Advancing Community-Based Projects and Civic Engagement

To support our community development work, LISC Houston noticed that neighborhoods need more flexible funding to create civic engagement and advance affordable housing and development, spur business development, increase family income and wealth building, improves access to quality education, and foster healthy lifestyles and communities.

In response, LISC Houston launched the Small Grants program in 2015, with a focus on making direct impact within neighborhoods and bringing communities together. Since the inception of this program, now entering its eight year, over 52,000 participants have organized 100s of projects that leveraged millions towards community building in Houston’s under-resourced neighborhoods. Through this initiative, we strongly encourage 501c3 and 501c4 groups and organizations to work with your community stakeholders and civic leaders to develop and submit project ideas between $500-$5,000 focused on community organizing, strengthen civic engagement, and addressing issues connected to Houston’s GO Neighborhoods five pillars.

2023 Small Grants Application Launch

  • Small Grants RFP Release Date: March 13, 2023
  • Pre-Application Review & Grant Writing Workshop: March 21, 2023, 12 – 1:30 pm
  • Application Technical Assistance Office Hours:
  • Small Grant RFP Deadline: April 10, 2023 at noon online via LISConnect
  • Announcement: May 1, 2023
  • Grantee Check-In Meetings: October 2023
  • All Projects Complete: November 30, 2023
  • Reporting Deadline: December 11, 2023


Rushka Tcholakova, Director of Community Programs, Email

Previous Grantees and Featured Projects

Evergreen Negro Cemetery Restoration 2020 Project

Fifth Ward is a historic African American community known for its special events, food, art, and unique businesses along the main corridor, Lyons Avenue. The Evergreen Negro Cemetery is located at Lockwood and Market Streets in the Fifth Ward. The goal of this project was for the Minority Burial Grounds Preservation Network (MBGPN) to work in cooperation with Project R.E.S.P.E.C.T, the current overseers of the Cemetery, to raise awareness of and interaction with the Cemetery by engaging local community organizations and businesses, and the culturally rich neighborhoods surrounding the Cemetery.

The pandemic caused a shift for the project from in-person clean-ups and re-introduction of the cemetery to the community to smaller, socially distant clean-ups and producing a series of short videos about the cemetery. Videos highlighted newly discovered headstones and burial plots and told stories of the cemetery residents and their connection to the Fifth Ward community. MBGPN created a website to post videos of the cemetery and used social media to drive traffic to the website to increase awareness of this historic cemetery. The group will continue digital outreach and plan future in-person clean ups when safe to do so. To view the videos, please go to:

2019 Dia de los Muertos Festival

The 6th Annual Magnolia Park Dia de los Muertos Block Party celebrated Magnolia Park through​ Dia de los Muertos. For 2019, we relocated to the Magnolia Park icon Hidalgo Park, with the ​support of District I Council Member Robert Gallegos and Buffalo Bayou Partnership. ​Magnolia Park is a neighborhood that is experiencing twin forces of displacement and erasure. Neighbors are asking the ​question, will I be able to stay in my neighborhood? and if I stay, will I still recognize it? The Dia De Los Muertos festival​​ responds to the concern of cultural erasure by boldly proclaiming the distinctive identity of Magnolia Park as a largely​​ Mexican-American neighborhood with vibrant art, food,history, and culture.

This was a free event that featured local artists and businesses, gave community access to law enforcement, celebrated local culture, and gave access to local artists Markand Mark-Anthony Pinon. Members of the community, local small business, law enforcement, artists, and local non-profits came together to interact and celebrate. This festival showed the Magnolia Park neighborhood and surrounding communities that art and culture is not something you have to go to the Museum District or other neighborhoods to experience but happens right where we live.


Coalition of Urban Resource Experts, is a group of psychologists, social workers, psychiatrist, facilitators, and students. Through their work and studies, CURE saw a need to help people impacted by Hurricane Harvey process and work through their trauma. Project Resiliency was a series of five healing circles offered in Third Ward to adults and youth directly affected by Hurricane Harvey. Their focus was to offer a space for people to speak their trauma aloud and begin to heal from it as well as obtain tools and techniques to equipment themselves for future disasters. A secondary objective of the circles was to provide an opportunity for residents to connect to each other and to available community organizations and resources. This work is directly correlated to LISC’s initiative of health equity as it addresses the crucial need for mental health care. Over 200 participants were able to take part in the resiliency circle activities and other clinicians expressed interest in taking part in this process. Participant evaluations indicate the circles helped them to be intentional about self-care and identify critical resources.