What is the Chicago Community Grant Program?
This program engages grassroots programs being run in Chicago, or by Chicagoans. Microgrants will help fund community projects that engage residents, produce direct action, create collaborations between different groups, utilize several of the 10 Burning Man Principles, and creatively tackle problems. We are looking to fund programs that have a clear civic and service-oriented goal, and are direct in their ability to work with and create positive change for the greater Chicago community. Microgrants can be used for sustainable projects such as a neighborhood garden project, purchasing extra supplies for a children’s art program, helping fund a community library, or your unique idea!
The Microgrant Salon serves a variety of purposes in a single evening:
- sharing the table
- theater and immersion
- a chance to make a difference
- a means of participatory democracy
- a setting for dynamic conversation and debate
- networking and the development of a shared vision
- a frame of reference for communities to connect and bond
How does the Salon work?
The Salon is a semi annual dinner occurring in the spring and fall. Prospective grantees submit proposals to us 1-2 months prior to the Salon, and submissions are reviewed by the Selection Committee. Among all the applicants, 4 are selected to give a 10 minute presentation at the Salon. A representative must be available to present at the Salon in order to be eligible for the grant.
The Salon is open to the public, and a $5-$10 sliding scale donation is requested. After hearing the 4 presentations, attendees will vote for the project they believe most deserves to be awarded a microgrant of up to $1,000. After the voting, everyone gathers together to eat dinner and connect with other amazing Chicagoans who care about their community. After dinner, the votes are tallied and the grant recipient is announced.
Who is eligible to apply?
Projects must be based in Chicago. Neighborhood groups, organizations, and grassroots projects located in Chicago may apply. This includes — but is not limited to — community clubs, art groups, service organizations, citizen parks and recreational organizations, nonprofits, and individuals.
How much can you ask for?
An applicant may request up to $1,500. Grants may be less than $1,000, depending on the funding available for each grant cycle.
What types of proposals will likely not get funded by this program?
If your project has a budget of tens of thousands of dollars, and/or you have significant corporate sponsorship, our grant is unlikely to make a significant difference to your project and it will not likely be selected.
Further, if you do not submit a project budget which is specific and clear on how our grant will be utilized, it is unlikely to be funded.
If your project’s main purpose is art for art’s sake (whether it be visual or performance art), and it does not directly provide assistance for people or contribute to change in the community, it will likely not be chosen. Check out the Art Grant portion on this website!
If your project primarily impacts people living in another state or country, it will likely not get selected. This program is for Chicago-based projects.
How does this develop community and collaboration?
All projects will carry the expectation that volunteerism from the larger community will be encouraged and accepted.
What follow-up will be expected by grant recipients?
All participants will be expected to submit reports on what they have done and learned in the course of their projects. These reports will be in addition to a full accounting for the microgrant and will be posted to the website. A short five minute summary of project at the next salon will be requested.
Will small amounts of money really make a difference?
In many cases, the money involved will not seem small to the project participants. In fact, the projects most likely to be funded are the ones for which a microgrant will make a significant impact. In addition to the direct impact of the money, we will be encouraging people to bring their ideas forward, share their talents and momentum with others, and more faithfully connect their work with the 10 Principles of Burning Man.
How does this differ from art grants?
While art may be involved in the projects, the primary goals and activities of the projects granted money through this program will be organized around community service, rather than creation of an art piece. Further, everyone present at the Salon collectively decides which project will be awarded the grant, rather than a specialized jury process, as is the case for most art grants.
My proposal wasn’t selected last time. Can I submit again?
Yes! Projects who have received a grant through this program must wait a full year to resubmit. Anyone else is welcome to submit again as many times as they would like.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Submit your proposal here by April 2nd: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ckPK6unGDApAkwqdW2dU2XDvmHVTxcQVfQLaw4Df2H4/viewform