Palo Alto kicked off its latest experiment in engaging local neighborhoods on Friday, April 12, by launching a grant program geared at bringing neighbors closer together.
The "Know Your Neighbors" program was proposed in September by then-Mayor Yiaway Yeh and current Mayor Greg Scharff as a way to strengthen local neighborhoods and respond to the city's changing demographics -- namely, its growing senior and Asian populations. The $25,000 grant program allows neighborhoods to apply for grants of up to $1,000, which will be awarded on a "first come, first serve" basis until the funding is depleted, according to the city's announcement.
"Neighborhoods are well-positioned to bring people together to experience their community through neighborhood watch programs to deter crime, to support each other's day-to-day activities like gardening and dog walking, and to prepare a localized response in the event of an emergency or natural disaster," Yeh and Scharff stated in the memo. "As a community, the relationships neighbors have are always in need of renewal and are built through pro-active efforts."
According to a statement the city put out Friday, the program "will assist resident groups engaging in activities that build a sense of community, develop or renew neighborhood relationships, encourage interaction between generations and cultures, or develop collaborative partnerships between Palo Alto neighborhoods and the City."
Neighborhood groups may apply for a grants for activities such as block parties and picnics, event kick-off celebrations, ice cream socials, neighborhood crime prevention and safety activities, or other functions and gatherings involving the building of connections between neighbors.
"Palo Alto has a long tradition of strong and connected neighborhoods," City Manager James Keene said in the statement. "As our community demographics change, this grant program is one way the City can invest in enhancing established neighborhood relationships and facilitating new connections between long-time residents and new neighbors moving in from a different city or country."
More information about the grant program and an online application are available at cityofpaloalto.org/neighborhoodgrant