The purpose of the City People Small Grants Program is to encourage new projects or events that will contribute to the vibrancy, beautification or unique qualities of downtown. It is designed to encourage the imagination of untried, out of the box ideas, some of which could lead to bigger future projects.
Small Grant Guidelines

Grants range from $250-$1,500

We encourage you to use your imagination to generate unique, new, outside-the-box ideas

Grant could be used as seed money to try out new ideas that lead to bigger projects

There is no application deadline. Grant requests will be considered within two weeks of submission. If the request meets our requirements, you will be invited to discuss it in person with our Grants Committee.

The City People Small Grants Program has a small budget. When we run out of money, this information will be posted to our website and social media sites.

If you don’t want to complete our full online application, then make a video or draw a picture that gives us all the information that we need!

Questions? E-mail us at

Projects funded by City People Small Grants include:

Downtown Art Wraps: Knoxville History Project

This is a collection of traffic engineering boxes graphically wrapped to showcase locally significant artwork from Knoxville’s past. They are designed to increase historical and cultural awareness and to enhance the attractiveness and vibrancy of downtown. The grant provided the seed money for this project that is already growing into a beautiful asset for downtown.

Bridge Flower Boxes: RiverHill Gateway Neighborhood Association

Steel planter boxes and flowers were added under the photo banners on East Hill Avenue Bridge to increase the beauty and appeal of this historical area of Knoxville. The grant helped support the work of this community to increase its visibility and to draw attention to its unique qualities.

Luminary Workshop and Walk: Cattywampus Puppet Project

Community members joined Cattywampus Puppet Council in their Emporium studio for a whimsical luminary workshop. Each participant made their very own handmade lantern or luminary to warm their home or carry in the Luminary Walk on November First Friday. The grant provided seed money that allowed experimentation with this concept in hopes that it will lead to a larger, future event.

Landscaping Design: Downtown YMCA

The landscaping at the entrance to downtown YMCA will soon have a beautiful new design. It will utilize native plants that will maximize both aesthetic and ecological quality, provide seasonal interest, minimize long-term maintenance and create an experience for those walking along the sidewalk. The grant provided the funds and the encouragement for an innovative design that we hope will be a model for others.

Christmas Carolers: Sine Nomine Ensemble

The downtown holiday atmosphere was enhanced with the cheer and warmth of a professional ensemble singing Christmas carols while strolling along the Peppermint Trail. Caroling occurred on three nights with stops at specific locations to draw attention to the participating retailers, and peppermints were distributed to listeners to sweeten the experience. This grant provided seed money to test this idea so that it might be continued and expanded next year.

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