City of Hartford and Hartford Foundation Announce 2022 Love Your Block Grants for Neighborhood Improvement Projects

More than $225,000 in grants to support 21 projects in 15 different neighborhoods.

The City of Hartford and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced this year’s recipients of the Love Your Block grant, awarded to projects proposed by community members to beautify Hartford neighborhoods. This latest round of Love Your Block (LYB) grants committed more than $225,000, funding 21 projects in 15 different neighborhoods.

This year’s LYB grant offered a LYB Resident Grant and a LYB Community Grant. The LYB resident grant continue the work of the original LYB program, awarding grants to resident-led projects of $2,500 or less. Resident groups were also able to team up with non-profit organizations for the LYB Community Grant, which offered up to $25,000 in funding. In total, 9 resident grants and 12 community grants were awarded.

Grant applications were open from Monday, February 14th to Monday, March 7th, and ideas were reviewed by a review panel of Hartford residents. The City and the Hartford Foundation look forward to continuing to build on the successful Love Your Block program in the years ahead.

“We are thrilled to support more than twenty community-led beautification projects, from curbside gardens in the West End to traffic diverters in Southwest to cultural flags and murals on Greenwood and Grace Street,” said Mayor Bronin. “The Love Your Block program gives residents the resources to make the changes they want to see on their own block, in their own neighborhood — whether it’s the small resident projects, where a couple thousand dollars can make the difference, or whether it’s the larger community grants. I’m incredibly grateful to the Hartford Foundation and to all of our partners who make this program possible.”

“The Hartford Foundation is excited to continue our collaboration with the City and many others on the Love Your Block program,” said Hartford Foundation President and CEO Jay Williams. “These 21 projects arise from the ideas and action of residents, Neighborhood Revitalization Zones, faith groups, nonprofits and other stakeholders with deep roots, knowledge, and passion for improving the City’s neighborhoods. We know that neighborhood residents are the closest to the issues and the best to identify areas to target for beautification activities and the Love Your Block grant program is intended to put them in the driver’s seat and empower them to enhance their community.” 

“Four years into the Love Your Block initiative, and I am still amazed by the energy, resiliency and creative spirits of our residents,” said Janice Castle, Director of the Office of Community Engagement. “The effects that these projects have had is incredible. Each LYB project brings even more civic engagement and pride every day, and I am deeply grateful to the Hartford Foundation for being partners with us every step of the way. I hope we see more and more projects deep within our neighborhoods, run by our residents, that help brighten as many corners as we can.”

This round of Love Your Block Community Grants includes:

Bulkeley High School 

Project name: Bulkeley Fresh Start

Project Description and Request: Expansion of a project-based learning program at both transitional Bulkeley High School campuses in Hartford.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: South End

Amount: $9,795


Charter Oak Temple Restoration Association, Inc. 

Project Name: Eats of the Street

Project Description and Request: Public gardening pots and hydroponic units that provide fresh vegetables to the community and employ homeless individuals to tend to the pots.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Asylum Hill, Clay Arsenal, Downtown, Sheldon-Charter Oak, Upper Albany

Amount: $14,625

Free Center 

Project Name: Love Your Earth: Connecting with South Hartford Greenspace

Project Description and Request: Expansion of the community garden, creation of edible landscaping and South Hartford Nature Trail mapping and signage, as well as accompanying community programming.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Barry Square, Behind the Rocks, Frog Hollow, South End, South Green, South Meadows, Southwest

Amount: $8,500

Hartford Health Initiative, Inc. 

Project Name: Marcus Garvey Park Project

Project Description and Request: Expansion of beautification efforts at Marcus Garvey Park.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Blue Hills

Amount: $19,374

Hartford Public Schools/City of Hartford 

Project Name: Carrie Saxon Perry Mural at SAND School

Project Description and Request: Clean up activities, installation of a mural on the school building and participation of students and artists through a learning project about Carrie Saxon Perry and an unveiling ceremony.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Clay Arsenal

Amount: $21,890

Keney Park Sustainability Project Inc. 

Project Name: Vacant Lot Conversion

Project Description and Request: Planning, community engagement and piloting of a project to convert vacant lots into community gardens in partnership with the Hartford Land Bank.

Neighborhood(s) Impact: Blue Hills, Northeast

Amount: $25,000

KNOX, Inc. 

Project Name: Community Garden Beautification Project

Project Description and Request: Increased engagement, cleaning, greening, and beautifying of Cabot, Enfield, and Good Shepherd community gardens as well as to fulfill contracts with six Love Your Block grantees.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Northeast, Sheldon-Charter Oak, Upper Albany

Amount: $24,580

Mount Bethel Church of God EHT, Inc. 

Project Name: 236 Resuscitation Project

Project Description and Request: Addressing blight on church grounds after storm damage. Funding would support removal of debris, broken fencing, stumps, and grading of the area.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Northeast

Amount: $10,000

Mutual Housing Association of Greater Hartford, Inc. 

Project Name: Zion Street Mural

Project Description and Request: Installation of a mural on Zion Street near the Zion Hill Cemetery co-designed with a local artist and residents.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Frog Hollow

Amount: $25,000

Real Art Ways, Inc. 

Project Name: Park Art Food Garden

Project Description and Request: Installation of new garden beds to expand the food garden project in George Day Park.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Parkville

Amount: $9,000

Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance, Inc. (SINA) 

Project Name: Nuestra Historia

Project Description and Request: Organization of neighborhood clean ups and events, installation of a large mural honoring neighborhood heroes, regranting to Love Your Block resident grantees and administration.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Frog Hollow

Amount: $37,210

The iQuilt Partnership 

Project Name: Capitol Avenue Creative Placemaking

Project Description and Request: Expansion of Capitol Avenue placemaking efforts.

Neighborhood(s) Impacted: Frog Hollow

Amount: $22,750

This round of $2,500 Love Your Block Resident Grants being administered by Southside Institutions Neighborhood Alliance (SINA) and Knox Inc. includes:

New Mount Moriah Baptist Church 

Project Name: Look Up To A Brighter Future

Project Description: Through this project, New Mount Moriah Baptist Church hopes to display the hope, pride, and faith for the community. Project includes a mural, color trash bins, and new flower planters.

Southwest and Behind the Rocks NRZ 

Project Name: Southwest and Behind the Rocks Beautification

Project Description: Southwest and Behind the Rocks NRZ looks to continue its efforts to beautify the neighborhood. The organization will place ten large planters in front of cement barriers that are being used as traffic diverters.

West End Residents 

Project Name: West End Curbside Gardens

Project Description: The West End Residents are looking to bring more nature to the community. The residents are looking to plant fifteen curbside gardens attract pollinators, butterflies, and birds.

Colt Park Foundation 

Project Name: Colt Park Beautification

Project Description: The Colt Park Foundation is looking to make the entrance of Colt Park more inviting to visitors. project will install planters at the park entrance and add art pieces around the park.

Friends of Zion Hill Cemetery 

Project Name: Zion Hill Cemetery Arboretum and Herb Garden

Project Description: Friends of Zion Hill Cemetery is looking to plant new trees to replace fallen ones. Through the project, Zion Hill Cemetery Arboretum and Herb Garden, The Friends of Zion Hill Cemetery look to provide fresh, healthy food items to community members.

Urban Hope Refuge Church 

Project Name: Hartford’s Intersection of Hope Garden & Mural Phase II

Project Description: Urban Hope Refuge looks to move on to Phase II of its projects to finish its community garden and mural. Urban Hope Refuge is looking to get the community involved by having them part of the planting process of the flowers.

Maple Avenue Revitalization Group (MARG) NRZ 

Project Name: Beautify Maple Ave.

Project Description: The MARG NRZ is looking to beautify Maple Avenue by bringing more life and color to the community. Through the project, Beautify Maple Ave, MARG NRZ will put up string lights on some of the light poles and add flower planters.

Asylum Hill Residents 

Project Name: Pollinator Project Asylum Hill

Project Description: The Pollinator Project looks to educate the community on the importance of having pollinators in our community. Through this project the Pollinator project is looking to add more plants and shrubs to community gardens.

Parkville Care Center Residents 

Project Name: Greenwood Street & Grace Street intersection

Project Description: The project Greenwood Street & Grace Street looks to beautify the neighborhood by installing cultural flags and painting a mural. This initiative looks to beautify the street to benefit the residents of the Parkville Care Center located on that street.

The Love Your Block grant program is a component of Love Hartford, a broader initiative led by the City of Hartford, the Hartford Foundation, and other partners to help beautify Hartford neighborhoods and encourage community resiliency. The program brings together city leaders and citizens to revitalize neighborhoods one block at a time. It began when Hartford was one of ten cities chosen by Cities of Service to receive $25,000 in funding over two years (2019-2020) and two AmeriCorps VISTAs. Other activities supported through the initiative include Love Hartford week, the Neighborhood Ambassadors Program, and the annual Hartford Urban Gardeners Awards (HUGS) convened by KNOX, Inc.