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NeighborWorks Accepts Grant from Scranton Area Community Foundation for Beautiful Blocks

NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania (NWNEPA) has accepted a $20,000 Innovative Impact Grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation to provide funding support to Scranton residents for exterior home improvements through the Beautiful Blocks program.  

The donation will allow for 10 groups of homeowners in the City of Scranton to complete exterior home renovations through the second cycle of the Beautiful Blocks program. Over $100,000 in home improvement grants have been awarded to 105 Scranton residents during this cycle. Of these, 54 residents have already completed their project, matching the grants they received with more than $100,000 of their own funds.

Residents participating in Beautiful Blocks are required to apply as a group, and to cooperate after awards are issued to complete projects and improve neighborhood cohesion. Exterior improvements completed by residents this year include sidewalk repair and replacement, landscaping, front porch renovations, painting, siding, window replacement, front step repair, and more. Participating groups are also provided with a stipend to host a community block party or service project, to further improve their neighborhood and build cohesion for future neighborhood improvements.

“NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania is thankful for the direct support of the Scranton Area Community Foundation in their support of the Beautiful Blocks program through this Innovative Impact Grant,” Jesse Ergott, NWNEPA President & CEO, said of the grant award. “This investment in Scranton neighborhoods helps to both prevent and eliminate blight among residential properties, and to encourage neighbors to work together for the continued good of their neighborhoods.”

Beautiful Blocks, which is jointly sponsored by NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania and the City of Scranton, provides matching grants of up to $1,000 to each member of a group of at least five Scranton residents to help them make exterior improvements to their homes. Grants are awarded annually through a competitive application process. This year’s program was funded by the City of Scranton, the University of Scranton, Johnson College, the Scranton Area Community Foundation, NeighborWorks America, and the PNC Foundation.

The 16 applications received this year were reviewed and scored by a selection committee comprised of a representative of the City of Scranton, a representative of NeighborWorks, a representative of the University of Scranton, a real estate agent, and two Scranton residents. Applications were judged on the number of participating homeowners, project impact and coordination, and the likelihood of neighbors continuing to work together in the future.

Residents interested in participating in future cycles of the Beautiful Blocks program can contact Gerard Hetman at (570) 558-2490 or for more information.

Photo Caption: Officials from NeighborWorks Northeastern Pennsylvania (NWNEPA) and the City of Scranton gather with block captains from the 2020 Beautiful Blocks program cycle to accept a $20,000 Innovative Impact Grant from the Scranton Area Community Foundation. The grant funds will help to fund implementation of the Beautiful Blocks program in 2020. From left to right (block group names in parentheses): Eileen Cipriani, Executive Director of the City of Scranton Office of Economic & Community Development; Alice Caulson (Roundwood Neighbors); Rich Glacken (Bates Street Crew); Doris Koloski (The Improvers); Robert Philbin (Penn Del Posse); Paulette Casciano (Oram Troopers); Katie Gilmartin (Freshening up the 15s); and Gerard Hetman, NWNEPA Community Development Specialist. Absent from photo: Peter Anania (The Hill Section); Thom Welby (Pennwood); Eric Myers (Rockwell Gilbert Neighborhood); and Rebecca Munley (Party on the 8s).

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