What if residents in the City of Schenectady had a source of support to bring to life their best ideas for making their neighborhoods stronger, healthier, safer and more livable? 

The Schenectady Foundation’s emerging role in neighborhood revitalization in Schenectady is driven by the belief in the power and the value that comes along with listening to the people who live in the City -- hearing their concerns and empowering them to make changes. The Schenectady Foundation has spearheaded a new initiative that will give residents a voice, as well as the resources needed to become involved in the revitalization of their own communities. It’s called “Schenectady’s Thriving Neighborhoods Challenge”.

The Schenectady Foundation has come together with local foundations, philanthropists, the City of Schenectady and other change-makers to fund the Challenge.  To-date investors in the Challenge include:  The Schenectady Foundation, City of Schenectady’s CDBG program, Wright Family Foundation, the Carlilian Foundation, Neil & Jane Golub, MVP Health Care and Trustco Bank.

The Challenge is open to all residents and all neighborhoods in the city.  Participation in the Challenge begins with the conception of an idea to affect change in the community. Concerned residents propose their project ideas through the Foundation’s website, including relevant details such as project location, issue to be addressed, activities to be undertaken, and eventual outcomes to be achieved. 

Why it Matters

Neighborhood Challenges develop neighborhood leadership, organization, and resident involvement and collaboration on projects that matter most to the community. The Challenge is intended to stimulate and empower citizens to come forward with their best ideas for what would make their neighborhood a better place to live – and then to actually be able to make them happen! 

Neighborhood Challenges have been effectively used in other cities to spur citizen involvement and problem-solving. They can serve as a catalyst to bring forward new ideas for improvements in the community, and create productive relationships between residents, community organizations, philanthropy and city government.  Sustainable partnership models are developed by building synergies among all stakeholders.


Challenge Guidelines

Project Selection:  The following considerations will guide the decisions of the selection panel:  1) The level of citizen engagement and personal investment of the residents; 2) The creation of a project that unifies neighborhood stakeholders around the vision; 3) The direct impact of the project on the neighborhood; 4) The catalytic influence of the project, i.e. what the investment might yield beyond the initial project; 5) The leveraging other resources. 

Project Types:  The kinds of projects that could surface are only limited by our creativity, and technical or financial ability to complete.  But, they could be connected to any of these themes: 

  • Beautification
  • Environment
  • Public Safety
  • Health and Well-being
  • Walkability
  • Community Building and Citizen Engagement
  • Accessibility
  • Public Art
  • Educational
Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/thrivingchallenge/pic-KeepWoodlawnClean.JPG

Awards: We anticipate making a variety of awards from relatively modest projects to larger transformational projects. The number and size of awards will be determined by the amount of investment available in the Fund, but the top prize could be as much as $100,000, with many smaller awards also awarded.  At least one Youth-driven project will be awarded. 

Technical Assistance:  Resident groups will be provided with facilitation and the resources of a consultant to ensure that their winning idea can be brought to implementation and successful completion.

How to Submit Your Idea:  Click here to download the Project Idea Submission Form

Example Projects

Electric City Barn Railbridge Steinmetz Greenhouse
Rose Garden Vale Urban Park Tribute Park
NYC 100 Gates NYC Music NYC Uptown GC
Baltimore Clean City Guide Baltimore Garden Party Baltimore Community Newspaper