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Nicole Curtis Lends Expertise to New Grant Campaign

Photos courtesy of <a href=""> Bernzomatic&gt;</a>
Photos courtesy of Bernzomatic>

HGTV Rehab Addict host Nicole Curtis took a few precious days away from prepping Ransom Gillis for Sunday's blowout open house to help Hurricane Sandy victims. Curtis was on Staten Island yesterday to rehab a maker space as part of blowtorch maker Bernzomatic's Find Your Fire Community Grants program. Curtis spoke to Curbed about the project and wants Detroiters to know that they should apply for the cash. "When I drive round in Detroit, I see overwhelming need and so many projects that could make the best use of $10K," Curtis said.

"We started out with a maker space in New York because they'd been hit by Hurricane Sandy. It's the kind of example where $10K would make a huge difference," Curtis added. The maker space rehab is part of Bernzomatic's existing commitment to assist community organizations with construction and remodeling projects. Maker spaces are community centers where members can work on projects with industrial tools, or create larger scale artwork than you might do at home. Metro Detroit is home to several of these spaces, including OmniCorps Detroit and i3.

Curtis says that the grant program is for community groups only, not for individual projects, and she sees the need daily in the Motor City. "Driving around my area in Detroit, I can think of a thousand entries," she said. Applicants can submit their projects through Bernzomatic's website, and Curtis will serve on the panel that chooses the ten finalists. When the finalists are announced, the public will vote for their favorites online. The top three vote-getters receive $10,000, and the top project gets in-person help from Nicole Curtis. No one gets left out—the other seven finalists will each take home $1,500 in grant money and Bernzomatic tools to help with their projects.

Curtis wants to see Detroit represented in the final group, and is encouraging city residents to nominate their favorite community projects. She cited no-kill animal shelters, playgrounds and parks, and community centers serving kids and the elderly as the kind of projects that might go for the grants. When we asked if applicants could sway her vote, Curtis cracked a joke.

"I can be bought with cookies or donuts as usual," she quipped, before getting all serious and heartfelt. "It's not meant to solve all problems, but it's still a lot more than many community grants I've worked for," she said. "It can be seen money to get something going. I'm sure we're going to see some amazing projects.

If you want to ask Nicole Curtis about this in person, she'll be working the line at Sunday's Ransom Gillis open house. She told Curbed she'll be pushing the grant program while pressing the flesh. If you know a Detroit group that might benefit from Find Your Fire, you can nominate their project right here. Groups can self-nominate, too. Nominations close Dec. 7.

·Find Your Fire Grants Bernzomatic]
·Metro Detroiters Prepare Inventions and Art for Maker Faire [Curbed Detroit]
·Nicole Curtis Announces Open House at Ransom Gillis [Curbed Detroit]

Ransom Gillis House

205 Alfred Street, , MI 48201