Several hundred residents cast their ballots to weigh in on what five community projects will square off in the Voice of San Diego Idea Tournament at Politifest on Aug. 3 for a chance to win a $5,000 grant from the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement. Everyone Counts, an online elections host and administrator, generously donated their resources and time to make the election a possibility. The team at Everyone Counts patiently uploaded and verified new voter rolls every day and helped address our many requests.

To all 25 groups that submitted a proposal or anyone who voted for a project that did not advance – we wish we had more money to disburse, and we greatly appreciate your enthusiastic participation.

Now if your group or favorite project is in the finals or you simply want to weigh in on who should win–come to Politifest on Aug. 3 at Liberty Station to cast your vote in the Idea Tournament using your smartphone immediately following the presentations! The festival begins at 10 a.m. and the Idea Tournament is slated to start at 1 p.m.

Here are the five finalists for the Voice of San Diego Idea Tournament:

Graffiti to Greenery – City Heights Town Council

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

Real Connect: A model for direct neighborhood input in town council/community planning group actions – North Park Community Association

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. Read their full proposal here.

College Town – Reality Changers

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. Chris Yanov & Co are also the back to back Idea Tournament Champions. Read their full proposal here.

Living Laboratories in Community Gardens – San Diego Community Garden Network

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. Read their full proposal here.

Senior Lunch Program – St. Mark’s Episcopal Church – City Heights

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

Zachary Warma was formerly the events and community manager for Voice of San Diego.

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