Eleven ROCs to share almost $22k in Better Together Grants

Funding will support diverse initiatives, from new mailboxes to community gardens and bus shelters.

Eleven ROCS received the great news this week from the ROC Association Directors that their Better Together Grant applications have been approved. The awards totaled $21,634 in funding to address community improvement projects, including rebranding, Member engagement and development projects.

The ROC Association received 40 applications for the grant program, which awards up to $2,000 in individual grants to ROCs that demonstrate a compelling community need. The $20,000 in funding is provided by ROC USA. ROC Association Board President Marjory Gilsrud said the 11 applicants were so compelling that the ROC Association Board of Directors could not narrow the list down any further and dipped into the ROC Association’s reserves to fund the 11th applicant.

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“Just like every year, it was really tough to make a decision,” said Gilsrud, director of the East, Midwest and South regions. “All the applicants were deserving of an award, but it came down to these 11 communities and we couldn’t be happier with our decision.”

In October 2010, a group of ROC leaders developed a community grants program idea that would both help a fellow ROC as well as engage new leadership in the community. ROC USA has included the grants in the budget since 2011 and has awarded more than $219,000 in funding directly to ROCs.

The 2024 Better Together Grant recipients are:

Brookside Residents Association, Inc., in Plainville, Mass., was awarded $2,000 to remove 20 old mailboxes and stands and replace them with new ones.

Contoocook River Cooperative in Deering, N.H., was awarded $2,000 to purchase a central mailbox unit to accommodate all residents in the community.

Country Court Community in Kalispell, Mont., was awarded $2,000 to build a bus shelter to protect children from the cold and windy weather when they wait for the school bus. The shelter will feature a motion-activated light inside so bus drivers and commuters can see the children.

Evans Cooperative, Inc., in Epping, N.H., was awarded $2,000 to purchase a new laptop, mouse and a special meeting speaker/camera for the community to allow the Board to begin using cloud storage to store documents digitally and also engage in remote training opportunities provided by ROC USA and ROC-NH, a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.   

Evergreen Estates Homeowners Cooperative in Centralia, Wash., was awarded $1,650 to have a backup pump rebuilt that will help pump sewage to a point in the community where it flows out to the street and ties into the city sewer lines.

Fox Hill Cooperative in Franconia, N.H., was awarded $1,984 to create an adaptive community garden. The communal space would be available for all Fox Hill residents to utilize.

Hidden Village in Olympia, Wash., was awarded $2,000 to purchase two new secure community mailboxes after the mailboxes were vandalized and mail was stolen in March 2024. Since then, Members have been driving three miles each way, to get their mail. Having a secure set of mailboxes will allow Members to resume receiving their mail close to home.

Samish Park Homeowners Cooperative in Bellingham, Wash., was awarded $2,000 to remove invasive plant species, including, blackberry vines, deadly nightshade and climbing ivy.

Sleeping Giant Community in Livingston, Mont., was awarded $2,000 to rebrand the community with a sign at its entryway that shows the name of the cooperative, creating community pride while also creating signage for emergency and city services to locate Sleeping Giant.

The Woods Cooperative Association in Little River, Calif., was awarded $2,000 to design and build a bear-proof trash receptacle that is also easy for residents to utilize. During 2023, more than 20 incidents of bears (mothers and cubs) attacking the co-op’s trash bins took place, resulting in a large amount of trash scattered over the area and in one case, a bin was tipped over.

West Wood Village Resident Association, Inc., in Plymouth, Mass., was awarded $2,000 to hire a contractor to either repair or replace the roof over the ramp of the main building. Currently the ramp is closed and one entrance is blocked to the clubhouse because of the roof issue.

Check out the gallery below to see a collection of “before” photos from the grant winners.