10 Community Center and Venue Projects from 10 Years of Patronicity
We share 10 of our favorite community center and venue projects since 2013.
2023 marks the 10 year anniversary of Patronicity. This blog is part of a series in honor of our 10 year anniversary, featuring 10 projects from each of our key project types: accessibility, alleys and streetscapes, community centers and venues, education, environmental, events, food and agriculture, gardens and green spaces, public art, parks and playgrounds, public plaza and markets, small businesses, and trails. In this series, we’ll share our favorite, most memorable and successful projects from over the years. We hope these projects will inspire you to become a changemaker and get to work building vibrant communities.
Community centers and venues are the heart of a community. Deeply rooted in the unique needs of the residents they serve, they offer space to gather, connect, learn, and play. These public spaces can take many forms–indoor, outdoor, meditative, celebratory–but all share the vision of a vibrant community where lifelong friendships are formed, collective memories are made, and neighborhood initiatives are launched.
If you listen closely, you may hear the sounds of a vision coming to life on a stage filled with music, dance, drama, art, and celebration. At The Abby and Libby Memorial Park, you can find a bench, bring a lawn chair, or spread a blanket where you can take in a new amphitheater and community complex.
This project began much differently than most community initiatives. The vision for this complex was a response to the tragic loss of Abby Williamsand Libby German, which deeply impacted the small, close knit community of Delphi, Indiana. In the midst of the shock and grief, the support of the families, both emotional and financial, was overwhelming. Neighbors, friends, and countless strangers, reached out to share their compassion. The families, searching for a way to create a lasting tribute to the lives of their girls, and compelled by the continued interest of people from all over the state and across the country, began forming this vision. The L. and A. Park Foundation, Inc.was established to build The Abby and Libby Memorial Park to honor their memory.
Among the many interests that the girls shared, was a shared love for music, playing saxophones side by side for three years in their school band. This kinship and their passion for music led the L. and A. Park Foundation, Inc. to build an amphitheater in their honor.
The amphitheater is the focal point of the complex. The wide-open stage faces a large grassy area, where visitors can enjoy concerts, plays, dance performances, talent shows, art exhibits and more. The 20-acre parcel also features three baseball fields, concessions, restrooms, two playgrounds, a scenic walking path, numerous picnic shelters and benches.
The project crowdfunded over $66,000. By reaching their crowdfunding goal, the project received a matching grant from the Creating Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA).
With the goal of creating memorable family experiences for the residents of Tecumseh, Michigan, the City of Tecumseh launched a crowdfunding campaign to resurrect its Movies in the Park program. The city launched the program several years prior to the crowdfunding campaign and contracted a local company to provide the projector, screen, and technical assistance. The program had overwhelming community support, but due to budget constraints was discontinued.
The crowdfunding campaign rallied the community around the return of this popular program. By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the Public Spaces Community Places (PSCP) crowdgranting program, a partnership with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The campaign allowed the city to purchase its own projector and 20-foot inflatable screen, supporting the sustainability of the program for years to come.
This was Patronicity’s first event-based project. While it wasn’t a permanent installation, like a community center or performance stage, it provided a temporary venue for the community to gather.
The Arlington Common is an initiative created by the Arlington Arts Enrichment Program, a nonprofit dedicated to enhancing our community through creative exploration of the arts and wellness. The organization purchased a property in the heart of Arlington, Vermont which includes a fitness facility, offices, a concert and event hall. This multi-generational center is created by the people for the people, in an effort to embrace the beauty of living in the shires of Vermont.
The Arlington Common Ground crowdfunding campaign aimed to enhance the community's fitness, social interaction, and well-being by creating two new outdoor pickleball courts. Following pandemic social distancing measures, residents desired a place to gather together. Pickleball, the fastest growing sport in the United States, provided the perfect recreational activity for Arlington residents to gather around.
The pickleball courts complement existing wellness activities, exercise classes, and workshops. The courts are now home to a middle school after-school program designed to improve physical health, foster academic achievement, and promote personal development.
By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the Better Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with the Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Vermont Community Foundation.
Jenna's Promise is a nonprofit organization dedicated to breaking down barriers to treatment for people suffering from substance use disorder, which leads Jenna’s House, a community and recovery center in Johnson, Vermont.
The organization wanted to provide a safe space for friends and families to gather. They launched a crowdfunding campaign to beautify their outdoor space by adding landscaping, community gardens, and a community gathering space with picnic tables and benches. The project budget also included a fund to support free community events to ensure the space could be utilized by the community. By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the Better Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with the Vermont DHCD and the Vermont Community Foundation. The organization plans to add a covered patio and stage to continue building on the project's success.
In 2019, the town of Lakeville, Indiana launched a crowdfunding campaign to update the Lakeville Community Center and Wetland Barn. The barn, sitting on seven acres of wetlands in the heart of Lakeville's downtown district, provides community programs and education. The crowdfunding campaign raised over $15,000 to update the existing structure with new siding, a new roof, and an addition to provide restrooms and a warming kitchen. By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the Creating Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with the IHCDA. The updates have allowed the barn to be used for year-round public programming.
In 2017, Cameron Moberg, a California-based artist, painted the iconic "Be The Change" mural in downtown Fowler, Indiana. A vacant lot surrounded the mural, but the community envisioned a vibrant common area for its residents and visitors to gather; an outdoor space where families could enjoy a picnic before the weekend movie, an outdoor concert series could draw in visitors, or a farmers market could offer local goods.
Monarch Commons became that envisioned space and engaged the community while crowdfunding over $52,000 to revitalize the vacant lot with outdoor dining tables, a covered stage area, a grassy area for casual seating, landscaping designed to attract butterflies, and a beautiful monarch sculpture to complement the mural. By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the Creating Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with the IHCDA.
North Rosedale Park Civic Association's Legacy Project transformed Rosedale's much-beloved Community House and adjacent seven-acre park into a vibrant, interactive public space, filled with friendly faces, educational opportunities, revitalized athletic fields, lush greenery and beautiful art. The Community House provides a vibrant gathering space providing a sense of belonging amongst the neighbors and community.
Phase One of the project was the first major renovation of the Community House since the 1960s. The project included electrical upgrades, a welcoming lobby addition, handicapped-accessible restrooms, a parking lot expansion to host the popular Northwest Farmers' Market, and a new patio for summer arts programming.
An eight-year-old girl in the neighborhood was inspired by the campaign and wanted to do her part to support the project. With help from her mom, she held a bake sale to raise funds for the project. Patronicity’s unique ability to collect offline crowdfunding contributions allowed this little girl to contribute to the campaign without a credit card, but rather with her hard-earned dollars and cents.
By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the PSCP crowdgranting program, a partnership with the MEDC.
PROVA! was the City of Brockton’s response to infuse the city’s rich culture and community into a downtown activation plan combining local music, arts and culture. PROVA!–a word that means “Proof” in Creole–is designed to be a rich, colorful garden; a “garden” that is a dynamic venue which proves and celebrates Brockton’s rich multicultural heritage through local food and drink, family fun, and diverse arts and entertainment programs.
Residents and visitors were ecstatic about PROVA! The project attracted an average of over 200 attendees per night. People of all ages, socioeconomic, cultural, and political backgrounds came together for weekly events.
PROVA launched two successful crowdfunding campaigns on Patronicity. The first–PROVA!–was launched in summer 2018 and raised $84,440 with a $50,000 goal. The second–PROVA! Summer 2021–was launched in summer 2021 and raised over $32,000. By reaching their goal, the project received matching grants for the respective projects from the Commonwealth Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with MassDevelopment.
In 2015, the town of Portland, Michigan decided to build a structure to be a gathering place for their community. Plans were put in place to raise money for a new pavilion next to the historic Red Mill. The community had initially planned to keep their project small and crowdfund $10,000, but quickly set their sights on the $50,000 goal with the opportunity to access a matching grant from the PSCP crowdgranting program, a partnership with the MEDC.
There were concerns amongst the community if a town of their size, approximately 4,000 people, could raise the money needed for the large project. Support poured in from the community with hundreds of small dollar donations adding up to help the campaign reach success. Portland’s residents wanted to see the project come to fruition and understood the value the space could provide to the community for generations to come. This project long-held a record for the largest number of patrons to a crowdfunding campaign on our platform with 749 patrons contributing to the campaign.
After the recent closure of a local diner, the community of Ashland was looking for a place downtown to cultivate community connections and serve as the “hub” of the Main Street. They were looking for something that would help draw people into the downtown area to patronize small businesses, stay, enjoy time with neighbors, and build community.
The Corner Spot was planned by a group of engaged residents, business owners, and town staff to be an enjoyable gathering place for people. The space features tables, chairs, bench swings, and landscaping, and serves as a “town square,” drawing visitors into the downtown and providing a gathering space. A small shed was converted into a retail space, allowing area businesses to test their business model and the Ashland market with consideration of opening a permanent establishment.
The Corner Spot was quickly embraced by the community of Ashland as a new hub of activity in the community. Local breweries and small businesses fill the retail shed. Area yoga studios offer community classes, musicians host concerts, and area moms use the space during the day with their children.
The campaign exceeded its crowdfunding goal of $25,000 and raised over $37,000 from 292 patrons. By reaching their goal, the project received a matching grant from the Commonwealth Places crowdgranting program, a partnership with MassDevelopment.