BNMC Spark: Igniting Community Ideas

We are thrilled to announce a new year of BNMC Spark – the BNMC’s micro-grant program that funds creative ideas and strategies to support partners and stakeholders within the neighborhoods surrounding the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. This year, we are delighted to partner with the Fruit Belt Community Land Trust (FBCLT) to make ten awards of up to $4,000 each.

We invite community members and organizations to submit proposals to receive funding for projects and initiatives that advance the goals of BNMC, the FBCLT, and the local community. Our key goals include:

  • Building an inclusive and collaborative culture of innovation that drives economic development and creates vibrant, healthy communities.
  • Ensuring our district is attractive, welcoming, and accessible – a quality place to work, live, visit and invest in. Applications are now open for 2021.

The deadline for applications is May 21, 2021.

See who we funded in 2019.

See who we funded in 2018.

Watch our 2019 video featuring some of our Spark grantees.

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 two square miles 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
  • Social-emotional health/mental health well-being


There is $40,000 available to the community through this RFP. The maximum award amount for each project will be $4,000

We encourage applicants to submit proposals that can be completed with the amount of funding awarded through RFP, or that require the amount of funding requested to fill the final gap in existing funds raised elsewhere. The funds must be spent in 2021, however, proposals can be part of an overall initiative the goes beyond 2021.

Awardees agree to use any award granted through this RFP solely for implementation of its final proposal and agree to use reasonable effort to implement and maintain the project and allocate any 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 the “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 process. Applicants will be able to consult with the BNMC for design assistance if selected to advance beyond the first round of submissions.

During the 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. A final grant summary will be required at the end of 2021.


Applicants must be 18 years or older 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: teams, community groups, for-profit companies, and non-profit organizations operating within a two-mile radius of the campus are all encouraged to apply.

Although individuals may apply, the BNMC strongly 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. If you have questions, please submit them to by April 30 at 5:00 PM. We will compile all questions and create a Q&A document that will answer the questions to the best of our ability. This Q&A document will be shared no later than May 7 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.
  • Applications and supporting documentation can be submitted to:
  • By email:
  • By mail to:

Kyria Stephens

Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus


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? 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? Is there a strong plan in place?


All To be Determined but here is an example of last year’s timeline

  • April 23, 2021 | BNMC Spark RFP Opens
  • April 30, 2021 at 5:00 PM | Submission of Questions Deadline
  • May 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM | Answers Posted on BNMC Spark Website (
  • May 21, 2021 at 5:00 PM | Proposals Due
  • June 4, 2021 at 5:00 PM | Semi-Finalists Announced
  • June 11, 2021 | Semi-Finalists Present Initiatives to Advisory Panel
  • June 18, 2021 | Awardees Announced