Pepperdine’s Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership is pleased to invite applications for its fifth annual Public Engagement Grant Program. Starting in 2008 (then conducted through Common Sense California), these grants have supported cities, counties, special districts and civic organizations seeking to engage residents on a variety of issues. This year’s program is again made possible, in part, by support from the James Irvine Foundation’s California Democracy Program.

From difficult budget decisions to tough land use problems, municipal and civic institutions have recognized that legitimate civic engagement should be a pragmatic priority.  This type of engagement includes processes from discovering informed resident opinions to inviting their participation in actual solutions.  Still, the tight budgets that most require these public discussions can also preclude them when municipalities decide that engaging residents is just too expensive.

Davenport Institute executive director, Pete Peterson, noted, “We’re excited about launching our unique grant program once again. With such significant challenges facing California’s cities and counties, the intentional engagement of residents can help develop more sustainable and informed policy directions.”

This year, the Davenport Institute will be awarding around $50,000 in funded consulting services to selected grantees.  It is anticipated that 2-4 grants will be offered this year, with a maximum individual grant amount of $20,000.

Prior to beginning their public engagement campaign grantees will receive training and consultation from the Davenport Institute to build understanding and support for the civic engagement effort amongst administrative and elected officials.

The Davenport Institute will fund a professional consultant(s) to work with grantees on facilitated public forums.  Davenport senior staff and consultants will work with grantees to design the sessions and will facilitate deliberations amongst residents, stakeholders and government representatives.  Consultants will be chosen through collaboration between the grantee and the Davenport Institute.

The grant is open to municipalities and civic organizations interested in involving the public on an issue of significance to their community or district.  Past projects have related to budget, land use and public safety, among others.  Eligible applicants include:

  • Mayors, City Council, City Managers, Assistant City Managers
  • County Supervisors, Senior Staff
  • Special/School District Board Members, Senior Staff
  • Executive Directors of regional governance associations (COGs)
  • Executive Directors of non-profit organizations

Interested organizations can find more information on selection criteria and process on our website and may apply through our easy-to-use online application .  All applications must be received by September 12, 2012, and grantees will be notified on September 28, 2012.
About the Davenport Institute:
Formerly the non-profit organization, Common Sense California, the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership based at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy supports and promotes participatory governance efforts at the local level through consulting, grant-making, and training. We are advised by an Advisory Council composed of local and regional government officials and experts in the public engagement field.