant application. Failure to check email correspondence will disqualify applicants from receipt of funding.

• Turn in your final report 30 days after project completion. All three group members must complete and sign off on the final report. Failure to submit your final report on time will disqualify all group members from applying for a grant for one year.
Click here for the final report form.

• Attend a final grantee celebration to share your project success..

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To Apply

Click here to see the application questions for your review prior to completing your application. Please note the applications will only be accepted online .

Click here to apply for the current grant cycle. Completed grant applications must be received by the grant deadline.

Grant application deadline: April 10, 2019 at 12:00am.

Grantee orientation for funded projects: May 23, 2019. The location will be shared with your grant award communication.

Previous grant cycle final report deadline: 30 days after the completion of your project or May 30, 2019.

Final report due: 30 days after the completion of your project or November 23, 2019, whichever comes first.

Questions? Email [email protected] or call 262-404-7048.


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Technical Assistance Sessions

We are now offering technical assistance workshops to help with completing your grant application and/or final report. To make the most use of your time with us please consider the following:

• Review the Community Connections Small Grants website, guidelines, and frequently asked questions PRIOR to your session with us.

• Please come to the session prepared to discuss a project idea that you have or with specific questions related to your final report.

• Please bring a paper copy of your applications so we can provide feedback to your group. Once you receive feedback you will able to complete the online application right on site. Click here for a paper copy of the application.

• Although not required, funding preference will be given to resident groups who attend and participate at the technical assistance sessions.

The next Technical Assistance Sessions will take place:

Thursday, February 28, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Journey House, 2110 W. Scott Street

Monday, March 4, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Location: Greater Life Center (connected to Greater Galilee Church), 2432 N. Teutonia Avenue

Registration is required for your session. Register at [email protected] or call 262-404-7048. If you participate in a session, at least two of your group members MUST also attend. The Community Connections Small Grants team reserves the right to cancel all sessions for which no registrations were received.


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