@indigomoth - I lived in quite a poor neighborhood, but we were good neighbors and we managed to get a bit done even without a grant. Just a few of us at first, but soon we had more people helping. We planted a few trees and flowers in the park and so forth.
Yes, we've had vandals which can be discouraging. But, you know, it's that much easier when you can come together to complain about them.
We are thinking about applying for a grant for some new playground equipment next. I hope you're right and having a group of us working together will help.