RESTORE THE CORE Micro-Grant Guidelines and Requirements:

A well-conceived action plan will articulate the following elements:

  • Background of applying neighborhood association including its history, past projects/achievements and a list of active officers, leaders and participants
  • An innovative, new project idea or creative expansion of existing project with potential ongoing impact
  • A detailed action plan (see example & complete the action plan template)
  • Budget outline for proposed project (see example & complete the expenses template)
  • A project that seeks to achieve meaningful results
  • Community connections or partnerships

Award Duration:1 year. Project activities may not necessarily span the entire year but funds shall be expended within the award year. Unexpended funds at the end of the award year shall be returned to UAct. Awarded groups may seek extensions for unforeseen circumstances.

Round 1 Awards Funding Cycle: January 8, 2024 – December 31, 2024

UAct has contracted with The Springfield Project to provide neighborhood association capacity-building training and Restore the Core grant application assistance. Please contact TSP with questions at 217-753-3551.

Round 1 Application Deadlines
Capacity building training 9/11/2023 - 12/31/2023The Springfield Project
Invitation to apply sent11/13/2023This is an invitation-only grant program
Request technical assistance on application if needed11/13/2023 - 12/17/2023The Springfield Project
Applications due12/17/2023Postmarked or received in inbox by midnight
Awardees selected and applicants notified12/22/2023Groups not awarded can contact UAct for feedback on their application with potential to apply in Round 2 or beyond. They are also strongly encouraged to participate in UAct-funded technical assistance if available.
Action plan modifications
discussed if needed
12/29/2023Awards may be contingent on UAct-requested project and budget modifications
Request technical assistance for modifications if neededThe Springfield Project
Application modifications submitted1/5/2024
Projects funded/funding cycle begins1/8/2024Funds must be deposited in the neighborhood association’s or project-specific bank account with two signatories to be used for all project expenses. Award checks not appropriately deposited by 3/8/2023 will be cancelled. Fiscal agents will be considered.
Funding cycle ends12/31/2023
All Round 1 activities end
Final Report due
Exception: Projects that are not active for the entire year cycle must submit a final report 30 days after completion of the project
Projects that do not submit a final report will not be eligible to apply in subsequent funding cycles

Sample Project Ideas:

  • Voter mobilization efforts
  • Vacant lot cleanup
  • Neighborhood recycling campaign
  • Association capacity building
  • Association website or social media
  • Helping seniors maintain properties
  • Community composting
  • Walking club
  • Neighborhood wellbeing project
  • Improve digital skills
  • Neighborhood beautification project
  • Outdoor art project
  • Neighborhood ambassador or liaison program/ local government observer group
  • Neighborhood safety program
  • Government/institutions speaker’s series

Project Examples:

A voter mobilization campaign could include community/neighborhood candidate forums, educational literature about the importance of voting and rides to the polls for the elderly.

Association capacity-building could include hosting neighborhood meetings with community leaders to educate members on relevant public policy topics, promote two-way communication and facilitate neighborhood-level advocacy.

Links to helpful resources:

Budget Details:

Allowable Expenses:

  • Small volunteer stipends or incentives for members administering the project will be considered.
  • Payments to legitimate vendors for services, materials and/or supplies that advance your goals outlined in the grant award
  • Supporting minority &/or woman-owned businesses and those located in East Springfield is strongly encouraged
  • One-time or annual events are discouraged as the primary project but can be part of a larger initiative that promotes ongoing civic engagement. For example, hosting a neighborhood block party with food and children’s activities would not be eligible if it is a stand-alone, one time or even annual event. However, if the proposal included this activity as part of broader neighborhood engagement project or perhaps to celebrate a project’s success it may be considered an eligible activity.
  • Project with activities to jump-start an inactive neighborhood association
  • Project to plan, develop and activate a new neighborhood association
  • Fiscal agent fees (no more than 5% of grant award)

Non-Allowable Expenses:

  • Salaries for neighborhood association members
  • Routine &/or past expenses of neighborhood association
  • Support for regular neighborhood programming
  • Activities considered primarily religious or partisan in scope
  • Fundraisers

Grantee Accountability:

A “responsible party” for the Association (preferably the President but could be another officer) must submit the proposal on behalf of the neighborhood association and must sign an award acceptance letter outlining the terms and expectations of the agreement if funding is awarded. This person may or may not be the project’s coordinator but shall be the person responsible for implementation of the grant agreement and proper use of awarded funds.

Neighborhood Associations awarded a RESTORE THE CORE grant agree to expend the funds in a responsible manner consistent with the budget and action plan outlined in the acceptance document.

Funds must be deposited in a Neighborhood Association or project-specific bank account with two signatories to be used for all project expenses. UAct funds may not be deposited in an individuals’ bank account.

Any misuse of funds may be subject to legal or civil penalty.

Awarded associations may apply for funds for an existing funded or new project in subsequent years.

Awarded associations are encouraged to work with the program’s technical assistance provider if applicable.

UAct’s President/Founder has sole authority to select or reject projects for any reason not subject to explanation.

Regular and open communication between the awardees and UAct leadership is strongly encouraged. Contact Sheila Stocks-Smith at 217-691-9124 or

UAct Recognition Language:

Entities awarded RESTORE THE CORE grants shall include the Urban Action Network logo and/or letterhead on its website, social media and/or promotional materials related to the funded project. The following statement will be included on all public-facing materials: This project is supported by a RESTORE THE CORE grant from the Smith/Stocks-Smith Family Foundation doing business as the Urban Action Network.

UAct’s Website/Social Media:

All awarded projects will allow UAct to feature project details on its website and social media and will provide UAct, upon request, pictures and/or other documentation of project activities and stories.


UAct is not liable for any aspect of the funded project. Neighborhood association project insurance is encouraged.

Final Reporting:

A final report using a UAct-provided template is required by all funded associations due one month after the project’s activities are complete or by the end of the calendar year funding cycle if the project remains active throughout the entire cycle. Projects that do not submit a final report will forfeit their chance to apply for a RESTORE THE CORE grant in subsequent funding cycles.


This is a fillable application form so you can type directly into it. If you would like to save your work and return to it another time, you must first register then login before you fill out the application. Click here to register an account.

You may also download the form to assist in the drafting of your responses and then transfer your responses to the electronic form.  Click here to download a PDF version.


Neighborhood Group/Organization Information

Main Contact
Main Contact

For our records only, you are eligible to apply if you do not have any of the items below.

Does your organization have a 501(c) (3) nonprofit tax exempt status from the IRS?
Would your neighborhood association benefit from a fiscal agent?

Project Details



Please Tell Us About You and Your Project Idea
0 of 300 max words
0 of 500 max words
Include measurable projections such as the number of people, households or homes to be served, number of people participating, etc. (max 500 characters)
0 of 300 max words

D. Project Action Plan

Click "Add" for each additional task/activity. Refer to the Project Action Plan Example below for guidance.

Project Action Plan Example

Project Task or Activity
Deadline (completed by)
Person responsible
Resources needed
Maintain 5 houses for neighbors in need for the year:
Shovel sidewalks
Trim bushes
Clear garbage
Rake lawns
Paint fences
Weed gardens
Shovel walks

TeamGloves & boots drinks, clippers, gloves, rakes, paint & brushes, garden tools
Canvas neighborhood over two weekends2/16/2024
TeamClip boards, pens, brochures, water
Team meeting to identify neighbors in need of help2/23/2024TeamSnacks, drinks
Recruit project volunteers1/19/2024Bob JonesTelephone/email
Create brochure1/26/2024Mary SmithPrinting
Team identification1/26/2024Jane Hallt-shirts, buttons or hats
Accumulate necessary equipment3/1/2024TeamBorrow, rent & purchase equipment (shovels, hedge trimmers, blower, lawn mower, rakes gloves, safety gear
Cultivate team building12/31/2024Jane Hall (Project Coordinator)Gift cards, snacks, drinks

E. Project Expenses

Click "Add" for each budget line item. Refer to the Project Expenses Example below for guidance.

Project Expenses Example

Budget Line item
Reason Needed
FoodTeam Meetings & gatherings, work days$500
Contracted Services$100
4 ShovelsTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$200
Snow BlowerTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$350
2 Hedge TrimmersTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$125
4 RakesTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$125
Safety GearTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$100
GlovesTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$100
Leaf BagsTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$50
MiscTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$300
Storage ShedTeam assistance for neighbors’ yard upkeep$500
Printing costs$150
Postage Costs$100
Meeting space rental$75
Project InsuranceGeneral liability$500
IncentivesGift cards, t-shirts or caps$500

Printed Name

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