Event Details

2020 Community Placemaking grants



Start Date: 11/22/2019 12:01 AM

End Date: 02/12/2020 12:00 PM

The Community Placemaking program supports creative, community-driven projects that strengthen social fabric, foster connection to place and involve and benefit communities of color and other historically marginalized communities.

Important dates

Nov. 22: Applications open
Feb. 3 at noon: Applications due
late April: Awards announced
after July 1: Funds available, grant-funded activities can begin
early fall 2021: Projects should be complete

Metro will award up to $190,000 in our next grant cycle. Get started by reading the application handbook. Staff is available to help think through your idea and get you ready to submit a strong application. Individualized assistance is available and encouraged. Contact information appears at the bottom of this page. You can also attend an optional information session. 

  • Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Aloha Community Library - 17455 SW Farmington Rd. Suite 6A, Aloha
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Gresham Library - 385 NW Miller Ave., Gresham
  • Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Metro Regional Center - 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland
  • Tuesday, Dec. 10 from 6 to 7 p.m. at Metro Regional Center - 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland
  • Thursday, Dec. 12 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Oak Lodge Library - 16201 SE McLoughlin Blvd., Oak Grove
  • Friday, Dec. 13 from noon to 1 p.m. at Metro Regional Center - 600 NE Grand Ave., Portland
  • Thursday, Dec. 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Midland Library - 805 SE 122nd Ave., Portland

Funding available

Up to $190,000 is available for the 2020 cycle, in grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000. No matching funds are required.

Who can apply?

Community Placemaking grants support community-driven initiatives, and partnerships are key to a competitive proposal. Given that, anyone meeting the following conditions can apply:

  • Community-based organizations with nonprofit status.
  • Community groups or individuals without nonprofit status must partner with a fiscal sponsor, such as a state certified, federally approved 501(c) nonprofit or a public agency. That fiscal sponsor must have must have a federal employer tax ID number and capacity to contract with Metro. Learn more about a fiscal sponsor’s role in the application handbook beginning on page 6.
  • Public agencies must have community partners involved in the implementation of the project and a plan to involve the broader public.
  • (New) If you are a past recipient of a Community Placemaking grant and your project was exclusively an event (spanning a single or multiple days), you may not reapply the year following your award.

Elements of a strong application

The Community Placemaking program has four objectives, each of which are followed by characteristics that make for a strong application. 

Placemaking: People’s connections to each other and to places they care about are strengthened.

  • Addresses a community challenge or opportunity
  • Prompts people to interact with each other
  • Uses art as a tool to bring people together or influence their community
  • Helps people feel a stronger connection to the place(s) where the project happens
  • Strengthens the things that make a place unique or valued

Equity: People of color and members of historically marginalized communities have power and resources to influence their neighborhoods and communities.

  • Directly benefits people of color or members of other historically marginalized communities
  • Led by or actively supported by communities of color or other historically marginalized communities
  • Strengthens cultural and community assets
  • Provides opportunities for expression of culture 

Partnerships: People’s efforts are maximized because they work in partnership with each other and with Metro.

  • Involves partnerships that bring different or new groups together
  • Encourages collaboration among community partners
  • Engages the public in the planning for and participating in the project's implementation
  • Enhances regional efforts where Metro is actively engaged

Leadership: People participate in projects and decisions that affect them.

  • Gives opportunities to emerging leaders
  • Builds individual and organizational capacity for civic engagement

Evaluating the applications

A community-based group reviews the applications and makes a funding recommendation to Metro. This group has expertise in community development, social justice, arts and cultural programming, and urban planning and are predominately people of color. The group will use your application as the primary basis for their recommendation. Make sure your proposed project is clear, compelling and sufficiently defined so they can understand how well it meets the Community Placemaking program’s objectives. They will evaluate the applications using the following questions.

  • How impactful do you think this project will be?
  • How strong are the equity and inclusion components of the proposal?
  • How feasible is the project to implement?
  • How well does it meet the objectives of the Community Placemaking program?

Application assistance

Applicants are encouraged to contact Metro staff to discuss your idea. Staff does not play a role in advocating for applicants or making the funding recommendation, and instead is available to help you make your application as strong as possible. Optional information sessions and individualized assistance are available. Contact information appears at the bottom of this page.

Minimum grant requirements

  • Projects must be located within the Urban Growth Boundary.
  • Projects must be completed by early Fall 2021.
  • Projects must be clearly achievable given proposed resources and personnel.
  • Projects proposed in public spaces must have a clear plan to gain support and appropriate permits from the local jurisdiction.
  • Teams implementing the project will be responsible for carrying insurance coverage and for the proper use, accounting and reporting of grant funds. Metro reports all grant distributions to the IRS.

Restrictions on use of funds

Community Placemaking grant funds may not be used for any of the following purposes:

  • Activities or events held outside the Portland area Urban Growth Boundary
  • Materials or costs not tied to the proposed event/project
  • Costs that may be incurred in preparing this grant application
  • General organizational support, annual appeals or fund drives
  • Direct grants or loans that primarily benefit specific individuals or businesses
  • Any attempt to: directly influence legislation or public policy; participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office; induce or encourage violations of law or public policy or improper private benefit to occur
  • Activities or events held on property whose owner discriminates against individuals or groups because of race, color creed, national origin, sex, age or disability, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, as amended; 42 U.S.C. Section 2000d; Section 303 of the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended; 42 U.S.C. Section 6102; Section 202 of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990; 42 U.S.C. Section 12132

Role of a fiscal sponsor

Community groups or individuals without nonprofit status must partner with a fiscal sponsor, such as a state certified, federally approved 501(c) nonprofit or a public agency. A fiscal sponsor plays an important role in a Community Placemaking project. Fiscal sponsors should expect to participate in the following ways.

  • Carefully review and sign the legal agreement
  • Provide insurance coverage for the duration of the grant project
  • Receive payments from Metro and distribute funds appropriately
  • Submit progress reports to Metro
  • Participate in grantee gatherings and evaluation activities