Neighborhood Assist program offering Philly nonprofits a grant to effect change in their community

Last year, Neighborhood Bike Works received a grant from State Farm that went to developing their youth programs. | Photo via neighborhoodbikeworks.orgIn an inventive effort to discover just where and how their customers want their company to lend philanthropic support, last year State Farm Insurance launched the community outreach initiative, “Cause An Effect.” The program asked community groups to propose an idea for bettering their neighborhood then, apply for a $25,000 to make it happen. If State Farm’s Youth Advisory Board chose the idea as one of the top 200, the group was then responsible for rallying to get the most “votes” possible via social media. The top 40 received grants.

The program was so successful that it’s back this year as the “Neighborhood Assist” program. “Our focus is on effecting change in the community through direct engagement, eliminating the barrier of turfs and neighborhoods and bringing resources together,” says Dave Phillips, the regional State Farm spokesman. As was seen last year, even the groups that didn’t win the challenge were able to seize the opportunity to make their causes known.

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GRinCH to support young sustainability leaders with Green Warrior grant program

In an effort to promote environmental stewardship and community involvement among youths in their neighborhood, the Green in Chestnut Hill (GRinCH) service group is currently accepting applications for their Green Warrior Student Grant Program. Whether it’s a one-day park clean-up event, a year-long composting initiative, or something as simple as recycling bins for school, GRinCH will award grants of up to $500 to help local students and student groups contribute to a greener, cleaner Chestnut Hill. There is no minimum grant amount.

Who should apply:

  • Students up to Grade 12 attending Chestnut Hill schools
  • Chestnut Hill school or after‐school clubs
  • School‐aged residents of Chestnut Hill

Applications for the first round of grants are due by Friday, March 1, 2013. To request the grant application and guidelines, or to donate to the grant program, contact GRinCH at: For more information on GRinCH, visit

PEGGY PAUL is a freelance editor, writer, and recipe developer (and part-time produce peddler) living in Philadelphia. On her blog, she shares seasonal recipes, cooking tips and inspirations.

City Spending: The Merchants Fund offers another round of grants to local businesses

Image via the challenging economic times don’t seem to improving, The Merchants Fund (TMF) is offering local Philadelphia businesses another chance to stay in the black.

TMF, a private fund that evolved out of the Mercantile Beneficial Association, is set to award another round of grants to keep local Philly businesses stable and viable. The Fund was established in 1854 to provide grants to established Philadelphia businesses facing financial hardship.

This fall, they are awarding business stabilization grants, up to $10,000, as well as business loan matches, ranging from $10,001 to $20,000.

Grant applications are due Friday, Sept. 14, but a preliminary project discussion is mandatory first to strengthen applications and discuss project goals. Only businesses legally established for at least three years in Philadelphia are eligible.

For more information on TMF, how to apply for grants, and past funded projects, visit

City Spending: The Merchants Fund offers grants for Philly businesses

Image via technicallyphilly.comThe current economic situation can make running a successful business these days a challenge. But for established Philadelphia merchants, there is a local option for help. The Merchants Fund, a private foundation established in 1854, offers financial assistance to current Philadelphia merchants demonstrating legitimate financial need. In the past they’ve given grants to city favorites like Metropolitan Bread, Fabric Horse and Feast Your Eyes Catering. This winter they're offering two grant opportunities: a $10,000 Business Stabilization grant and a $10,001 to $20,000 Business Loan Matches grant.

The application deadline is Wednesday, February 15. However, all applicants must complete a preliminary discussion about their project and application prior to that date. This preliminary meeting helps focus and strengthen applications. For more information about The Merchants Fund and how to apply for the upcoming grants, visit For printable applications and detailed guidelines, contact the Fund directly at or call 215-399-1339.