Wellbeing Microgrants are a new approach to engage and support Santa Monica residents looking to make a positive change in their community. Designed to empower residents, the City provides up to $500 for ideas that are focused on small scale action to improve community wellbeing. This initiative is a key component of the first phase of the Pico Wellbeing Project.
City government alone cannot address community wellbeing. We need to create ways for everyone, from individual residents to nonprofits and private businesses, to do what they can to move the needle on wellbeing, so that our City reflects the best of all of us. This is why we are taking a new approach to engage and support Santa Monica residents through Wellbeing Microgrants. Using funds provided by the Culture of Health Prize from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the City awards up to $500 to support individuals who want to implement ideas that focus on small scale action to improve community wellbeing.
The City's Wellbeing Index revealed that many of residents are facing economic challenges. 1 in 4 residents is living paycheck to paycheck or struggling to get by financially, facing worries about paying their rent or mortgage. 49% say their job is very stressful, and 60% don't think there is enough opportunity here for their children to be able to afford to live here when they are adults. While many of these issues require big solutions, microgrants focused on Economic Opportunity can help in small ways that have a big impact – they pay for skills training to increase options for better employment, kickstart a new business, or provide the basics needed to create a co-op with community members that provides the services you need at no cost at all.
Please feel free to use this list for inspiration or apply with an original idea of your own! Links are provided throughout for resources that may inspire you.
Please Note: The Project Inspiration and Ideas presented below will not receive priority or favor in the microgrant application process, they are merely being shared as possible inspiration and to help spur ideas. All ideas are welcome.
Through the Pico Wellbeing Project, residents have shared dozens of creative and rich ideas for how to increase economic opportunity in the Pico neighborhood. For example, residents identified “trainings on financial management, literacy, and health” and “savings to reduce debt (for youth, too)” as needs in the community. How could $500 support the community in one of these areas?
To see a full list of community-identified ideas for economic opportunity, click here.
Could $500 help you meet your goals of starting a business or social enterprise? Apply for a microgrant to help get your business off the ground.
In the Art in Storefronts program in San Francisco, artists pair with small businesses to beautify storefronts and showcase their work.
Co-ops (Cooperatives) are a great model for building community wealth and support structures. Do you have an idea to form a co-op to meet your needs?
Babysitting co-ops can be a useful model to support busy parents.
Do you want to vend your product or food? Are you close to starting your vending business but just need a small boost to get things moving?
Sidewalk Vending policy changes are coming to Santa Monica. This could be a great opportunity to get started.
Are you interested in sharing your skills with others? Do you want to support professional, creative, or skill-based growth among your neighbors? Or, is there a training that would help you get your professional skills to the next level in your own career?
Stories shared through Minnesota’s MicroGrants program include examples of training or skill-building that got grantees to the next level economically. Check them out and see what works for you!
Applications will be reviewed to determine whether they meet the Guidelines. Applications that meet all Guidelines will proceed to the second phase of review.
Applications will be reviewed on the basis of the Evaluation Criteria (see below). The ratings of all reviewers will be aggregated. Favorably reviewed applications will be considered for funding.
Once final evaluation is completed, consideration will be given to reviewer feedback, available funds, and the intent to fund a diverse mix of ideas and projects.
How possible is the idea/project within the available funding and timeline?
Does this project address Economic Opportunity?
Does the project include a diverse group of stakeholders and participants across age, race and gender?
Does this project bring together residents in the Santa Monica community? For our second round of Microgrants, we hope to support projects that benefit the community by sharing learning, tools and strategies from individual successes.
How will the idea/project continue to make an impact after the Microgrant period?