Brandywine Creates Community Gathering Space That Forges Stronger Connections

Amber Nielsen

Brandywine raised bed garden

"The area was not utilized by anyone in the community except for the mosquitos." The Brandywine neighborhood wanted to utilize some empty land as a community gathering area. Using a neighborhood matching grant, they created a fun gathering area with BBQs, picnic tables, and a community garden. There is also a green space for dogs and children to play. There is a shaded bench looking over the lake, giving the perfect reprieve on a warm day.


One community member explained, "Children can run and play safely in the grass, without concern of motor vehicles or wandering off. Residents are able to take their dogs in the area and have them run around, chase a ball, and roll in the grass. More and more people are excited over the ability to have their own little garden. We are able to have yard sales in a space for everyone in the area to visit and participate."


As the weather warms up, they are anticipating holding more and more events as a community to continue to build connections and relationships.


Many community members who apply for these grants and work on neighborhood projects talk most of all about how it brings their community together. While they love how the project beautifies their neighborhood, what sticks with them the most is the relationships and paths of communications that are built. They love working together toward a common goal.


Brandywine park area with benches and grill

"The best thing to come of this experience is community understanding, speaking with residents allowed for a dialogue with so many individuals. We are hoping as we have more events, more conversations, we will create even more unity and participation," they elaborated.


The neighborhood matching grant program awards up to $25,000 to eligible neighborhood-based organizations to complete projects including art, beautification, signage, festivals, sustainability, safety improvements, community gardens, recreational features and more! Applications are accepted March 1, June 1, and September 1, annually. Organizations match funds received with at least 50% volunteer engagement activities, the remaining match may be in the form of more volunteer activities, cash, or in-kind donations (equipment, supplies, professional services, etc.). Participation in a pre-application workshop is required. 


Brandywine raised bed garden 2

To get started, attend one of the following workshops or view the workshop presentation and program guidelines online at


  • Tuesday, April 26, 12:00 – 1:00 pm (Virtual)
  • Wednesday, April 27, 6:00 – 7:00 pm (Belmont Center, 700 Parkwood Avenue, Jack Bullard Conf. Room, 2nd Floor)
  • Thursday, May 5, 12:00 – 1:00 pm (Virtual)
  • Wednesday, May 11, 6:00 – 7:00 pm (Arbor Glen Outreach Center, 1520 Clanton Road, Charlotte)
  • Friday, May 20, 12:00 – 1:00 pm (Virtual)


Virtual workshops will take place via Zoom. Online and call-in access instructions will be emailed to registered participants prior to the workshop.

To participate, please register here

Please contact Jackie Clare at or 704-336-4594 if you have any questions or need assistance.

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