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Updated exterior of home in Drake neighborhood

Block Challenge Grant

Form a group with five or more of your neighbors to get a matching grant for exterior improvements.

The Block Challenge Grant Program is the easiest way to get funding from Invest DSM. Join up with a group of neighbors within visible distance of one another’s front doors. Then receive up to $2,500 to repair exterior issues on your home, replace windows or gutters, get a fresh paint job, or add the landscaping features you’ve also wanted.


50% Rebate on Exterior Home Improvements
Grant Amount: Up to $2,500*
  • No income or credit requirements to qualify.
  • Covers external maintenance or improvements.
  • Receive a matching grant, dollar-for-dollar, to cover up to half of what you spent. 
  • Apply as a group neighbors with properties in sight of one another.
  • Each participant chooses their own project.
  • The larger the group of neighbors, the larger the maximum grant amount.
  • The match amount will be reimbursed to each property owner once the project is completed.
* Program guidelines vary slightly by neighborhood. To request guidelines for your neighborhood, please click the link below and provide your name and address.
Front and yard of Des Moines house after updates made through the Block Challenge Grant

Are You Eligible?

To be eligible for the Block Challenge Grant program, you must:
  • Live within one of the four Special Investment Districts: Columbus Park, Drake, Franklin Area, or Oak Park / Highland Park.
  • Own or occupy the property. (See exceptions in the Program Guidelines.)
  • Be current on your property taxes.
  • Join a group of neighbors whose homes are within sight of one another.  (Each team member can see at least one of the other houses from their front door).
  • Plan at least one improvement to your home that can be seen from the street.
  • Submit an application and receive approval from Invest DSM before you begin work.
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  “It was so great to see our neighbors all working together to complete different projects. We loved getting to know everyone and seeing major improvements on our block!”


  • It’s easy to participate and get approved!
  • Reimbursement is simple and fast.
  • Tackle any kind of exterior project — from a small improvement to extensive repairs.
  • Meet your neighbors and build friendships along the block.
  • Experience a deeper sense of community in your neighborhood. 
  • Enjoy your neighbors’ beautiful upgrades and landscaping on your drives and walks.
  • Celebrate together as a group with a walking tour or block party after the project.

Project Ideas

Exterior improvements visible from the street are eligible for matching funds. Here are some examples:

  • Replace windows and shutters.
  • Install new siding or a new roof.
  • Construct or repair a front porch or front steps.
  • Get a fresh paint job.
  • Replace your gutters.
  • Repair your driveway or front walkway.
  • Update your landscaping.
  • Replace your front door.
  • Get a new mailbox or house numbers.
  • Install flower boxes or exterior lights.
  • Remove an old fence or unsightly debris.

Completed Projects

2022 Results




contributed by Invest DSM


in total investment


invested by homeowners for every dollar spent by Invest DSM