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Bringing Neighbors Together Grants Connect Residents in Black Hawk County

August 7, 2019

On Tuesday, August 6, neighborhoods across Black Hawk County celebrated during National Night Out, a national community-building campaign that promotes community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. Six of the many neighborhood gatherings were partially funded by Bringing Neighbors Together grants issued by the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. The following Waterloo neighborhood events each received a Bringing Neighbors Together grant: Edison, Church Row, Orange, Riverfront/Common Grounds/Franklin Gateway/Chautaqua Park, We Care and West Central. The events featured food, kid activities and games, music, outdoor movies and more.

“The Bringing Neighbors Together grants do just that – provide funds to help create events that bring residents together,” said Tom Wickersham, program director at CFNEIA. “We know that when residents connect with their neighbors, they become more engaged and empowered to solve problems within their own community, which in turn helps strengthen neighborhood associations, reduces crime and produces a better quality of life for all.”

Community volunteer Carol Gustafson coordinated the West Central Neighborhood event and believes these types of events are particularly important for neighborhood revitalization. “It used to be that we had a lot of elderly people living here, but we've got a lot of young families that are moving in, which is really wonderful,” said Gustafson. She went on to discuss the importance of financial support. “Without that grant opportunity we would probably have to really scale back on what we're able to do. We really appreciate everything that the Community Foundation does for us, and in making this money and these kinds of events possible for us to do.”

Any neighborhood in Black Hawk County is eligible to apply for a Bringing Neighbors Together grant and applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants range from $500 to $2,000 and are made possible by the Neighborhood Improvement Fund at CFNEIA. The applicant for a grant must be a nonprofit organization or government entity working with the neighborhood. If the neighborhood does not have a nonprofit to partner with, the neighborhood can contact CFNEIA to explore options.

William Duff, a member of the Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, volunteered at the Church Row Neighborhood event. "Tonight, it shows the community that we're not separated, we're one, and now we come together, and they see there's no difference,” Duff said. “The kids get to playing and that breaks the ice right there. That's the key.”

Click here to review grant guidelines or to apply for a Bringing Neighbors Together grant. For questions about the Bringing Neighbors Together grant program, contact Tom Wickersham at 319-243-1356 or email

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