One of our family’s favorite hallmarks of summer is Seattle’s Annual “Night Out” – a city-wide event of local gatherings for the purpose of encouraging neighbors to come together and deter crime. In north Wallingford, this usually takes the form of good eats, cold drinks and kids on bicycles whizzing around a closed off street. I love the chance to get to know people who live in houses I pass by all of the time and hear about concerns or ideas directly related to our ‘hood.
If your block has not yet picked up the tradition, it’s easy to get started with quick instructions and invitations here. This year’s event is Tuesday, August 2nd.
And if you need more inspiration, the Seattle Small Sparks Fund is offering matching funds for neighborhood-initiated projects that promote community engagement and relationship building. Community groups can request up to $1000 to help fund Night Out activities such as outreach materials, cultural entertainment, music, food, and kids’ activities, to name a few.
I spoke with Allynn Ruth, one of the Neighborhood Matching Fund Project Managers, who explained a few extra details. While the funds are matching, they don’t need to be matched in dollars. Neighbors can come together and provide volunteer time, food or other resources in their application and receive the matching funds. The funds must be requested by a group, but it can be an informal gathering of neighbors that are working together on the Night Out or another project.
The deadline for Night Out applications to the Small Sparks fund is Friday, July 1 at 5:00 p.m. (Funds are available for projects year-round, and applications are due 6 weeks in advance of projects.) For more information, and to register and apply for funds, head to the Small Sparks website. Note that it can take up to 48 hours to receive a password to complete the application, so start there. Allynn is very happy to answer questions and offered her direct line: 206-684-0301.
Has anyone applied for and received funds? What will you be applying for this year?