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CurbedWire: Oversized Book Return, Neighborhood Council Grants

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SILVER LAKE: The under-construction new Silver Lake Library on Glendale Blvd now has an interesting and puzzling architectural feature. Giant book return? Pizza delivery slot? Anyone? [Curbed Staff]

LOS ANGELES: Following that recent meeting that the Mayor had with all the heads of neighborhoods councils comes this related news: A law takes effect on March 30 that gives neighborhood councils more power to provide grants—using a portion of their annual city funding—to support their own neighborhood improvement projects . According to a release from the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE), to be applicable the "neighborhood purposes grant must provide a demonstrable benefit to the community. Projects may encompass a wide range and can include, the arts, beautification, community support, education, and community improvements.The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment has the final discretion to determine whether or not the proposed project is clearly beneficial to the community, according to the release. [Curbed InBox]

What is a Public Benefit?

A Neighborhood Purposes Grant (NPG) must provide a demonstrable benefit to the community.
An NPG should build community through the implementation process and enhance the neighborhood
once completed. Projects may encompass a wide range and can include, but are not limited to:

• The Arts
• Beautification
• Community Support
• Education
• Community Improvements.

The Department of Neighborhood Empowerment has the final discretion to determine whether or not the proposed project is clearly beneficial to the community.

A project may be submitted that is part of a larger project, but if so, consider carefully whether it can be completed independently of the larger project and regardless of whether other funding needs to be secured.

Considerations:

• The budget is realistic and supported with documentation
• The organization or individual is capable of completing the project
• The work plan is detailed, specific, and feasible
• The project is supported by the community
• The number of stakeholders that will benefit from this project
• The project implementation process will build community
• The complete project will enhance the community

• Credibility. Does the organization know what it wants to accomplish? What is the evidence that the organization is currently achieving its goals? What kind of reputation does the group enjoy within its community and beyond?

• Capability. What skills does the organization’s staff and board bring to the project? Are they relevant to the project’s aims? Has the organization succeeded in similar endeavors of equal size and scale to what they are now proposing? In short, you want to find out if the staff and board of the applicant organization can effectively carry out the project or program.

• Feasibility. Your Neighborhood Council must determine whether the proposal is advancing a worthwhile project built upon a good idea that can be successfully implemented by the organization. The question of feasibility touches upon both credibility and capability; an organization without credibility of capability is not a practical community partner. Simply put: can the project be done? Consult the budget to make certain that the organization has allocated sufficient resources to execute the various tasks and strategies described in the proposal.

• Importance. Beyond the question of can and will a project be completed, the Neighborhood Council must ask: should it be done? Is the project significant? Is there evidence that the proposal will trigger action or work that the community wants? Will it make a difference in the community it purports to aid or resolve the issue it addresses? Given your other opportunities for issuing grants, is it the right one to support at this time?