Apply for a Challenge

The Causeway Challenge is an ideas contest centered around a specific question, that empowers individuals to pilot their ideas for community change. 


The 37404 zip code includes some of Chattanooga’s most diverse and fastest changing neighborhoods like Orchard Knob, Glenwood, Highland Park, Ridgedale, and Oak Grove. As those neighborhoods change, how can we make sure everyone’s voice is heard, and that the growth is benefiting people of all ages, races, and socioeconomic statuses?

A common space is defined as any area available for use by more than one person. How can common spaces—like sidewalks, bus stops, front porches, local businesses, and parks—be used to strengthen the neighborhoods in the 37404 zip code? Community Impact was a neighborhood initiative that existed in Chattanooga from 1999 to 2011. They measured neighborhood strength based on four factors: community leadership, neighborhood safety, real estate market health, and social fabric among neighbors. We are looking for projects that fall into one of those categories.   

The Causeway Challenge exists to empower grassroots leaders to create the change they want to see in their own communities. We go one step beyond asking for resident feedback, by actually giving individuals the money and hands-on coaching to test their project. Through six rounds of past Causeway Challenges we have seen that this not only results in creative new projects, but also in a new group of empowered and experienced community leaders who continue to step up and use their voice for change long after the Challenge is over.

Thanks to a collaborative group of local foundations, we have a second round of funding that will be available to the winners who show the most promise in their pilot phase, allowing for more longevity and bigger impact from these resident-led projects in the 37404 area.

If you are someone who lives, works, or plays in the 37404 area, we want to know how you think your neighborhood could be strengthened using common spaces. Applications are now closed. Meet the winners.



Dates to Remember

Applications Open
July 1st - July 31st EXTENDED TO AUGUST 7

Kickoff Event
Walking and Bike Tour of 37404 neighborhoods
July 14th at 9:00am

Open Office Hours
Tuesdays July 3, 10, 17, 24
at 16 Patten Parkway

Winners Announced
Online and by email on August 17th

Incubation Period for winners
Class Wednesdays August 22 - October 24th 6-9pm
Project implementation from August - December

Photo courtesy of Chattanooga Public Library

Photo courtesy of Chattanooga Public Library



Do I have to live in 37404 to apply?
Not necessarily. We know that many people have a special interest in this area who may not live there, but might work, volunteer, worship, or socialize there. Our judges will be looking for people who show a deep knowledge of and investment in the neighborhood, but non-residents are not disqualified from applying.

What am I committing to if I win?
Causeway Challenge winners receive $3000 and commit to a 4-month incubation period. You will meet weekly with the other winners for the first 4 weeks of that four months to work on making a plan to implement your idea. The remaining weeks will be spent implementing your project, with periodic check-ins and any additional support needed from Causeway.

What happens after the 4 months?
At the end of the four months, all Challenge winners should have completed a pilot version of their project. The majority of our past Challenge winners have continued their project in some way. For some that means that it grows and continues, others replicate it in other areas, some get absorbed into existing organizations, and some go on to become brand new organizations. Some people also walk away having learned a lot, and realize that they need to go back to the drawing board. We think that is success, too. For this Causeway Challenge, we have additional funding to invest in the winners whose pilot projects show the most promise thanks to the Maclellan Foundation, the Robert L. and Kathrina H. Maclellan Foundation, Footprint Foundation, Benwood Foundation, Tucker Foundation, and Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga.






What neighborhoods are in 37404?
Orchard Knob, Glenwood, Highland Park, Ridgedale, Oak Grove, Ferger Place, Missionary Ridge, Park City, Bushtown, Foxwood Heights

What do you mean by common spaces?
A common space is defined as any area available for use by more than one person. We are open to lots of different examples of common spaces including: Parks, Sidewalks, Alleyways, Bus stops, Laundromats, Grocery stores, Restaurants, Bus stops, Porches, Front Yards, Streets, Parking Lots, etc.

What do you mean by “stronger” neighborhoods?
We plan to define and measure neighborhood strength based on four factors established by Community Impact of Chattanooga: community leadership, neighborhood safety, real estate market health, and social fabric among neighbors.

Who can apply for the Challenge?
The Causeway Challenge exists to support grassroots community leaders. We especially love to give funding to individuals who are deeply familiar with an issue because they are experiencing it firsthand, and therefore have an idea about how to solve it. Individuals involved with organized groups, businesses or nonprofits are welcome to apply, but Causeway Challenge grants are not to be used for existing programs or established nonprofits.

Why does it have to be in a common space?
Common spaces are simply defined as places that more than one person can gather. In our experience, framing the Causeway Challenge question with some creative constraints inspires better projects and more creative thinking.