The spaces that divide use could be the spaces that connect us. 

Don’t have a proposal, but want to suggest a location for a proposal? Email us!

Don’t have a proposal, but want to mentor a proposal? Email us!

Don’t have a proposal, but want to help fund a proposal? Email us!

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There are spaces all across New Haven that separate rather than connect us.

What is the Could Be Fund?

The Could Be Fund invites you — artists, entrepreneurs, and other creatives — to submit a proposal for how to link three of New Haven’s fast growing neighborhoods to each other and surrounding neighborhoods. For this fund, a project of the Elm City Innovation Collaborative, these areas are 9th Square/Downtown, Science Park/Newhallville, and Upper State Street/East Rock/Fair Haven (see map below).

We welcome proposals that include the creation of public art, infrastructure, and design to make spaces more inviting, fun, and inclusive. The Could Be Fund is responsible for overseeing $152,000, and all grantees will be required to secure a 1-to-1 cash match. Cash match means that for every dollar you raise, the Could Be Fund can match your dollar 1-to-1. In order for us to support your proposal, you will need to raise those matching dollars. We are here to support you — with advice, suggestions, etc. — is raising these funds. We do not want funding to stand in the way of incredible proposals.

Our goal is to prompt people to dream about what New Haven could be if our communities, economic sector, and neighborhoods strengthened the connections to one another that make us a  part of a larger whole. We strongly encourage all residents to submit a proposal — including youth/students, residents from every single neighborhood, non-artists, etc.

The Could Be Fund team will help guide teams in their proposal.  Applications are available online and in print.

Who will the Corner Fund projects aim to serve?

The Could Be Fund will support proposals that aim to serve current residents, community members, passers by, potential talent considering staying, and visitors (including investors and entrepreneurs).

Below is a map of the focus areas. If you have a question about whether or not your proposal qualifies, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Office building view from the outside


  1. Connectivity: Connect three of New Haven’s neighborhoods by activating public spaces with creative projects.
  2. Inclusivity: At every step in the process (leadership, outreach, selection, and installation) we aim to prioritize inclusive practices.
  3. Civic Empowerment: Creating a city made with and through the vision of its occupants.
  4. Joy: Make places where everyone can work safely and have fun.
  5. Place: Focus on relationship-building and build off the work already happening in neighborhoods. Also, work to redefine spaces to feel more safe, welcome, and positive.


We encourage applicants to submit as soon as they are able. For a document of the full application, click here.

DECEMBER 3, 2018: Application opens.

DECEMBER 20, 2018: Application review begins. Decisions will be made on a rolling basis.

FEBRUARY 15, 2019: Application for first project cohort closes at 11:59 p.m. EST.

MAY 13, 2019: Final notifications to all grantees (who have not heard from us yet).

JANUARY 1, 2019 – JUNE 30, 2020: Funds available for 2019 grantees


  • Grants will be given in two sizes: Please be specific about your financial needs
    • Under $2000
    • $2,000-$25,000
  • All grants are matching funds. (i.e. we will provide up to 50% of funding for your project)
  • All projects must take place in one of three areas of New Haven:
    • Science Park/Newhallville
    • Upper State Street/East Rock/Fair Haven
    • Ninth Square/Downtown


Have a question you don’t see answered here? Email the Could Be Fund team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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