Public Markets & Community Development RFPs

Public markets are receiving new interest as an under-recognized and under-utilized asset for community development. Over the past two years, the Ford Foundation has been working with PPS and an advisory group of diverse market operators and community development experts to develop an innovative funding program for public markets. This collaborative has also included representatives from the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services, Office of Community Services (OCS). Together, the advisory group has been investigating how public markets enhance the potential for social integration in public spaces – attracting diverse income levels, ages, and ethnicities – and create a vehicle for upward mobility and self-sufficiency, asset building, and individual empowerment for residents of low-to-moderate income communities.

This effort culminated in a Capitol Hill briefing on July 19th, where PPS and the Ford Foundation announced their collaboration with
OCS and the release of complementary Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to support public markets and community development. (Click here for a copy of the PPS presentation at this briefing.)

On this page you’ll find information about both the OCS and Ford RFPs and how to apply.

Public Markets RFP Information Session

A national teleconference was held on August 27th to brief potential applicants on details of both RFPs. Hosted by Miguel Garcia, the Acting Deputy Director of the Community Resource Development Unit at the Ford Foundation, this 80-minute long session included an introduction to the OCS program by Clarence Carter, Director of OCS and short presentations by Steve Davies of Project for Public Spaces, Carol Watkins of OCS, and Marcus Weiss of the Economic Development Assistance Consortium. An extensive Q&A session from the telephone audience concluded the call. An audio file of the teleconference is available to download. (RealAudi format 10MB. Download the free RealPlayer here).

About the Ford Foundation RFP

Release Date: Thursday, August 19th, 2004

Due Date: Friday, September 24, 2004

Project for Public Spaces and the Ford Foundation are pleased to announce a Request for Proposals for a total of $1 million in support of public markets and community development. The Ford Foundation is largely interested in how public markets can achieve broader community development revitalization goals – especially in low-to-moderate income communities experiencing dynamic change. Within this framework, the Foundation is seeking to support projects which enhance the potential of public markets for social integration and which encourage the upward mobility of market vendors. A third interest, explored through PPS’ research, is how public markets can be sustainable and achieve economic and social success over the long term.

Download the RFP.

NEW! Download the Electronic Grant Application Checklist.

Asset Building and Community Development

Read an overview of the Ford Foundation’s work in Community and Resource Development.

Public Markets as a Vehicle for Social Integration and Upward Mobility
This effort began in 2002 with research conducted by PPS that demonstrated how markets provide both a low-cost entry point for starting  a business and a focal point for bringing people together. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to read this report, which summarizes PPS’s initial research on public markets for the Ford Foundation.

About the Office of Community Services RFP

Release Date: August 17, 2004

Due Date: September 16, 2004

The Office of Community Services (OCS), a long-standing program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has released an RFP for a $1 million granting program for public markets, focusing primarily on capital grants of up to $250,000. OCS has been an important funder of community economic development initiatives and has funded a number of public markets and food incubators in the past.

Find out more about this program and download the RFP.

Tips for Successful OCS Grant Applications

The Economic Development Assistance Consortium offers these helpful hints on how to be competitive in submitting proposals to OCS