Each year, we receive many requests from community organizations, schools, and other entities seeking funding to build gardens. The good news is that grants for gardens are numerous. But because there are so many funding options for garden-building projects, it can be challenging to know where best to focus your application efforts.
To increase your organization’s likelihood of funding, it is important to first decide what the main benefit or outcome of your garden project will be. Once you do so, you can then apply to the grant opportunities most closely aligned with your garden’s specific goals. Below are examples of five benefits of building gardens and related grant opportunities for each benefit.
Benefit #1: Community CohesionFor many community gardens, the primary goal is to bring residents together, promote collaboration, and instill local pride in the beauty of the community. There are many organizations that fund garden grants to help achieve such community-oriented benefits. Project Orange Thumb’s Growing Communities grant is one such funding program.
Benefit #2: EducationMany grantmaking organizations fund gardens to allow community agencies and especially schools to create or sustain educational programming related to gardening, health education, sustainable food sourcing, or other relevant topics. Annie's Grants for Gardens or Big Green's Grants for Learning Gardens are examples of programs that fund garden-building projects where enhanced education is ultimate outcome.
Benefit #3: Health and WellnessGardens provide at least two obvious health benefits: healthier eating by partaking of the garden’s yield and increased physical activity through the act of gardening itself. If improved health is your garden’s main goal, then health and wellness grant programs in addition to garden-specific funding opportunities may increase your chance of funding. For instance, The Aetna Foundation's Cultivating Healthy Communities Grant Program funds a variety of projects that help improve eating habits and encourage physical activity.
Benefit #4: Economic DevelopmentDelicious, fresh food is not the only thing gardens can produce. Many gardens also create jobs and generate revenue. If improving your community’s economic development is the main goal of your garden-construction project, then grants like the USDA's Economic Impact Imitative Grant may be right for your institution.
Benefit #5: Religious or Spiritual BenefitsAs a much more outside-the-box angle, there are surprisingly many religious and secular organizations that support building gardens for religious or spiritual benefits, such as for ministry opportunities, the meditative benefits of gardening itself, or to help provide food for needy members of religious communities. The Lutheran Foundation's grant program is one example of a grant that might fund garden-building projects for religious purposes.
Need more ideas on how best to position your garden-building project in order to receive funding? Contact us today for a free consultation or to learn more about additional grant opportunities to meet your organization’s unique needs.
Photo credit: d-olwen-dee