Earlier this month, members of the Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity issued a call for applications for the 2015 Mount Ida Community Development Micro-Grant Program funding season. Mount Ida homeowners, landlords, business owners, and not-for-profits are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $1,000. The grant can be used for home improvement, historic restoration, neighborhood beautification, maintaining community parks and green spaces, or for not-for-profit programs that service residents of the neighborhood.
The grant applications are due April 22. Grant awards will be announced at a public meeting on May 5.
“I am very excited about this program, and the opportunity to work with our neighbors to improve the Mount Ida community,” said John Stall, a senior who is majoring in mechanical engineering, who also serves as the fraternity’s chapter president.
The grant program was launched in 2014 and was developed in partnership with local residents, business owners, and not for profits from the Mount Ida neighborhood for the purpose of improving the quality of life in the community. The Troy Rehabilitation & Improvement Program (TRIP) has also partnered with the fraternity.
“This micro-grant program is a great example of how local investment and support can benefit everyone. We are proud to partner with the Phi Sigma Kappa Alumni Association and we congratulate them on being such a valuable asset to their community,” said Hilary Lamishaw, director of community affairs at TRIP.
This initiative is a model of how an independent organization can contribute and make a difference all while educating these future leaders on community action, philanthropy, civic planning, and quality of life issues.”— Peter Grimm
In 2014, the program gave out $6,000 in grants. The grants where used to fund a number of projects in the neighborhood including exterior painting and landscaping, interior structural repair and restoration, and the restoration of several grave stones in the historic Mount Ida cemetery.
“We were very pleased with the initial response we got from the community during the program’s first year. This year we are hoping to have more people apply for the program and meet our goal of awarding 10 grants,” said Paul Marano ’87, president of the Phi Sigma Kappa Alumni Association.
The grant target area extends south from College Avenue west of 15th Street and south of Tibbits Avenue between 15th Street and Bleeker Avenue. It is bordered on the west by the western end of 11th Street. It also includes Prospect Park, Mount Ida Cemetery, and the corner of Congress Street and Pawling Avenue.
“A grant like this can have a huge impact on improving the Mt Ida neighborhood,” said Dave Gardell, a resident of the community and member of the grant planning/award committee. “The fact that the fraternity reached out to the community to help assess the needs of the local neighborhood and develop the grant program should add to its success.”
“This initiative is a model of how an independent organization can contribute and make a difference all while educating these future leaders on community action, philanthropy, civic planning, and quality of life issues,” said Peter Grimm, president of the Friends of Prospect Park and legislator representing the City of Troy, who also serves as director of university events at Rensselaer.
The Phi Sigma Kappa moved into the Mt. Ida community four years ago when the City of Troy approved the fraternity’s purchase of the former St. Francis DeSales church and rectory on Congress Street. The fraternity currently consists of 21 student members and over 700 alumni. The buildings are owned and managed by the Phi Sigma Kappa Alumni Association of Troy, N.Y., which is responsible for providing safe, affordable, quality housing to its student members.