One of the biggest challenges for local government is determining
funding that will help cover anticipated project costs for a particular
budget year. While most of this funding can be covered by a department’s
budget, additional sources of money are often needed to cover new
projects or programs that come up throughout the year. Federal or state
grants can typically serve as a medium for this additional funding and
have become a fundamental part of most local government departments. For
the City of Des Plaines IL, the Model Communities grant was a recent
opportunity to receive funding for implementing city programs aimed at
improving the overall health of city residents.
Supported by the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) and
the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, the Model
Communities Grant Program provided the city with a unique opportunity to
acquire federal funding for the design and implementation of public
health initiatives. Funded by a $4 million federal grant called
Communities Putting Prevention to Work, the city needed to provide
information, through the grant application, on why it would be an
eligible candidate for part of the allotted funds.
To assist with this effort, the city’s GIS (Geographic Information
System) department was asked to supply numerous mapping products and
statistics for a wide-range of community information, including all
agencies in and around the city that would benefit from the funds, the
number of schools in lower income 2000 census block groups, and the
percentage of minority residents within 2000 census block groups.
Displaying this information through mapping products tied the statistics
and numbers in the grant application to a real-world location and
helped to visualize the positive impact any received funds would make.
As a result of the hard work put in by city staff members, in
combination with the information and products provided from the city’s
GIS, the city was recently awarded a $96,000 grant from the Model
Communities program. With this money, the city hopes to supplement
existing community programs and implement new ones that can help to make
the city a healthier place to live.