Small grants can go a long way

A small grant can often be enough to support people initiating community improvements. With determination and a group of friends or neighbors, many of our grantees are able to improve their towns and villages with just a small grant of up to CZK 20,000 ($860). Here is what some groups have been able to do with the energy they find in the community and a little financial support.

Nový Jičín

A group of volunteers from Nový Jičín decided to draw attention to a neglected public space and engage fellow residents in the life of the neighborhood. Last fall, they organized a community event called Experience Nový Jičín Differently, which involved local musicians, artists and people from local sports clubs, a club for children and youth, a family center, a preschool and a children’s orphanage. Other residents also took part, bringing homemade treats to share or plants and seeds to exchange at the event’s plant swap. The group later held a second, holiday gathering, this time with a campfire, which was similarly popular in the neighborhood. One of the organizers said: “The events attracted residents of our town, showcased the art and creativity of various local groups, connected local residents and new Ukrainian neighbors, and involved children from disadvantaged backgrounds.”


A new residential district has developed in recent years in the village of Bořetice, which has just over 1,000 inhabitants. Most of the new residents are young families who have moved in from other towns or cities. Although these newcomers have no previous ties to Bořetice, they have a lot of energy and want to get involved in community life in Bořetice. They also share a desire to improve their new neighborhood. 

Concerned about the impact from strong winds and dust from the surrounding fields, they have agreed with the municipality that they will plant a windbreak of trees and take care of the newly planted trees. The group organized a village festival and invited all residents to take part. At the event, they presented their plan to plant over 30 trees. Their aim is to use community activities like festivals and tree plantings to get to know and connect longstanding residents and newcomers. As one of the organizers said: “Planting a tree is a beautiful way to bond with this place. It then becomes a measure of time, growing with our children, growing old with us and our homes, and along with it we are transformed from newcomers to integral parts of the neighborhood.” 

In addition to a small grant from Via Foundation, the municipality of Bořetice is helping with funding and implementation, and local business people are  lending equipment. May the trees subdue the wind and grow well, along with the community!


A group of neighbors in the village of Obruby near Mladá Boleslav found that they didn’t need much money to hold a community gathering. Local residents, led by volunteer firefighters and members of the football club, organized an intergenerational neighborhood get-together with a cultural program for people of all ages. Children enjoyed games and a play, while the adults enjoyed a concert and homemade treats. As one of the organizers said: “We are most happy that our fellow residents came to the gathering and supported our efforts to revive the cultural and social life in our village. The positive feedback we got and gratitude for trying to bring neighbors together were a great reward for the time we spent on the project.”


Gathering around the campfire is a popular bonding activity in many Czech villages. In the village of Občov, however, the traditional campfire circle was located close to the road, making it dangerous, and the site was unsuitable for larger gatherings. A group of local residents, in agreement with the municipality, decided to build a campfire circle in a more suitable location. Although this was a relatively small project, a bulldozer was needed and specialist masonry work had to be carried out. Volunteers were aided by local businesses and the village leadership and together they completed the campfire circle. One of the organizers said:  “The whole project went exactly as planned. We are most pleased with how beautifully it has blended into the landscape. The campfire circle looks like it is at home here, and it is. We hope it will not serve our community, as well as cyclists and tourists. We plan to mark the campfire circle on maps so that people biking or hiking through the area will know about it.” 

The group has additional plans for the space, including building seating out of logs and planting herbs. They also set up a fundraising drive on Via’s online giving portal,, which raised money for these additional improvements.