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Cities in the United States with a population of 30,000 or more are eligible to apply. Participants from the 2015 or 2018 Cities of Service Love Your Block grant programs are not eligible. Cities must also demonstrate: 

  • The capacity to recruit for and manage up to two AmeriCorps VISTA members each year and a Love Your Block Fellow for a two-year fellowship
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion. Projects should:
    • Elevate the voices of historically-excluded groups
    • Reflect community-driven solutions
    • Meaningfully engage local partners
    • Recognize residents as assets and as leaders in this work
    • Meet people where they are

Selection Criteria 

Eight cities will be selected to participate in Love Your Block. Applications will be judged on several criteria, including:

  • The nature of the public problem the city is trying to solve around blight.
  • How the proposed Impact Volunteering initiative will tackle the problem. We are looking for initiatives that tie to larger city strategies meant to address the public problem, or are tackling the problem in innovative ways that are supported by impacted residents and other stakeholders.
  • The role of resident volunteers. We are looking for cities to engage volunteers within the neighborhoods of focus. In addition, we are looking for initiatives that engage volunteers early in the project design stage as well as during implementation and evaluation. Lastly, we are looking for cities to engage volunteers for their time as well as lived experiences and skills. 
  • The role and level of engagement of the city chief executive and relevant city agencies and departments.
  • The specific neighborhoods that will be the focus of the initiative. We are looking for demonstrated involvement of neighborhood-specific stakeholders in the proposed initiative or commitment to doing so during the grant period.
  • The proposed roles for the AmeriCorps VISTA member(s) and Love Your Block Fellow and how the city will support them in their work.
  • Demonstrated commitment to tracking critical measures to demonstrate impact.

Use of Funds

Cities of Service grant funds are to be used for direct support of the Impact Volunteering initiatives.

  • Fellowship grant funds are restricted to the direct compensation of the identified Love Your Block Fellow.  
  • Acceptable use of project implementation grant funds include, among others, costs associated with engaging volunteers in:
    • Activating vacant lots or empty storefronts/building
    • Neighborhood clean ups
    • Transforming vacant lots into vibrant community spaces
    • Educational outreach and skills-based support for individuals and community groups
    • Basic code compliance repairs for homes
    • Compensating local partners
  • Cities of Service grant funds may not support:
    • Services covered by existing city infrastructure, such as standard trash collection and staff salaries
    • Rent or utilities
    • 501(c)(3) incorporation fees
    • Speaker honorariums
    • Improvement projects that primarily serve churches and/or other religious organizations 
    • Scholarships or other direct support to individuals or families
    • Fraternal, political, labor, athletic or social organizations, civic clubs, candidates or projects
    • Events such as block parties, conferences, festivals, dinners, sports competitions, art exhibits, fundraisers (e.g. dinners, walks/runs/relays, golf tournaments and auctions) unless directly in service to the larger strategic initiative 
    • Capital campaigns, endowments or endowed chairs

For questions, please feel free to contact [email protected].


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