The Chestnut Hill Community Fund has announced a challenge to area community groups and the community at large: Develop a special program or effort that enhances the Chestnut Hill community or brings two local non-profits together to collaborate on an effort and you may find your group with a grant to make it happen. The Fund has earmarked $16,767 for special grants outside of the usual Annual Fund Drive grants the Fund distributes. These monies were raised by past fund drives after the window for making grant distribution recommendations had closed.

“The residents of Chestnut Hill have a history of doing big things for the community,” says Jean Hemphill, President of the Chestnut Hill Community Fund. “Over the last 50 years, the community came together and bought our town hall building to give volunteers a home base. They developed a newspaper to communicate and committees to work on special programming. We’d like to see the Fund spur the development of new programs that will have a long-term impact on our community.”

What might such a grant request look like? “It should be something big and not seen in Chestnut Hill before,” say Fund Drive Co-chairs Laura Lucas and Bob Fles, whose committee is responsible for making grant allocation recommendations to the Fund Trustees. “Wouldn’t it be great to see the Mt. Airy Learning Tree and Stagecrafters, The Crossing and Friends of Jenks, or Friends of the Wissahickon and local garden groups join forces for new programming on the streets of Germantown Avenue? Or we might see improvements to the grassy park around the water tower to act as a storytelling nook and accommodate free movies in the summer. Imagine watching shoppers get excited about cultural events on or near the Avenue. We’re really excited about what residents and area groups might come up with.”

Lucas and Fles also noted that this might be a great opportunity for residents or neighborhood groups to come up with program ideas or improvement projects.

To submit a grant request for these challenge funds, download the grant application form at or call Noreen Spota at 215-248-8810. Please note “Challenge Grant Request” on the grant application form. Deadline is Friday, Jan. 25.

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