2022 Joy Engine Community Challenge

Whether it be a mural, mosaic, music, poetry, or dance; creative expression comes in many forms. We’re challenging neighborhoods to discover and creatively express what JOY means to their community.

The Joy Engine Community Challenge provides small grants to fuel creative expressions of joy within our diverse Milwaukee community. Applications will be accepted for projects to improve public spaces and civic engagement, support diversity, equity and inclusion; and pursue innovative ideas that support your neighborhood.

Applicants and others with questions can email communitychallenge@joyengine.org.


Your project must: 
  • Take place in the neighborhood in which you live or work 
  • Be publicly accessible without admission or entrance fees 
  • Include documentation both during the process and of your completed project (i.e. photos and/or video, written materials, flyers) 
  • Be in the City of Milwaukee

This application is open to the following:
  • Artists working in visual, performing arts or creative placemaking (individuals must partner with a lead organization)
  • Students, student organizations (if under 18 must partner with a
    lead organizer or your school) 
  • Government entities, neighborhood associations or neighborhood improvement districts, schools, cultural centers, community organizations  
  • 501(C)(3), 501(C)(4), and 501(C)(6) nonprofits 
  • Other types of artists and organizations will be considered on a
    case-by-case basis
The following projects are NOT eligible for funding:
  • Partisan, political or election-related activities 
  • Planning activities and assessments and surveys of communities without tangible engagement
  • Studies with no follow-up action
  • Publication of books or reports
  • Acquisition of land and/or buildings or a vehicle purchase
  • Sponsorship of other organizations’ events or activities
  • Research and development for a nonprofit endeavor
  • Research and development for a for-profit endeavor
  • The promotion of a for-profit entity and/or its products and services


Project Framework: 

Joy Engine is looking for projects that engage the arts, are inclusive, mobilize volunteers, and aim to create JOY in your community. We encourage applicants to creatively explore ideas that improve open spaces or design innovative and tangible projects that increase neighborhood pride and facilitate a greater sense of inclusion.

Project Types:

Joy Engine Community Challenge can be used for:

  • Permanent physical improvements in the community
  • Temporary demonstrations, art installations and performances
  • New, innovative programming, events or services

The project types described above will be prioritized over those that support ongoing programming or events.


Grant Amount:

Five Grants with a maximum of $10,000 each will be awarded.


Grant Selection Process:

Assessment Criteria:

  • Inspirational (50 points): The project reflects what represents JOY to you and your community.
  • Execution (30 points): Applicants demonstrate the capacity to deliver the JOY project on time and within the awarded budget, effectively engaging residents and key stakeholders and leveraging volunteers in the execution.
  • Inventive (20 points): The project demonstrates creativity, unique design or engagement elements that will contribute to its impact on community.

Application & Notification

Application Requirements:
  • Applicants must meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Applications must be submitted by completing the digital application form and submitting it via email to communitychallenge@joyengine.org by Friday, August 5, 2022.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Grant recipients and unselected applicants will be notified by email no later than September 9, 2022. Grantees must execute and email a binding Memorandum of Understanding after acceptance. If chosen, your project must be completed by July 31, 2023. Noncompliance with this deadline may result in disqualification or delayed funding.

*If your project is located within a public space, Joy Engine will facilitate the connection between the applicants and the City of Milwaukee for any permits and/or liability insurance required.

Submission Terms & Conditions

If you submit this application, you agree on behalf of yourself and your organization to release Joy Engine Inc and its affiliates and their respective officers, directors, employees, contractors, agents and representatives from all liability associated with sharing the Project Information with potential funders. 

By applying to Joy Engine, the applicant agrees that: 

  • The decisions of Joy Engine regarding the eligibility of applicants and the validity of entries shall be final and binding.
  • All submissions will be judged by Joy Engine, whose decisions and determinations as to the administration of the award and selection of award recipients are final.
  • Joy Engine has the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, or suspend the award.
  • All projects and applications shall not violate any third-party rights.
  • Except where prohibited by law, participation in the Joy Engine Community Challenge constitutes the Applicant’s consent to Joy Engine’s use of the organization’s or artist’s name(s), logos, city, state, zip code, county, and names, likenesses, photographs, videos, images, and statements made or provided by the Applicant’s representatives regarding the award for promotional purposes in any media without further permission, consent, payment or other consideration.
  • All promotional materials (such as newsletters, press releases), events and signage related to the funded project will include a statement indicating that support was received from Joy Engine.
  • The grantee is required to capture photos of the project and is encouraged to capture video. As the grantee captures photos and video of the project, if an identifiable individual appears in the photos and/or videos, the grantee is responsible for having him/her sign the Joy Engine General Release (this document will be provided to grantees with the MOU and other required paperwork). In addition, the grantee should not include any element in photos or videos provided to Joy Engine that may violate third party rights such as artwork and trademarks in text and logo other than those owned by the organization and Joy Engine. The organization should be prepared to send work in progress photos to Joy Engine upon request. Following the grant period, grantees are required to respond to periodic requests for updates from Joy Engine.
  • Joy Engine and its affiliated organizations, subsidiaries, agents and employees are not responsible for late, lost, illegible, incomplete, stolen, misdirected, illegitimate, or impermissible submissions or any other error whether human, mechanical or electronic.
  • Applicant understands that there is no guarantee that proper permitting will be issued if the project is taking place in a public space, however, Joy Engine will work to facilitate that process.


Questions? Please email communitychallenge@joyengine.org.

Note: Please click the button above to download our fillable PDF application. Complete the application and save it to your computer (you can save at any time and come back to finish completing your application later). Once you have finished completing the application, be sure to save it one final time and then email it to communitychallenge@joyengine.org.

You can also download the application, print it, fill it out by hand, and mail it to:

Joy Engine
1100 S 5th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Thank you!

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