Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Three Ways to Justify a Playground Grant

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Thu, Jan 21, 2016 @ 08:01 AM

playground-1.jpgEven as the cold weather grips the nation it is time to start planning ahead for spring and summer projects. We have had several requests recently from municipalities and non-profit organizations hoping to fund new playgrounds or to make upgrades to existing playgrounds. Below we will give you three ways to justify funding for a new or upgraded playground. These examples will hopefully help you think outside the box when you start looking for grant funding for playgrounds. If you come up with any additional ideas, please respond.

1) Apply for Grants to Keep Kids Active

There are a lot of funding organizations dedicated to making sure kids have every opportunity to stay active and healthy. Playgrounds give kids a place to play. So organizations that aim to keep children from becoming obese and get active could be a good place to start in your search for grant funding. The Lids Foundation has a grant program for organizations that engage children in activities benefitting their health. Applicants must be non-profit entities. Grants typically range from $1,000-$5,000. Grants are accepted between certain dates every month, with the next deadline being Jan. 25-Feb. 21. See the website for a full list of deadlines.

Insider Tip: To justify funding for a playground through a child activity grant program, make sure you are very specific about the health benefits that your specific playground could have on the children in your community. Notes from a doctor or public health service may be helpful in this justification.

2) Seek Funding for Community Betterment

Places to play are a huge beacon for families looking to move into a community. A new or improved playground could have a huge effect on drawing new families to town as well as improving the quality of life for established families. In the past, Corning Incorporated Foundation has supported community foundations, youth organizations, and more. Their focus is to make sure the funding makes a lasting effect on a community. Applications are online and accepted on an ongoing basis.

Insider Tip: The Corning Incorporated Foundation favors projects that have other financial and volunteer support. So before you apply, try to find other investors and supporters, even locally, to give you a better chance to get the funding.

3) Apply Directly for Playground Grants

We would be remiss to write a blog about playground grants without mentioning KaBOOM!, one of the largest grantors of playground funding. Also, the Let’s Play Community Construction Grants offers grants of $15,000 to municipalities, schools, and non-profit organizations serving children’s needs. These grants can be used to build a new playground or upgrade a current one. Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Insider Tip: This grant money is in high demand so make sure your application takes all of their recommendations and requirements to heart.

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Photo Credit: Carl Wycoff

Topics: parks and recreation grants, parks and recreation, grants for playgrounds, playground grants, obesity grants, community improvement grant, grants, keepking kids active

Grants for Swimming Pools, Water Parks

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 @ 12:08 PM

As summer comes to a close, continues to get a great number of requests for information swimming pool grants, aquatic center grants, water park grants, and other similar types of funding.

In this blog article, we provide you a few examples of grants that might assist your municipality or non-profit organization in finding grants for the construction, rehabilitation, or running of aquatic swimming and leisure facilities. If you have any questions, or if you would like to speak to a specialist about finding additional funding for your project, please do not hesitate to contact us. After all, next summer will come around sooner than you expect, and many of these grant opportunities require some advanced planning before submitting a proposal.


National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF)

NSPF awards grants of up to $35,000 to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. The Foundation encourages healthy living, prevention of pool and spa injury, illness, drowning, and more. NSPF does not consider “requests solely for building, equipment, educational, and/or other programs.” However, because they focus on preventing injury and the increased health benefits a pool and spa can offer, enhancements or upgrades that increase safety might be considered. 

The deadline to submit a grant request is June 1 of each year, and applications are reviewed by August 31 of each year. To learn more, download the NSPF Grant Guidelines.


Outdoor Recreational Grant Program

The National Park Service’s Outdoor Recreational Grant Program awards park districts and local government agencies grants to acquire, plan, and develop land for public recreational purposes. Swimming pools, bike and walking trails, tennis courts, soccer fields, restrooms, and water facilities are just some of the eligible projects for this grant. Deadlines and amount of funding given varies from year to year.


Community Facilities Grant Program

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Grant Program awards funding to repair facilities used for community purposes, public safety, and health care. Municipalities with fewer than 20,000 residents are eligible for this grant, but communities with fewer than 5,000 residents or with median incomes below 60% of the state’s median income receive highest priority.


Community Entitlement Grants Program

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development supports the Community Entitlement Grants Program, which awards grants to municipalities with over 50,000 residents and counties with more than 200,000 residents. The purpose of the program is to support community projects that improve the economic development and living conditions of residents. Projects may include land acquisitions, construction and rehabilitation of facilities, and more.


Angles to Consider

It seems obvious that when searching for grants for swimming pools or water parks, you would look for grants that promote such types of recreation. However, as we often encourage, try to think outside the box. Ask yourself, “What, besides recreational activity, will such a pool/center/facility be able to do for the community?”

You might realize that, depending upon your location and your design for your facility, you might be able bring additional dollars to your community through avenues such as tourism, business and economic development, community development, promotion of healthy living, and more. Do not forget to examine grants in these areas as well as more traditional areas like those mentioned above.


As always, if you need assistance brainstorming or finding funding sources for your projects, offers free initial consultations. Contact one of our experts today.


Image credit: David Schott

Topics: community development, community development grant, economic development, parks and recreation grants, swimming pool grants, recreation grant, community facility grants, parks and recreation, outdoor recreation grants, community improvement grant

Grants for Community Gardens

Posted by Michelle Hansen on Wed, May 7, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

According to the National Community Garden Association, there are currentl7728597566 74b7ef9619 qy more than 20,000 community gardens in the U.S., up from only 6,020 in 1996. Community gardens are popular for a variety of reasons. Those that produce food give people peace of mind about the safety of their food as well help save on food bills. Gardens focused on flowers, bushes, and trees create beautiful centerpieces for neighborhoods to be proud of. Community gardens can also be an economic boon to a community, taking a rundown area or environmentally unsafe land and creating a useful, safe area for all to enjoy.

There are several grants available to communities hoping to create or enhance a community garden. Below are a few we selected to highlight.

New England Grassroots Environment Fund

Communities with established gardens as well as those communities hoping to create gardens should apply for Seed grants. The organization will fund a wide range of activities, including materials and supplies for gardens, outreach materials to encourage volunteers, and more. The grant cannot be used acquisition of land. There is no deadline for this fund. A maximum amount is not stated, but the example budgets shows a $1,500 application.  This fund also has Grow grants, which support only already established community gardens. Groups eligible for this grant must have over one year of experience running the community project. The next deadline for the Grow grants is Sept. 15.

Home Depot Foundation

Municipalities would need to partner with a non-profit organization to apply for a $5,000 Community Impact Grant from the Home Depot Foundation. Grants are given to help volunteers improve the physical health of their community. Proposals for planting trees or creating community gardens are highly considered. Grants come in the form of Home Depot cards in order to purchase materials, tools, or services. Deadline for application is Aug. 15.

The Sow It Forward Garden Grants Program

Community garden organizers interested in starting or expanding their gardens can apply for grants from The Sow it Forward organization. Gardens must be of a general benefit to the overall community. The 2014 grant cycle is already closed. However, the program is already accepting applications for 2015. This program offers full grants as well as partial grants. The full grants have a value of $500 and include cash, gift card, seeds, an online garden planner subscription, and a gardening magazine subscription.

Community Food Projects Competitive Grant Program

Municipalities and non-profit organizations can use this USDA grant program to start or enhance community gardens. The primary goals of the program is to increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities, meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, and provide equipment for the operation of a project. Community food projects (max $300,000 for 3 years), planning projects (max $25,000), and training/assistance (max $500,000 for 3 years) were included in the 2014 program, whose deadline has already passed. It is expected the deadline for 2015 will be March.


The Grant Helpers are here to help you meet your needs. Our services are completely customizable to your needs. Contact us today and our municipality expert, Rebecca Motley, will walk you through the process. And remember, the first consultation is always free.


Photo credit:iinduuu

Topics: muncipality, community gardens, grants for community gardens, garden grants, grant opportunity, municipal grants, community grant, community improvement grant

NEA Our Town Grant Opportunity

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Tue, Dec 31, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

NEA Our TownThe National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant deadline is quickly approaching (January 13, 2014), but still worth considering for many municipalities and nonprofits that can pull off a tight deadline. If you need help working under a time crunch, has the experts who can assist you in any or all parts of the grant application process. Simply contact us for more information.

According to the NEA Our Town website, “Our Town will invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life, encourage greater creative activity, foster stronger community identity and sense of place, and revitalize economic development.”

Our Town projects may include the following:

  • Arts Engagement (e.g., festivals and performances, public art to improve public spaces and reflect character of community, programming that encourages interaction between community and the arts, etc.)
  • Cultural Planning (e.g., cultural district planning, development of master plans for public art, etc.)
  • Design (e.g., design of rehearsal, studio, or places for artists to live and work; design new of adapted cultural spaces; design of public spaces, including streetscapes created by artists)

Eligibility and Requirements:

  • Applicants must be made by two primary partners, including a nonprofit organization and a local governing body. One of the two partners must be a cultural organization. Having more than two partners is encouraged.
  • One partner must act as lead applicant and assume full responsibility for the grant.
  • Must request a grant amount of $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, $150,000, or $200,000.
  • All grants require nonfederal matching funds of at least 1 to 1 (may be cash or cash and in-kind contributions).

Again, the deadline for this grant is January 13, 2014. For more information, including full eligibility and requirements, please contact us or visit the NEA’s Our Town website. And remember, is here to help you as much or as little as you need. Please do not hesitate to let us know if we can help you throughout any part of the grant process.


Image credit: bablu121

Topics: municipality grants, nonprofit grants, cultural grant, municipal grant, art grant, arts grants, NEA grant, Our Town grant, community grant, community improvement grant