The purpose of a Most Valuable Partnership (MVP) Grant is to improve the quality of life in Ocoee by assisting Ocoee residents and organizations in making improvements to their neighborhoods or by creating programs that benefit our citizens. Grants of up to $2,000 can be provided to qualified organizations. The grant application period opens each November.
The city is highly supportive of neighborhoods who have organized themselves with or without benefit of a legal homeowners' association. The city also knows the importance of other community organizations. The City Commission is hopeful that the MVP Grant Program will empower neighborhoods and community organizations to take advantage and take responsibility for planning and implementing projects that address their specific needs.
These groups are encouraged to partner with other neighborhoods, local businesses, churches, and community agencies. It is hoped that these partnerships will strengthen the sense of community in Ocoee.
MVP Grant Cycles open each November. Applications are due November 30 and the grant is typically approved by the City Commission in February.
Applicants may submit projects that beautify a neighborhood, address public safety concerns, or foster cultural, recreational, or educational wants and needs of the neighborhood or organization. Applications are judged on how well they meet the criteria, the amount of involvement from the neighborhood or organization, whether they have a partner or partners to contribute to the project, and the feasibility of the project.
Applicants should try to match the city's contribution with a combination of cash, in-kind work, donations of goods and services, and volunteer time. The value of the applicant's contribution should, in most cases, be equal to or greater than the city's grant.
The MVP Grant is a matching grant. The match is generated by a combination of the following 3 sources, verification of the match must be submitted with the application:
Volunteer hours from the applicant (mandatory): To ensure applicant involvement, at least 25%, but not more than 50%, of the matching amount must be volunteer hours from residents who reside in the defined neighborhood or organization members. Volunteer labor is valued at $10 per hour for the purpose of calculating the match. Volunteer Hours Pledge Sheets are required for itemizing volunteer time commitments.
In-Kind donations: These donations include supplies, equipment, space, or professional services. The dollar value is based upon the reasonable and customary value of the item or services rendered. A letter from the donor is required describing each donation and the proposed market value.
Cash donations: These may be from the applicant, partners, or other contributors.
Applicants are responsible for recruiting partners to meet the match for MVP Grant funds. Partners are an important component of the program. They provide cash, in-kind services, supplies, and/or space to support a successful project. They may also benefit directly or indirectly from the project.
A Letter of Intent must be included for every partner recruited and attached to the grant application to verify the applicant match.