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The Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement Opens Applications for First-Ever Great Neighborhood Challenge

The San Diego Foundation’s Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement (the Center) today launched the Great Neighborhood Challenge, a new initiative that takes an innovative approach to community organizing, civic engagement and strategic grantmaking.

In an effort to elevate traditional public involvement and drive change in neighborhoods across San Diego, The Great Neighborhood Challenge will sponsor 10-20 community awards between $1,000 and $5,000 each to encourage the creation of projects that improve neighborhoods throughout San Diego County. By supporting small-scale efforts and building upon existing community assets, the Great Neighborhood Challenge seeks to bring people together to work for a common cause, offer new opportunities for leadership, and showcase neighborhood-level solutions to improve quality of life in the San Diego region.

“The San Diego Center for Civic Engagement supports projects that increase and strengthen our region’s capacity for civic engagement and community problem-solving,” said Robert C. Dynes, Chair of the Center’s Leadership Council. “The Great Neighborhood Challenge is one of several civic engagement projects the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement is supporting to boost community problem-solving and improve our region’s quality of life.”

The Center will focus its efforts on under-organized communities. These include communities that do not have an equitable number of organized and recognized neighborhood groups addressing local quality of life issues when compared with other areas of the region and/or communities where residents are not arranged in a structured order to address a specific goal.

Workshops will be offered between January 13 and March 10, 2014 throughout the county to answer questions about the application and selection process, help brainstorm possible neighborhood projects and assist residents with their applications.

“Our goal is to fund a large variety of small-scale neighborhood projects,” said BongHwan (BH) Kim, Vice President/Executive Director of the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement. “To see nearly 500 residents and neighbors come together to revitalize National City’s Butterfly Park identified to us that there is an unprecedented number of people in San Diego who are wanting and willing to build upon existing community assets to make their corner of our region a more useful and vibrant place,” Kim said.

The Great Neighborhood Challenge also stems from Voice of San Diego’s Politifest Idea Tournament, in which the winning local community organization won a $5,000 grant from the San Diego Center for Civic Engagement.

“The San Diego Community Garden Network received the $5,000 grant from the Center and worked with Green STEAM Communities and partners to design a permanent living laboratory and integrate it into a Chula Vista community garden” said Kim. “It is organic community civic engagement projects like this that we want to foster and help replicate throughout the region.”

Applications open on Monday, January 13 and close on Monday, March 10, 2014. Awardees will be announced in July 2014. Groups must have a 501(c)3 tax exemption status or partner with a fiscal sponsor to apply and receive their financial award, and propose a project that benefits their neighborhood. For more information, visit www.sdfoundation.org/GNC.

About the Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement

The Malin Burnham San Diego Center for Civic Engagement ensures broad, dynamic community participation and ownership of shared solutions by incubating ideas, leading social change and championing Our Greater San Diego Vision to improve the quality of life for the San Diego region. For additional information, visit www.sdfoundation.org/CCE.

About The San Diego Foundation

Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s purpose is to promote and increase effective and responsible charitable giving. The Foundation manages more than $641 million in assets, almost half of which reside in permanent endowment funds that extend the impact of today’s gifts to future generations. Since its inception, The Foundation has granted more than $852 million to the San Diego region’s nonprofit community. For additional information, please visit The San Diego Foundation at www.sdfoundation.org

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