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Neighborhood Challenge

$400,000 in Grants Provided to Non-Profit Neighborhood Development Organizations for Creative Initiatives to Enhance Local Commercial Districts

The NYC Department of Small Business Services is proud to announce the six award winners of the 2014 Neighborhood Challenge Innovation Grant competition! The Neighborhood Challenge provides non-profit organizations with grants up to $100,000 to confront local challenges through creative initiatives that will enhance their local corridors and communities.

This year's awardees are:

New Harlem East Merchants Association (NHEMA)
Leadership: Kwanza Smith
Project: NHEMA will launch a cleaning and streetscape improvement program that will beautify the 125th Street Metro North station while creating maintenance jobs and training opportunities for the large homeless population in East Harlem.

Urban Upbound
Leadership: Bishop Mitchell Taylor
Project: Urban Upbound will conduct an area-wide market analysis and develop business retention/attraction strategies to help launch new businesses that are owned by local entrepreneurs and employ local residents around Hallets Point and the Astoria Houses.

Bedford-Stuyvesant Gateway BID & Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corp.
Leadership: Michael Lambert (BID) & Colvin Grannum (Restoration)
Project: The Bed-Stuy partnership will re-open the long dormant Restoration Plaza Ice-Rink in winter 2014-2015 through dedicated fund-raising, strategic planning, and pre-opening seasonal programming.

DUMBO Improvement District
Leadership: Alexandria Sica
Project: The DUMBO BID will create a fitness circuit within the neighborhood's underutilized public spaces around the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that will activate space, improve public health, and connect DUMBO to neighboring communities.

Fulton Area Business Alliance (FAB Alliance) & Pratt Area Community Council (PACC)
Leadership: Phillip Kellogg (FAB Alliance) & Deb Howard (PACC)
Project: The FAB Alliance and PACC partnership will work to make Fulton Street, Brooklyn a more cohesive corridor by creating financial and architectural plans to encourage responsible real estate development and leasing, activating public spaces, and increasing access to public transportation.

Women's Housing and Economic Development Corp. (WHEDco)
Leadership: Nancy Biberman & Kerry McLean
Project: WHEDco will activate open space underneath the elevated subway and development a neighborhood brand for Southern Boulevard in the South Bronx based on its history as a musical hub.

BID Challenge:
The Neighborhood Challenge follows the inaugural BID Challenge grant competition. In 2013 seven BIDs were awarded grants of up to $75,000 for innovative projects including storefront improvements, district marketing campaigns, and public art installations. These winning programs and initiatives are currently being implemented in business corridors across the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.