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Placemaking Grant

The Placemaking Grant’s goal is to transform underused or unused public spaces into vibrant gathering places accessible to everyone in a community. 

The Grant focuses on lighter, quicker, cheaper Placemaking projects, which are smaller, less inexpensive and incremental community projects. These smaller types of Placemaking projects can help to enhance a neighborhood and encourage additional public spaces to be created in a community.

Communities that offer a variety of public spaces—pocket parks, trails, pedestrian plazas & community garden—are often more desirable making them better places to live and buy a home.    

The Placemaking Grant requirements have been changed in 2017. The grant can now only be used to fund the creation and building of new public spaces. REALTOR® involvement is highly encouraged. The grant should be used to fund  projects that will have a bigger impact on a community by building gathering spots; creating destinations; bringing life to downtowns; and preserving open spaces. 

REALTORS® can Make a Bigger Difference in Communities by:

  • Creating new public spaces
  • Engaging REALTOR® Associations and REALTORS® in projects

Note that in previous years, as a way to introduce Placemaking, the grant funded adding amenities to existing public spaces. But in 2017, the grant will not fund adding amenities to an existing space. 

However, your REALTOR® Association may still want to add an amenity to existing places by conducting member fundraising efforts to show that your association and its members supports your community. Benches, bike racks and art work can all be sponsored by and attributed to a local REALTOR® Association via a plaque.

We encourage you to review our Placemaking Guide, webinars and Spaces to Places blog before applying for a Placemaking Grant.

See examples of how REALTOR® Associations used the grant to create placemaking projects in their community. 

Grant Requirements

  • Applicants: Only available to state and local REALTOR® Associations 
  • Applications: Submit online (see below)
    • Include project site (before) photo, budget & concept plan
  • Project Types: Creation of new public spaces (parks, pocket parks, plazas, parklets, alley activations, trails/trailheads, gardens)
  • Project Criteria
    • Project space needs to be located outside (not inside a building)
    • Project needs to be a “multi-functional” space for everyone in a community:
      • Dog parks, playgrounds, memorials & community gardens: Plan needs to include amenities for everyone (seating, paths, art work, etc.)
      • Memorials: Only funds amenities, not memorial structure
    • Involves the participation of the association and engagement of REALTORS®.  Maximum amount is awarded to reflect projects that are Association-led or projects where the REALTOR® Association is a project co-partner.
      • Planning, designing, funding, and member volunteering
    • Involves community partners and local “buy-in”
    • Project is compliant with city permitting and zoning
    • Is accessible to the whole community and all residents
    • Is accessible all, or most, of the time
    • Incorporates the “Power of Ten”: Place offers at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there—place to sit, art to enjoy, music to hear, area to read/check email,  food to eat, history to experience, flowers to smell, people to meet, area to play, people to watch, things to learn, paths to walk, etc.
  • Funding Amount: Up to $5,000, depending on project type, impact on community and meeting of all criteria
  • Project Cost: Not to exceed $200,000
  • Number of Grants/Year
    • An association can be approved for 2 grants per year.
    • A second application will not be reviewed until the “after” photo from the first project is submitted

Grant Application Process

Note: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through October 15 2017.

  • Take a photo(s) of the current site and include as the “before” photo.
  • Calculate or obtain the project budget (not to exceed $200,000).
  • Develop or obtain the project’s design or concept plan.
  • Submit the online application
    • Upload the site photo, budget and concept plan.
    • If you have problems uploading the files, you can email them.
  • Staff will schedule a brief phone call to discuss project and application.
    • You may need to provide additional information.
    • You can have your partners on the call.
  • Staff will review application after the phone call and after all required information is received.
  • Staff will contact the association within 10 days after the phone call.

Project Completion  

  • Project must be completed within one year after grant application was approved. 
  • Within 1 month after the project was completed, the following needs to be done:
    • Email after photo(s) of the project
    • Submit the evaluation form outlining impact of project (i.e. use/visits by the community; media coverage; other community projects, community response, outcomes, etc.).
  • Celebrate your success. We encourage you to consider having a “ribbon cutting” ceremony or similar event and inviting members, the community, stakeholders and media.
  • Write a blog post. We are always looking for guest bloggers for Spaces to Places.   If you would like to write a blog post on your project, let us know.

Disbursement of Funds

  • Funds will be distributed as follows:
    • Request check request via email to hmoskerintz@realtors.org
      • Include to whom to make the check out to and a mailing address.
      • Checks can be payable to your association or board, or an organization (we will need the Tax ID number and phone number) but not to a government agency. 
    • Submit proof of how funds were spent.
      • Acceptable forms of proof include an invoice, signed contract, receipts, and cancelled checks.
    • The request for reimbursement must be made within 1 year from when the application was approved.
    • Once all documentation is received, NAR will process the check request.
    •  It usually takes ten working days to two weeks for the check to be processed and mailed out.
  • Associations will not be able to submit another application for one year if funds were not used as described in application.

For more information on the Placemaking Grant, contact Holly Moskerintz at 202-383-1157.

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