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 will provide up to $500 for ideas that are focused on small scale action to improve community wellbeing.

Wellbeing Microgrants Awarded!

Microgrants have been awarded for the City of Santa Monica's Wellbeing Microgrants pilot program!

Out of 21 total applications, these eight projects were selected. In creative and exceptional ways, they each focus on aspects of community including trust, loneliness, inclusivity, and social interaction. Selection was based on the Evaluation Criteria listed below. 


Microgrant Winners!

Escuchamos para entendar

Escuchamos para entender: Las caras de Pico / We Listen To Understand: The Faces of Pico

This project brings together elementary age students from the Edison Language Academy and Spanish-speaking senior citizens in Pico. The students will record Spanish-language interviews with seniors about their lives.

Fiesta de escucha, 18 de diciembre en Edison / Save the Date: Listening Party, December 18 at Edison

Pop-Up Adventure Playground

At the Pop-Up Adventure Playground, neighbors of all ages are invited to work together to transform an empty lot into an urban oasis of connection, creativity, and child-directed play.

October 21, 2018, 1-4pm, Lot at 2018 19th Street

Canastas de flores de papel periódico: una serie de talleres

Se realizarán una serie de talleres para gente de la tercera edad en los que se elaborarán canastas de papel periódico.

Los viernes 28 de septiembre hasta el 16 de noviembre (el 2 de noviembre se cancela) en el parquet Virginia – Patio Room, 6-7pm

Clases de cocina saludable en el mercado de agricultores

Una serie de talleres que compartirán recetas simples y saludables para alentar las conexiones de la comunidad para niños, adolescentes y padres. 

Los sábados 29 de septiembre, 27 de octubre, 10 7 24 de noviembre y 1 de diciembre en parque Virginia, 11am-12pm

¡Más información a seguir!

Bajando el estrés mientras aprendiendo a tejer

A series of knitting classes emphasizing stress relief through manual activities for residents of the Pico neighborhood. 

Los jueves 27 de septiembre hasta el 25 de octubre de 2018 en el parque Virginia - Annex, 6:30-8pm

Latinx/Ethiopian Community Workshops

A set of workshops that bring together the Latinx and Ethiopian communities in the Pico neighborhood to discuss shared experiences and challenges.

Details coming soon!


Check back for more Microgrant opportunities.



Next Steps

The Office of Civic Wellbeing has met with each grantee to finalize implementation plans and measurement, and the Mayor awarded their checks at an informal Virginia Avenue Park community reception on August 27. The projects are now on their way! This is 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.






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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 piloting 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 will award up to $500 to support individuals who want to implement ideas that focus on small scale action to improve community wellbeing.


Focus on Community

Based on key findings from the Wellbeing Index, we will be looking to strengthen Community - one of the six dimensions the City uses to measure our wellbeing progress. We have identified four specific areas within the Community dimension that need improvement and would like to identify and fund resident-lead initiatives that can improve one or more of these areas, with an emphasis on the Pico neighborhood for our pilot microgrant.


Data shows particularly low rates of trust within the community. How can you increase trust between neighbors and create stronger community bonds? How can you measure progress?


At least two in every five Santa Monica residents told us they don’t feel they belong in their neighborhood. What would create a better sense of belonging in your neighborhood?


We know that sense of community increases with age.

Can you come up with a project that crosses generations?


13% of Santa Monicans socialize with friends or relatives less than once a month. What can you do to increase opportunities for friends and neighbors to get together?




Applications Open
Help Session PICO LIBRARY, 4-7PM
Microgrant Info Booth VIRGINA AVENUE PARK, 10AM - 1PM At the Pico Wellbeing Project Community event


Application Deadline 5PM
Judging Deadline
Grants Awarded


Grantee Orientation
Project Begin

What we're looking for

  • An application must be filled out in full and submitted by the listed dates
  • Lead organizer/grantee must be a current Santa Monica resident
  • Project must take place within Santa Monica City limits, with priority given to the Pico neighborhood and its residents
  • Must have one primary contact who is responsible for fiscal interactions, communication with the City, tracking of metrics and delivering of post-event report
  • Must have at least one additional contact person
  • At least one main contact person must be over 18 years old
  • Project must be able to be executed with grant funds and community support and cannot rely on City staff or other City resources
  • Project must be able to measurably impact a component within the Community dimension of the Wellbeing Index as briefly described above (more information at www.smgov.net/wellbeing)
  • Grantee must commit to track City designated metrics and submit a post-event report, due within two weeks of project completion (to include: photos, video, data)
  • Grantee must track and deliver a detailed budget of all Microgrant expenditures


  • Non-profits, businesses and other entities are not eligible (individuals only)
  • All funds must be used for the community project and cannot be used for organizational or personal fundraising or be put toward any specific business interests
  • No more than one initial grant (up to $500) will be awarded to each project (microgrants funds cannot be pooled)
  • Funds cannot be used for any political or religious activities nor can they be used for any political campaigns, rallies or fundraisers
  • Projects must not alter or permanently affect any public or private space without expressed written consent
  • Project applicant is responsible for compliance with all IRS regulations (if, for any reason, you receive over $600 from the City within one calendar year, you are responsible for completion of W9 to report funding)


Application Screening

Applications will be reviewed to determine whether they meet the guidelines. The proposals that meet all the guidelines will proceed to the second phase of the review

Application Evaluation

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.

Application Selection and 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.

Evaluation Criteria

Viability (20%)

How possible is the idea/project within the available funding and timeline?

Community Dimension Impact (20%)

Does this project address; Trust, Loneliness, Inclusivity and/or Social interactions?

Diversity and Inclusion (20%)

Does the project include a diverse group of stakeholders and participants across age, race and gender?

Continued Impact (20%)

How will the idea/project continue to impact the community after the microgrant period?

Areas of need (20%)

Does this project address an area of need as indicated by findings from the Wellbeing Index? We are targeting projects in the Pico neighborhood for our first round of Microgrants.

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


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