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.

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Why Microgrants

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.


Focus on Economic Opportunity and Equity

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.

Wellbeing Microgrants Awarded!

Microgrants have been awarded for the second round of the City of Santa Monica’s Wellbeing Microgrants program!

Out of 14 total applications, these six projects were selected. In creative and exceptional ways, they each focus on aspects of economic opportunity including start ups, financial literacy, and small business support. Selection was based on the Evaluation Criteria listed on the application.

Marco Marin - Buy Pico Campaign

Buy Pico Campaign will help connect small businesses in the Pico neighborhood to resources and new business, and will be an inflection point to create the reaction of economic development.

Project Date: September 7th, Buy Local Health and Fitness Festival, 11am-4pm

More Info

Monika Armendariz - Bring the Community Together Wednesdays

This series will bring people together to learn the skills and techniques of jewelry-making. Attendees will learn how to make and sell their own jewelry products to generate extra income and give back to local small businesses.

Project Dates: Every Wednesday, June 12 through August 28, Virginia Avenue Park Patio Room, 6:00-8:00pm

More Info

Inés Garcia - Oaxacan Craft Business

The goal of this Microgrant project is to demonstrate and share traditional Oaxacan culture with the Pico neighborhood community of Santa Monica, through selling traditional products.

Project Date: September 7th, Buy Local Health and Fitness Festival, 11am-4pm

More Info

Kimberley Herron - Beauty Supply Store/Hair Parlor

To help bridge needs in the community, this one day event will include a pop up Beauty Supply Store/Hair Parlor bringing barbers, hair stylists, and community together

Project Dates: September 28th, October 26th, Virginia Avenue Park Thelma Terry Room

More Info

Somya Munjal - Building Humble Confidence Through Economic Empowerment

This project will share simple business skills, tools for socioeconomic empowerment, and leadership for middle school students, and will challenge young peoples’ mindsets through listening skills and building empathy.

Project Date: September 3rd

More Info

Linda Myers - Money and Financial Improvement Classes

Learn about improving your financial and money wellness (including credit) and how to implement the knowledge that has been gained.

Project Dates: August 5th and August 12th, Virginia Avenue Park Patio Room, 6:00pm-8:00pm

More Info


Check back for more Microgrant opportunities.

Next Steps

The Office of Civic Wellbeing met with each grantee to finalize implementation plans and measurement. On Tuesday, June 4th, a Community Reception with the Mayor officially kicked off this round of Microgrants. The projects are underway!

This is still a new process for all involved, with City staff learning alongside community members. We are excited to get the projects started. Thanks for joining us!

Microgrant activities will be posted to the website as project dates are confirmed. This initiative is a key component of the first phase of the Pico Wellbeing Project.

Project Inspiration and Ideas

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!

Wellbeing Microgrants
How would you use $500 to improve your community?


Wellbeing Microgrants
How would you use $500 to improve your community?