'Causeway' handing out $50,000 in grants - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'Causeway' handing out $50,000 in grants

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - One Chattanooga organization is shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to area businesses and individuals. The non-profit 'Causeway' says it wants to serve as the nerve center for taking ideas like community improvement projects and making them a reality.

The organization is holding a competition of sorts. The group is ready to hand out $50,000 that will be divided among 20 different projects or $2,500 per project. It is encouraging anyone and everyone to submit their ideas.

Chattanooga non-profit Causeway says it wants to serve as a springboard for improving the city.

"Our mission is really to be a hub for people who have good ideas for the city," says Chelsea Conrad, Director of Creative Engagement for Causeway.

The organization recently opened its doors in a brand new space on Patten Parkway. The group wants to connect people to resources and turn their grassroots ideas into action.

"That's kind of what we're really striving to do is see what happens when you connect unlikely things or unlikely people or groups," says Conrad.

In its 'Causeway Challenge,' the top 20 individuals or groups with the best ideas get $2,500 a piece to make them a reality.

"Twenty-five hundred dollars isn't going to change the world, but I think you can do a lot with that," says Conrad.

"I'm just really excited about the way that they approach solving civic problems in Chattanooga, which is like an entrepreneurial approach," says Ben Schnell.

Schnell is a talent recruiter for a local company. He wants to start a story-sharing program, that will connect people from different backgrounds.

"When someone shares their story, it helps process their past toward a more hopeful future. And if we do that collectively, we can start to see a thread between the different stories that shows the story of people in Chattanooga," says Schnell.

Others applying say doing a challenge like this in Chattanooga makes sense.

"It's a hub for technology of innovation for design, creativity," says Tavis Salazar.

Tavis Salazar moved her from Miami five years ago and he is looking forward to making new connections.

"Hopefully some great ideas come out of this that will help improve the city and help improve connectivity as a whole," he says.

Causeway receives funding from the Benwood and Footprint Foundations, as well as donors.

It says no idea is a bad idea. It is taking applications through the end of this month and will hand out the grants toward the end of September.

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