BNMC Spark: Igniting Community Ideas


BNMC Spark is a micro-grant program which will showcase creative ideas and strategies to support partners and stakeholders within the neighborhoods surrounding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Applications are now open for 2020.

See who we funded in 2019.

See who we funded in 2018.

The BNMC is pleased to announce a Request for Proposals for BNMC Spark. BNMC Spark is a Micro-Grant Program which will showcase creative ideas and strategies to support partners and stakeholders within the neighborhoods surrounding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.

We invite community members and organizations to submit proposals to receive funding for initiatives that advance the goals of BNMC and the local community. The BNMC’s key goals include:

  • Build an inclusive and collaborative culture of innovation that drives economic development and creates vibrant, healthy communities.
  • Ensure our district is attractive, welcoming, and accessible – a quality place to work, live, visit and invest in.

Preference will be given to proposals that have more than one organization working together, demonstrate strong community support, have strong community engagement plans, and contribute to advancing an inclusive, vibrant community. We will give priority to projects that take place within one mile of the Medical Campus.

Proposals that focus on one or more of the following topics will also be given preference:

  • Access to healthy food and active living opportunities;
  • Neighborhood walkability and enhanced transportation options;
  • Neighborhood beautification;
  • Arts and culture;
  • Energy and sustainability;
  • Youth and education;
  • Access to jobs and economic opportunities
  • Promotes Entrepreneurships


There is $40,000 available to the community through this RFP. The maximum award amount for each project will be $5,000.
We encourage applicants to submit proposals that can be completed with the amount of funding being asked for through this RFP, or that require the amount of funding requested to fill the final gap in existing funds. The funds must be spent in 2020, however, proposals can be part of an overall initiative the goes beyond 2020.
Awardees agree to use any award granted through this RFP solely for implementation of its final submission and agree to use reasonable effort to implement and maintain the proposal and allocate other resources as proposed in its application. Please be aware that the Advisory Panel reserves the right to reward a lesser amount than requested.


Applicants will need to submit a detailed proposal through the attached RFP application, plus any supporting documentation required in the application (please consult “Instructions for Submissions” section for specific requirements). Incomplete applications will be disqualified from this RFP Micro-Grant process.
Proposals will be reviewed in two separate rounds. The information collected from the initial application will identify semi-finalists in the competition. Applicants will be able to consult with the BNMC for design assistance if selected to advance beyond the first round of submissions.
During a second round, semi-finalists may be asked to prepare a more detailed project proposal, including more detailed plans, budget and maintenance overview. Each semi-finalist will be expected to be available for an in-person review with the RFP Advisory Panel. After all reviews have been completed, the Advisory Panel will make their final decisions on awardees. Following the selection of awardees, continuing documentation will have to be provided throughout the implementation phase to track progress, as well as a final grant summary at the end of 2020.


Applicants must be 18 years or older to be able to sign a grant agreement. Individuals that apply must partner with a legally incorporated entity with the capacity to act as a fiscal agent (i.e. LLC, 501 c(3), etc). Funds will not be awarded to individuals.
This is an open call for ideas: individuals, teams, community groups, for-profit companies, and non-profit organizations are all encouraged to apply.
Although individuals may apply, the BNMC encourages multidisciplinary teams in order to promote the most creative, innovative, and collaborative initiatives that will enhance our community.
Applicants must either be located in the community in which the initiative is taking place or must include a letter of support from a community organization that is located in the community in which the initiative will take place.


    • Application(s) should include information about the team, main contact person, neighborhood where it will be taking place, and a detailed summary of the initiative. Submissions must include a brief overview of the team qualifications and implementation plan.
    • Questions regarding this RFP will be accepted via email or on our website. If you have questions, please submit them at by February 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM. We will compile all questions and create a Q&A document which will answer the questions to the best of our ability. This Q&A document will be shared no later than February 19, 2020 at 5:00 PM by posting it on our website.
    • Electronic submissions should not exceed a file size of 20MB.
    • Proposed initiatives may be temporary or permanent in nature.

Additional information about the competition can be found at:

Applications and supporting documentation can be submitted:

  • Electronically no later than February 28, 2020 by 5:00 PM at by downloading the fillable PDF and emailing a completed copy to Kyria Stephens at If you are unable to download the form, please email Kyria.
  • By mail (postmarked by February 28, 2020) or in person (February 28, 2020 by 5:00 PM) to:
    Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
    ATTN: BNMC Spark
    640 Ellicott Street
    Buffalo, NY 14203


The selection of semi-finalists as well as the finalist(s) shall be based on the following criteria:

  1. Community Support & Engagement: Does the initiative have strong community support and will the community be engaged throughout the initiative?
  2. Community Benefit: Will the initiative benefit current residents or businesses and help advance an inclusive, vibrant community?
  3. Creativity: Does the initiative propose innovative uses? Does it inspire, and help people realize the assets of our surrounding communities?
  4. Feasibility: Does the individual/team have the resources to carry out the proposal? Is the proposal achievable from a technical standpoint? How will the micro-grant impact the organization?
  5. Time and Capacity to Implement: Does the individual/team have the time and capacity to implement the initiative? Are we likely to see the initiative come to fruition in a reasonable timeframe and is there a strong plan in place?


  • January 24, 2020 | BNMC Spark RFP opens
  • February 14, 2020 at 5:00 PM | Submission of Questions deadline
  • February 19, 2020 at 5:00 PM | Answers posted on BNMC website
  • February 28, 2020 at 5:00 PM | Proposals due
  • March 6, 2020 at 5:00 PM | Semi-Finalists announced
  • March 16-20, 2020 | Semi-Finalists present initiatives to Advisory Panel
  • March 31, 2020 | Awarded applicants announced