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Our New and Improved Neighborhood Matching Fund

Neighborhood Matching FundMessage from Kathy Nyland, Director of Seattle Department of Neighborhoods:

The Neighborhood Matching Fund (NMF) is a beloved program that was created 29 years ago. It was an innovative idea that provided financial resources to support community ideas. We funded projects, but the true emphasis was on people. It was about building capacity and building community, all while strengthening the city.

Over time, more city funding opportunities became available that provided additional resources and opportunities. That’s great news! And as opportunities were created, we heard that these new funds were easier and simpler. But, wait!  Other funds are easier? Simpler? Well, yes, they are.

With three separate funds, three amounts, three different applications dates, and three different processes, it was time for us to look at how we can make the NMF easier and simpler for you.

Every year, the NMF makes some technical changes and adjustments based on feedback and desired improvements. With the 30th anniversary approaching, we thought this would be a great opportunity to get back to basics and be more innovative and less onerous. Our goals are to:

  • Continue providing financial resources so communities can implement their ideas.
  • Continue building community and strengthening our city.
  • Make it simple.
  • Get more money out the door, faster.
  • And most importantly, respond to you!

With that in mind, we made the following improvements to the Neighborhood Matching Fund.

  • Small Sparks Fund: Rolling application date, available year-round and can fund up to $5,000.
  • Community Partnership Fund: Available three times a year and can fund projects from $5,001 to $100,000.


What does this mean?

  • We simplified the fund opportunities, going from three to two.
  • We increased the limits: The Small Sparks Fund increased from $1,000 to $5,000.
  • We increased the frequency: You now have three opportunities each year to apply for funds up to $100,000.
  • We broadened eligibility: More groups can now apply for these funds, including community-based groups and District Council organizations.


Here are other improvements that we have been working hard to make a reality, and you’ll see coming to the department’s grant programs soon:

  • Startup funding: Making it possible for us to offer the initial seed money to start projects sooner. We’re going to pilot this with the Duwamish River Opportunity Fund this year.
  • Fiscal Sponsors: Working to provide more resources to community groups looking for fiscal sponsors including a map of organizations that have previously served in this capacity.
  • Universal grant applications: Having one application instead of multiple versions.
  • Pay It Forward: Exploring this concept so awardees can serve as mentors to other community groups.

You asked for it, and we are doing it!

We have said time and time again that community members are a resourceful bunch and our most valued resources. These ideas and these requests prove that yet again.  Thank you for your interest and for your dedication and for helping making the city a better place…for all of us.

To learn more about the Neighborhood Matching Fund, including information on our upcoming workshops, visit our website at