Impact Framingham to Give Away Grants for Improving Community
After being forced to sell the Framingham Civic League building, the league's board is using the proceeds to give grants for projects that will impact the community; deadline to apply is this Thursday.
Impact Framingham was created out of money from the sale of the Framingham Civic League building at 214 Concord St. The League owned the building for nearly 100 years before they sold it to the Boston Church of Christ in 2010. Now, the newly formed Impact Framingham is using the building sale proceeds to hand out money for projects that will improve life in town.
“Maybe somebody wants to paint a mural in the downtown or maybe they want to host a block party in their neighborhood because they think that will improve their community,” said Impact Framingham board member Betsy Fishman. “We’re hoping that anyone who’s got an idea or need or desire will apply.”
Impact Framingham may grant any proposal that fits in with the original mission of the Framingham Civic League: creating cultural, educational, civic and benevolent opportunities in Framingham.
What makes the Impact Framingham grants stand out from others is their small size: they are looking to fund projects for as little as $200 to as much as thousands of dollars. Grant recipients do not have to be not-for-profit organizations, either.
Impact Framingham board member Bob Berman said, since this is their first grant cycle, they really don’t know what to expect.
“We’re casting as wide a net as we can and hoping to get as many interesting and creative ideas as we can find,” Berman said.
Fishman expects to receive a flurry of applications as Thursday's Dec. 1 deadline approaches.
Grant recipients will be announced no later than February 15, at which time the organization will be cutting checks.
The opening of the grant application cycle marks the end of a long period of upheaval for the Framingham Civic League.
Berman remembered the night when the league’s executive director sat the board down and said they couldn’t afford to keep the building operating and run their community programming – something had to change. That was a hard night, Berman recalled, and a series of difficult decisions followed.
Now that board members have reinvented the organization as Impact Framingham and are on the verge of handing out money, there is a great deal of optimism as they await grant applications.
It’s a relief not to worry about running a large, old building, Berman said, adding they don’t have to worry about the boiler but “still have an opportunity to make a big impact in the community like we always did.”
Impact Framingham expects to have at least one grant cycle per year and hopes to be able to offer two cycles annually. Board members will refine those plans after this round of grants.
In the meantime, there is simply a lot of enthusiasm.
“I am so excited for this, I can’t even tell you,” Fishman said. “I am looking forward to seeing what’s going on out there, to seeing what great ideas people have, and to supporting as many ideas as we possibly can.”
Those interested in applying for an Impact Framingham grant can view grant guidelines and download the application at www.impactframingham.org and apply online or by mail.