Annual Public Engagement Grant Program
If your organization has a public engagement project that could use financial support, our Annual Public Engagement Grant Program may be just what you need. This year marks our 8th consecutive year of offering funded consulting services to California's cities, counties, special districts and civic organizations on a variety of issues.
From difficult budget decisions to tough land use problems, municipal and civic institutions are recognizing that legitimately engaging their citizens - from discovering their informed opinions, to inviting their participation in actual solutions - should be a pragmatic priority. Still, the tight budgets that most require these public discussions can also preclude them when municipalities decide that engaging residents is just "too expensive." Made possible through funding from the James Irvine Foundation's California Democracy Fund, the Davenport Institute Public Engagement Grants seek to help municipalities overcome that hurdle
Starting in 2008 (then conducted through Common Sense California), our grants have been used in communities from Humboldt County to San Diego and from San Francisco to Riverside. This year, we anticipate awarding 2-4 grants. The minimum individual grant amount will be $5,000 and the maximum individual grant amount will be $20,000. Prior to beginning their public engagement campaign, grantees will receive training and consultation from the Davenport Institute to build understanding and support for the civic engagement effort amongst both administrative staff and elected officials.
Please join us in congratulating each of our 2015 grantees (listed in alphabetical order):
- City of La Palma: This Orange County City faces a significant structural deficit and is looking to engage residents in discussions about some challenging budget options that may impact the "character and traditions of the city." La Palma has planned an extensive process to involve residents in these important discussions.
- County of Marin: Heading up to northern California, the Institute is pleased to work with a county that is facing a severe housing crisis as it seeks to engage new voices from diverse segments of the community to develop action plans and solutions to overcome barriers to fair housing.
- Participatory Budgeting Project: For the second time, a Davenport Institute Grant will be used to support a Participatory Budgeting program. We worked with PBP in Vallejo in 2012 and are excited to work with the City of Long Beach heading into 2016. PB allows residents to determine what they would like a city to do with a particular fund set aside for the purpose.
- City of Riverside: This is not the first time the Institute has worked with the City of Riverside which is undertaking a number of Interesting projects to institutionalize engagement within their City. This grant will seek to engage residents in decisions affecting vacant and underutilized properties (including City-owned land) through development of a "Northside Specific Plan."