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How to Fund Your Placemaking Project

The hardest part of placemaking is funding.

There is no shortage of ideas or people willing to pitch in, but getting the money in place to make it happen is a challenge. In most placemaking projects, there isn’t just one generous benefactor—but many small contributors. When it comes to funding civic enhancement, attraction, and retention efforts via placemaking grants, your funding will typically involve a mix of sources.

Where to Go for Placemaking Project Grants

There are two types of placemaking projects and the model you choose will determine the pathway to funders. 

If you’re involved in a creative placemaking project, such as public art or cultural events that improve the quality of life, look for arts organizations and beautification grants. If your project is more about strategic placemaking, it is likely to be a collaboration between public, nonprofit, and private interests.  Your funding can come from a variety of sources, including governmental agencies and community organizations.

Either way, you may be able to find grants from local, state, federal, and non-governmental initiatives.  Here’s how to start your search.

1. Local Placemaking Initiatives

Look for community initiatives in local communities. Charlotte, NC, for example, awards annual placemaking grants for specific uses, such as art and beautification, creation of community gathering spaces, streetscape improvements, and activation of underutilized public spaces.

2. State Creative Placemaking Initiatives

Many states also offer creative placemaking grants, including 36 state arts agencies. For example, in the state of Indiana, the state’s Housing and Community Development Authority and Office of Community and Rural Affairs offer placemaking grants.

3. Federal Placemaking Initiatives

Two of the largest organizations that provide creative placemaking grants are the National Endowment for the Arts “Our Town” initiative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development division.

4. Non-Governmental Placemaking Initiatives

Not all placemaking grants will come from government sources. The National Association of Realtors offers microgrants in communities. 

Other sources include:

You can also search for additional funding sources using the Foundation Directory Online.

Crowdfunding Campaigns

Another popular path for raising funds for placemaking initiatives is crowdfunding. Ioby specializes in working with community groups to crowdfund placemaking initiatives. An acronym for “in our backyards,” ioby is dedicated to giving local leaders the resources they need to build real and lasting change. It’s helped raise more than $10 million to launch more than 2,400 civic projects.

How We Can Help

Working with clients that are tackling the most important issues in the world, we offer the right people and right technology tools to get your message heard.  Start a conversation today and let us help with your placemaking projects.


About the author

Debbie Schramm is the President at Saxum, a digital agency obsessed for good. You can follow her on LinkedIn for insights into crisis management, public affairs, and people development.