Were I a philanthropist, I would take this as a menu. Each one of these groups wants to change the city in its own small way. Each one wants the $5,000 grant that will go to the winner of our Idea Tournament, taking place Aug. 3 at Politifest in Liberty Station.

So here’s 25 ideas. The grant from the San Diego Foundation’s Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement to the winner will be just $5,000.

A philanthropist could change so much of the city with just $125,000 and each of these projects.

The Idea Tournament was my idea years ago and I’m thrilled to see it blossom.

Now you, as readers, have the opportunity to help pick the winner. Click here to vote on the submissions below.

The Top Five will move on to the final with our panel of judges and voters deciding the winner. See you Aug. 3!

The Last Straw Campaign

The 1:1 Movement aims to substantially expand “The Last Straw” campaign that encourages restaurant and bars to provide drinking straws upon request, thus reducing the volume of non-recyclable marine debris. The campaign expansion will focus on interactive web development, additional staff, and printed materials. Here’s their full proposal.

A Bankers Hill Pedestrian Crossing

The Bankers Hill Resident Group is applying for funding for a crosswalk at Sixth Avenue and Spruce Street so that families, children and visitors can cross Sixth Ave safely and access the newly expanded Children’s’ Playground in Balboa Park. Here’s the intersection:

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Here’s their full proposal.

Chollas Creek and Families

The Chollas Creek Family Green Team is family focused, community-driven project to engage 50 low income Encanto families to understand the links between pollution, climate change, and economic and public health. Here’s their full proposal.

Restaurants: Accept Food Assistance, Get a Gig with Some City Heights Seniors

City Heights Seniors want to support local restaurants which become SNAP (aka “food assistance”) certified by enjoying lunch supplied by those restaurants at a senior gathering space as part of staying healthy. Here’s their full proposal.

File photo by Sam Hodgson

Fight Graffiti in City Heights with Plants

The “Graffiti to Greenery” program will help combat graffiti by planting low water use plants around City Heights buildings whose walls that are repeatedly covered in graffiti. Applicants agree to water and maintain the plants. Here’s their full proposal.

Marne Foster’s Team Wants Ambassadors for the District

District E of the San Diego Unified School District comprises of mostly southeastern neighborhoods in the city. Marne Foster, the school board member for the area, has created a cabinet of supporters. They want to recruit six students, parents and/or community advocates to serve as District E ambassadors and engage in leadership training that will include an outreach strategy to better engage local community groups with the neighborhood schools. Here’s their full proposal.

Photo by Will Carless

Fresh Food for Greater Logan Heights

The Greater Logan Heights Community Partnership proposes to launch a fresh food incentive program to help neighborhood residents purchase local fruits and vegetables from local entrepreneurs. Here’s their full proposal.

350 Mini-Gardens in Emerald Hills

The San Diego Junior Ambassadors propose the Planters of Hope Mini-Gardens project, which will construct 350 mini-gardens with 1 or more plants each in a 5 gallon bucket-based sub-irrigation planter that will be distributed complimentary to residents of the Emerald Hills Community. Here’s their full proposal.

San Diego River School

Lakeside River Park Conservancy will restore a 100-year old farmhouse and barn as a science field station along the San Diego River in Lakeside for middle school and high school students as well as junior college through graduate level students. Here’s their full proposal.

New Signs for Mission Beach Boardwalk

The Mission Beach Boardwalk Enhancement Initiative will replace the decrepit sign posts along the Ocean Front Boardwalk with decorative, designer-grade, round-fluted sign posts in an effort to aesthetically enhance a city icon that draws scores of tourists and locals. Here’s their full proposal.

Help North Park Connect to Community Planning

Real Connect will create a scalable community-driven model for true neighbor input that allows for North Park residents to text, call or email any issue into a relational database that will be monitored by a central community group and subsequently forwarded on to the relevant elected official or department. Here’s their full proposal.

North Park Needs a Better Place to Sit

The North Park Branch Library, which drew 140,000 readers in 2012, wishes to improve and enhance the library experience for all visitors and reflect North Park’s community vibrancy by replacing all twelve large reading chairs with a new non-cloth variety. Here’s their full proposal.

Save an Ocean Beach Landmark

The Ocean Beach Town Council seeks to replace the iconic and highly damaged Ocean Beach entranceway sign with an identical sign composed of sustainable, weather resistant materials. Here’s their full proposal.

Source: OB Town Council

Fix Up Tecolote Canyon Park Improvements

The Overlook Heights Neighborhood Watch is looking to restore the upper reaches of Tecolote Canyon Natural Park along Dorcas Street to its natural state with native plantings, removal of non-native plants, and installation of walking paths, benches and educational signage to encourage use. Here’s the first half of their proposal and here is the second half.

Greening San Diego One Plant at a Time

Plant it Forward will purchase native plants (from California, Baja California, and/or San Diego
County) from local nurseries with sustainable practices and distribute them free of charge at Farmers Markets and then work with the recipients to map distribution of the plants across the city. Here’s their proposal.

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Refurbish a Piece of Point Loma History

The Point Loma Assembly, a 100-year old nonprofit civic association looks to continue the restoration and refurbishment of the Assembly hall, which serves as a gathering place for the local community. Here’s their proposal.

Point Rancho Penasquitos to Civic Engagement

The Rancho Penasquitos Town Council proposes three community events signs to increase visibility of local groups and activities to increase community participation in a vibrant neighborhood of 53,000 residents. Here’s their full proposal.

A College Admissions Festival

Reality Changers will organize a “College Town Festival” in fall 2013 to connect middle school students and their families with college admissions information and will provide a free university-themed t-shirt that will be connected to “College Town” giveaways and programs throughout the school year. Here’s their full proposal.

A San Dieguito Lagoon Open-Air Classroom

The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy looks to complete the construction of the San Dieguito Lagoon Open-Air Classroom that will provide a gathering place for students, residents and visitors to learn about the lagoon and the San Dieguito River Park. Here’s their full proposal.

Living Laboratories in Community Gardens

Working in conjunction with UC San Diego and other partners, Green STEAM Communities will design a permanent living laboratory and integrate it into the Chula Vista Community Garden by offering a class open to university students and community members. The program will serve as a pilot for integrating learning laboratories in community-based gardens throughout San Diego. Here’s their full proposal.

A City Heights Senior Lunch Program

Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church looks to cover the annual cost of serving hot lunch bi-weekly to City Heights seniors. Here’s their full proposal.

Art Miles Mural Project

The United Nations Association of the United States, San Diego Chapter proposes th Art Miles Mural Project, in order to create public awareness of San Diego’s rich cultural diversity, will execute a series of 10 multicultural community murals as a Visual Documentation and/or Festival of Cultures with residents that would be showcased during the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial Celebration. Here’s their full proposal.

Fix Up Washington Street

The University Heights Community Association is looking to create a maintenance assessment district in order to transform two blocks on Washington Street into a greener, safer, more aesthetically pleasing gateway to University Heights through drought tolerant median plantings, vertical banners, stenciled crosswalks and attractive bus shelters. Here’s their full proposal.

Photo by Grant Barrett

The Urbanism Project

The Urban Collaboration seeks to train residents from Valencia Park, Lincoln Park, Emerald Hills, El Rey Mobile Home Park, and Euclid Ave apartments in crime prevention and safety techniques and to encourage residents to develop a sense of ownership for their neighborhoods by addressing common neighborhood goals through coordination of neighborhood projects and outreach. Here’s the full proposal.

Scholar-Athlete Education Program for Refugee Girls

Youth and Leaders Living Actively, YALLA, will offer a monthly series of 2-hour Soccer Clinics and 2-hour Academic Workshops in various locations throughout San Diego County for refugee girls, with the goal of expanding their Refugee Girls Soccer Team and Girls Scholar-Athlete Education Programs. Here’s their full proposal.

Photo by Sam Hodgson

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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