Advisory Neighborhood Commissions are charged with many tasks and responsibilities. One of which, according to DC Code § 1-207.38, is to "expend, for public purposes within its neighborhood commission area, public funds and other funds donated to it..." (dccode.org)
In my notes from the September ANC 4C meeting, I grumbled at how much money the ANC had and how few grants have been given out this year. It got me and a neighbor, Loren Schulman, thinking about why there weren't more grants and some ways the ANC could spend some of that money on behalf of the community. Is it that people and community groups don't realize they can request grants (up to $500)?
In repetition of my prior comments, ANC 4C has a combined savings / checking of close to $30K, while 4D has less, at around $10K (it's a smaller ANC). No one is interested in spending money for the sake of spending; however, as the funds exist and from looking around the neighborhood, the need exists, we thought it would be a good idea to reach out to the community at large to ask people for ideas and suggestions on activities that might qualify for an ANC grant. (Not everything will.). We’re hoping that sharing these ideas can get the ball rolling and connect neighbors and ANC commissioners interested in partnering on applications and activities.
Bear in mind, as a community, it's our money (literally, as it's tax-payer funded). Surely we can find ways to support, improve or strengthen the neighborhood with small grants for beautification, printing flyers for neighborhood socials/meet-ups and community building or clean-up efforts?
The plan Loren and I hatched is to collect ideas and suggestions from neighbors via an online form for the next few weeks, and then we will share the ideas to the ANC at the next meeting. ANC commissioners can then follow up with the idea proposers and neighbors to develop the grant application and bring it to the ANC.
Or perhaps in the process of brainstorming we can link up neighbors with similar inspirations, or a few groups will form that can spearhead these ideas and turn them into reality. We'll figure that last part out as we get closer depending on interest (and we're happy to include you in the process — just contact us).
If you know about past successful uses of ANC grant funds (in 4C, 4D or elsewhere), leave a comment below or in the comments section of the form.
Form closes on October 10th, so submit your ideas before then!
OK, some caveats and disclaimers. First, this form and idea is NOT affiliated with ANC 4C or 4D. Using this form is NOT the way to submit a real grant request. To submit a request, you need to follow the guidelines and contact your Single Member District (SMD) ANC Commissioner. Read the outdated ANC Grant Guidelines to get an idea of how it works and what is allowable for a grant.
Also note that ANC 4C voted in February 2015 to reduce the the allowable amount of a grant from $1,000 to $500 (see Rule 10, page 1). According to 4C07 Commissioner John-Paul Hayworth, "The grant reduction to $500 was done to bring ANC4C in line with the law." If you're so inclined, you can read my notes on the February meeting on Facebook.
Note that ANCs are not permitted to fund certain activities or purchases (specifically, "food or entertainment or to support festivals"). From section III, page 3:
III. Examples of Grants Which Are Prohibited
- Grant awards should not be made for non-public purposes or where services are provided for personal gain.
- Grant awards should not be made conditional on a grantee’s political support or support of a position taken by the Commission.
- Grant awards should not be made to a District agency or program funded by the District Government.
- Grant awards should not be made where the funds will be used to purchase food and/or entertainment, or to support festivals.
- Grant awards should not be made to an individual in that they are deemed non-public purpose expenditure.
If you have a grant request, you need to fill out the paperwork, get all your ducks in a row and contact your Commissioner. Here's how to find your SMD and Commissioner:
- Find your SMD on the Map >
- Find your ANC 4C Commissioner >
(Note: 4C's page is out of date, as Maloney and Williams have resigned. Maria Barry will be taking over for Maloney in 4C02.)
Looking forward to seeing the ideas people come up with!