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 closed. Check back next year for Spark 2020 funding!

See who we funded in 2019.

See who we funded in 2018.

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:

  • Cultivating a safe, accessible, active and inclusive district that fosters health and wellbeing and is supported by smart, sustainable infrastructure.
  • Driving innovation, job growth, and economic development.
  • Strengthening our community with economic opportunities benefiting local youth, residents, businesses, and neighborhoods.

Preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate strong community support, have strong community engagement plans, and that 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


There is $40,000 available to the community through this RFP. No grant will be issued for more than $3,500. 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 2019; however proposals can be part of an overall initiative the goes beyond 2019. 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 at 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, applicants will need to provide continuing documentation throughout the implementation phase to track progress, as well as a final grant summary at the end of 2019.


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 to Kyria Stephens at by February 12 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 15 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:


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 16, 2019 | BNMC Spark RFP opens
  • February 12, 2019 at 5:00 PM | Submission of Questions deadline
  • February 15, 2019 at 5:00 PM | Answers posted on BNMC website
  • February 28, 2019 at 5:00 PM | Proposals due
  • March 5, 2019 at 5:00 PM | Semi-Finalists announced
  • March 15-21, 2019 | Semi-Finalists present initiatives to Advisory Panel
  • March 28, 2019 | Awarded applicants announced