Fall River, New Bedford take the challenge

A few months ago, we let blog and newsletter readers know about Bloomberg Philanthropies’ (yes, that Bloomberg) Mayors Challenge, a grant opportunity that asked cities across the country to compete for funding by submitting their innovative solutions to urban challenges that can be replicated in other communities.

Fall River and New Bedford, along with 10 other Massachusetts cities and 293 other cities nationwide, submitted applications for the September 14 deadline. Interestingly, both cities proposed solutions to deal with a problem that’s been particularly intractable in smaller industrial cities: vacant lots in residential neighborhoods. While articles in the Herald News and Standard Times don’t divulge many details about the innovative solutions these cities have cooked up (nor does Fall River’s YouTube video that was submitted with the application), we hope that even if funding isn’t awarded, positive change will come from this kind of creative thinking. Good luck to both communities!

Revealing our sources

One of the biggest  hits of our monthly newsletter is our section on grant opportunities. Many of our community partners report reading about previously unknown funding sources here, and they often wonder where we get our info. So we decided to put together a blog on some of our favorite sources for not just grant opportunities, but also for events, urban policy news, and local goings-on. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you have suggestions you think we’re missing, please let us know!


The Foundation Center is the UI’s grants mecca, and one of the best ways to passively keep tabs on opportunities (so we can in turn share them with you) is by subscribing to their weekly Philanthropy News Digest RFP Bulletin. You can find new RFPs here, and you can subscribe to get updates sent directly to your inbox at this link.

Is it federal funding that you seek? Grants.gov also has an email alert service that you can subscribe to (and customize according to your organization or needs) here.

If you have some time on your hands and have some social media savvy, Twitter can be surprisingly helpful too. Start with a simple hashtag like #grant, and you’ll be amazed!


Our favorite event-type to share is the kind that builds capacity among stakeholders in our community. In our newsletter you’ll see lots of workshops, many of which are either low-cost or free. The best sources for these have often been the Rhode Island Foundation, which puts on great one-off and series events through their Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence, and the NonProfit Center in Boston. The latter has a monthly newsletter cataloging events, to which you can subscribe via this link. Another nonprofit-oriented resource is the MA Nonprofit Network, whose bi-monthly newsletter can be found here.

Local interest

In addition to keeping tabs on the newspapers serving the South Coast (New Bedford-based Standard Times and Fall River’s Herald News), we are big fans of the Sustainability Almanac put out by our colleagues at the UMass Dartmouth Office of Sustainability. It hits inboxes every Thursday, and contents include environmental news, local events, and even area job opportunities. You can read back issues and subscribe by following this link.