City of St. Louis Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative

Year Complete: 2014
Grant Amount: $50,000
Local Government: City of St. Louis, MO
Local Foundation: William A. Kerr Foundation LLC, Incarnate Word Foundation, Trio Foundation of St. Louis, Greater East St. Louis Community Fund, Missouri Foundation for Health

Project Purpose

To directly connect the Sustainability Director with community funders and interested citizens by encouraging collaboration and action supporting sustainability projects at an individual and neighborhood scale.

Key Lessons Learned

Lessons learned about tools and tactics through the project that other sustainability directors could use to advance their work.

Brief monthly grant reports proved to be a great way to stay in touch with the teams, keep them on track, and encourage communication about any challenges they faced.  Additionally, the marketing, application process, and implementation period of this grant program was a useful capacity-building and network-strengthening tool.  A dedicated project manager was also useful to act as a liaison between small grant recipients and grant partners, and to capture the outcomes and lessons from the winning projects in a way that made information actionable and replicable by other neighborhood groups.

Also, the grant team noted that working with a public television organization was an excellent way to leverage its expertise in production and reach into a broad regional audience.

Lessons for developing a collaborative process between a local government sustainability director and local place-based foundation(s).

Clear communication with funders about their grant process and funding priorities at the start of collaboration helped the sustainability director better articulate the relevance of sustainability to a diverse group of funders.  Dedicating plenty of time to the formulation of the grant idea, the drafting of the grant application, and the preparation for implementing the proposed activities helped create successful products.

Additional Information and Resources

The City of St. Louis Sustainable Neighborhood Initiative is an effort to implement several aspects of the City of St. Louis Sustainability Plan and the Mayor’s Action Agenda.  More information on the various tools and programs of this initiative can be found here.