By the Community, for the Community Grant Opportunities

The Free Library of Philadelphia, with support from the Knight Foundation and partnered with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, announces an exciting opportunity to fund projects and programs, led by community members for the benefit of other community members.

Beginning October 2019, the Free Library's Department of Cultural and Civic Engagement will award grants of up to $1,000 to community members who complete projects that use the Free Library's resources to address local issues, promote fairness and equality in their neighborhood, or celebrate community strengths and talents.

Who can receive a grant?

Anyone with a Free Library of Philadelphia library card can propose a project, program, or event.

Applicants are encouraged to partner with at least one collaborator. A collaborator can be Free Library staff, Friends of the Free Library members, a local community group, or neighbors.

All events supported by this grant should be free, open to the public, and promoted throughout the community. They should also connect with your neighborhood library in some way.

How do I take part?

Ask your local neighborhood library for a paper application, or apply for a Community Grant here!

Applications are accepted on a rolling (seasonal) basis. The first batch of applications will be read around October 14.

If you submit your application after that date, it will still be reviewed. Applications will be considered during the coming months.

If you have further questions, call 215-814-6020 or email williamsk@freelibrary.org

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of projects are you looking for?

We are most interested in projects that:

  • Promote racial, economic, and gender equality
  • Are led by people who have direct lived experience and knowledge about the issues their project addresses
  • Encourage residents to come together, drawing on the value of group wisdom
  • Build community power
  • Use Library resources and spaces and have the potential to gather Friends of the Free Library members, staff, and others who are not already regular users of the Free Library

When should my project take place?

For the October 14 round of applications, projects should take place between October 30 and December 31, 2019.

Do I have to have a Free Library card?

Yes, but it's easy to get one!

Does my project have to connect to the Free Library?

Yes, your project must use the resources of the Free Library. It can use the Free Library's collections or materials, take place in a neighborhood library space, or involve existing programs or events at a neighborhood library. You can also partner with the Friends of the Free Library.

Who are the Friends of the Free Library?

The Friends of the Free Library are groups that guide and influence the life and activities at their specific neighborhood library. You can find out about your local Friends group by asking a staff member or the community organizer at your neighborhood library.

I don't know my local librarians/Friends group...

We encourage you to introduce yourself, but you can still submit your proposal, even if you haven't made connections. If your application is accepted, we will link you to Library staff and/or Friends members and help you work together.

How can I make my proposal successful?

Successful proposals will clearly indicate how they will:

  • Use the resources of the Free Library
  • Bring more people into the Free Library as patrons and potential new Friends of the Free Library members
  • Implement the funds from this grant to create your project and meet the specific goals of the project

How can I submit my application?

Applications can be submitted:

  • On paper—email williamsk@freelibrary.org with your mailing address to request a paper application.
  • Online—apply for a Community Grant right here!
  • By video—use your phone to create a two-minute video in which you describe your project and answer the application questions and email to williamsk@freelibrary.org.