Benefits & Impact
The Sullivan Renaissance beautification program continues to foster successful community pride and awareness because participants work together for the larger good of Sullivan County.
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Sullivan Renaissance is a county-wide program that tests the proposition that citizens can create and shape the communities in which they live. It does this by challenging organizations and individuals to enhance the appearance of their communities while building a sense of pride and spirit.
Since 2001, Sullivan Renaissance has sponsored beautification projects in all 15 towns and six villages in Sullivan County.
Community Beautification Program
- The core of the program is a beautification contest in which communities compete to create the “best project” in their size and category. This process runs from submission of applications through the judging of completed projects in August.
- Hundreds of community beautification projects have been funded through Sullivan Renaissance seed grants ranging from $1000 to $10,000. Since 2001, communities have built on these initial grants by raising and spending millions of dollars in their communities. The catalytic effect of the seed grants has enabled volunteers to tackle and complete projects that have transformed hamlets, built parks and changed main streets.
- Sullivan Renaissance emphasizes planning, development and community involvement. Each project requires collaboration among two or more groups; many have seen participation from multiple organizations. There are thousands of active volunteers throughout Sullivan County.
- A panel of expert judges reviews the completed projects and determines the winners, which receive additional grants to be used for community purposes. Corporate and government support enable additional projects to be funded and recognize communities that address stewardship issues such as historic preservation, the environment and youth engagement. Special Showing of Flowers Awards are given to communities with the best overall flowers. All of the participants are recognized.
- Sullivan Renaissance also recognizes the hard work and dedication needed to maintain projects over the years. Established groups with a history of participation with Sullivan Renaissance can meet their needs by applying through the Maintenance Program, instead of through the Community Beautification Program. A separate application, site visit and interview are required. Maintenance support is awarded based on the needs identified through the application process.
- The Environmental Initiatives Grant Program supports grassroots efforts to raise awareness and engage communities in promoting environmental stewardship and advancing conservation initiatives. Varying grant amounts have funded educational projects and educational programming as well as tree planting indicatives and community vegetable gardens.
- Environmental Initiatives allow Sullivan Renaissance to partner with several community and conservation organizations: Basha Kill Area Association, Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Catskill Mountainkeeper, The Center for Discovery, Clearwater, Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Manza Family Farm, Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development and Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management.
- Sullivan Renaissance encourages youth participation in the core beautification program and through various youth focused initiatives including specific grants, collaborating with youth organizations and recruiting young people to serve on the Steering Committee.
- Sullivan Renaissance partners with the Center for Workforce Development to offer a gardening internship and youth development program. Interns work alongside volunteers and community leaders to assist with gardening and project maintenance. During this time they also participate in a leadership development program and community service project. The number of internships filled by youth in Sullivan County has totaled 1,449 since 2005.
- Sullivan Renaissance collaborates on two scholarship programs for individuals who have volunteered in a significant way with a current season Sullivan Renaissance project:
- Through the SUNY Sullivan Foundation, scholarships are awarded to students attending SUNY Sullivan, based on individual participation in a Sullivan Renaissance project.
- Through the Community Foundation of Orange and Sullivan Counties, scholarships are offered to students attending the undergraduate college of their choice, based on individual participation in a Sullivan Renaissance project.
Support for Communities
- Monthly seminars with topics that include gardening, planning, fundraising and securing volunteers are held for community groups and the public.
- The Sullivan County Chamber of Commerce partners with Sullivan Renaissance in a Merchant Discount Program that provides groups with reductions of 10% to 30% or more on products and services used to clean up and beautify their communities.
- The Mini-Grant Program offers reimbursement grants up to $250 for those that would like to participate at a “mini” level by landscaping, planting flowers, or sprucing up. Businesses are eligible to apply. Preference is given to new applicants that provide matching funds and/or services.
- Seasonal Demonstration Grants up to $2,500 assist summer camps, bungalow colonies and seasonal businesses with beautification improvements that demonstrate best practices for other seasonal properties throughout Sullivan County. This is a matching and reimbursable grant program.
- The Community Mitzvah Award Program is designed to engage summer residents in beautification efforts. Seasonal establishments submit an application to participate in a contest by undertaking projects based on a variety of roadside visual improvements. The first prize award totals $10,000, with other awards and benefits going to all participants.
- Technical Assistance Grants are matching grants up to $2,500. These are available to Sullivan Renaissance projects for professional expertise and assistance with planning, engineering, design, renderings or organizational development.
- Community Development Grants up to $5,000 are awarded to experienced groups interested in expanding their beautification efforts into other areas, including downtown revitalization, planning and economic development. This category also includes inter-municipal initiatives or corridor-based projects.