Germantown United Community Development Corporation (GUCDC) announced last week that it will offer micro-grants to individuals and organizations who want to beautify the town’s business corridor as part of a new bi-annual program called “Fund for Germantown – Programs for Progress.”
The grants will range from $100 to $1,000, with an overall budget of $8,000 per cycle. There will be two grant cycles per year. Funded projects may range from public art to facade improvement, and from tree planting to vacant property mitigation.
GUCDC, which officially incorporated in 2011 and became a 501(c)3 in 2012, aims to improve the face of Germantown’s business corridor – specifically, Germantown Avenue, Chelton Avenue, Maplewood Mall, as well as side streets in the immediate vicinity — while working with the community that lives and works within it.
Big Changes, Small Budgets
Any person, business, or organization can submit a project, although the grants are more directed at individuals and small businesses that may not have as many resources as larger organizations to purchase materials for projects. The range of projects that can be funded is purposefully vast so that more types of improvement can occur.
“The idea was to keep [the grants] small, and that way, potentially, the money could be spread to many different areas, and to many different groups in Germantown,” said Andy Trackman, GUCDC’s recently hired executive director.
The grants will be funded by two real estate developers: Howard Trackman, who lives in Germantown, and Ken Weinstein, who lives in greater Northwest Philadelphia. Their inspiration comes from a shared desire with GUCDC to improve the face of their area with a belief that big changes can happen on small budgets.
Sharing Solutions in Northwest Philly
One of the inspirations for the Fund for Germantown was a similar program run by Weavers Way Co-op in Mount Airy. The co-ops’s Environment Committee Community Grants are for community groups in Northwestern Philadelphia that want to engage in environmentally focused projects that have clear effects on the areas that the groups serve. These grants range from $100 to $400 and are made from donations received by the co-op.
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Trackman said that GUCDC’s grant program aligns with its overall goals because it engages the neighborhood that it serves directly, while keeping in mind the type of people who exist within that neighborhood: a bounty of artists.
“Part of our mission is to revitalize Germantown through a creative, sustainable, and community-driven approach to economic development,” he said. “So, the creativity comes in supporting those kinds of beautifications projects that the community comes up with, but also that the large artists’ community in Germantown can also participate in and potentially benefit from.”
The inaugural round of applications are due by July 1, with funding decisions announced on July 31. The second round will be due by December 1, with funding decisions announced on December 31.
More information can be found at GUCDC’s website, http://germantownunitedcdc.org/wp/fund-for-germantown/.-30-
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