Parks & Recreation Grant Opportunities
NOTE: This list includes archived grant opportunities; not all opportunities are currently available. However, many funding opportunities are cyclical, so it would be in your best interest to keep closed opportunities in mind for future funding needs.
Please remember these are just a select few of the many grant opportunities available for parks and recreation funding. If you are interested in joining our free Watch List for parks and recreation grants, please fill out the form to the right.
The Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation has works to improve the communities and schools they serve. The foundation supports nonprofit organizations and public institutions that support public education and community improvement and has grant funds available for playground projects ($5,000-$25,000).
Up to $5 million in grant money is available to schools and parks around the country who want to purchase new playground equipment through Miracle’s Grants for America's Children program. Miracle, a playground manufacturer for over 80 years, awards grants for purchase of equipment based on an assessment of the current playground equipment proposal, size of project, and amount of grant funding available.
Dr. Pepper Snapple & KaBOOM! offer $15,000 grants to qualifying U.S.-based organizations to be used toward the purchase of playground equipment that will be built using the KaBOOM! community-build model. These partners also offer $750 grants to communities who want to make their playgrounds cleaner, safer, and more inviting. In addition, KaBOOM! And Dr. Pepper Snapple offer joint-use grants for communities who partner with schools to open recreation facilities to the public during non-school hours. These grants are solely for the expansion or creation of joint use agreements. There is a rolling deadline for this set of grants.
The American Academy of Dermatology's Shade Structure Grant Program awards grants to public schools and non-profit organizations for installing permanent shade structures for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun, such as playgrounds. Each grant is valued at up to $8,000, which includes the structure and installation.
Lego aims to help local and national non-profit organizations committed to helping children develop their creativity and learning skills through constructive play. and it awards quarterly grants with special interest paid to collaborative efforts and in providing matching funds to leverage new dollars into the receiving organization. Typical awards are between $500-$5,000.
The OSLDA Program is a state-financed grant program that provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space. Written applications must be submitted to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
This grant program assists in the development of essential community facilities, primarily in rural communities with a population under 20,000. Funds from this program can be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities for health care, public safety, and community and public services. Funds can also provide for the purchase of equipment required for a facility's operation. Public entities such as municipalities, counties, non-profit corporations, and tribal governments are eligible to apply.
States and local governments are eligible to apply for matching grants to fund public outdoor recreation and areas and facilities. O’Fallon, Illinois used a $750,000 LWCF grant to acquire land for a variety of playing fields for baseball, softball, soccer, football, and more.
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has made a three-year, $15 million commitment, as part of KaBOOM!’s Let’s Play Initiative, to help construct and improve playground areas. Municipalities and non-profit organizations with a playground or outdoor recreational space that is currently unsafe for children can apply for construction grants. The Initiative also offers Let’s Play Completion Grants, which can be used toward the completion or improvement of an existing playground. This grant program has an ongoing deadline. In addition, there are also opportunities for communities to partner with school districts to apply for Joint Use Grants to open school recreation facilities to the public during non-school hours.
The National Gardening Association has sponsored this grant for four years, aiming to support community organizations with child-centered garden programs. Priority is given to programs that have these components: educational focus or curricular/program, integration to reinforce academics, life skills, instruction, (e.g. nutrition, growing one’s own food, learning to be responsible) developing environmental stewardship, and encouraging students to make positive choices for themselves and the planet. As the title implies, grants are available to states in the Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
May 2013 will be the next opportunity for charities and state or local agencies to apply for Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Grants. The focus of this program is to facilitate and encourage the design, development, construction, and operation of new skatepark facilities, primarily located in low-income communities in the United States.
The Community Facilities Grant program is funded by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This program provides grants to communities with fewer than 20,000 residents to construct and renovate facilities used for public service, health care, recreation, community service and public safety. Funds are also used to purchase equipment that is needed to operate the facilities. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, municipalities, towns, districts and tribal government agencies. Areas with the lowest population and income levels receive higher grant considerations. Up to 75 percent of the project costs are covered by the grant. The amount of funding is dependent on the median income and population of the applicant entity.
The National Park Service (NPS) sponsors the Outdoor Recreational Grant program through the Land & Water Conservation Fund. Grants are used to acquire land and plan and develop recreational areas such as playgrounds, tennis courts, outdoor swimming pools, hiking trails, picnic areas, campgrounds, and boat-launching ramps. Funds are also used to build restrooms, water systems, and other support facilities for the general public. States, cities, counties, and park districts are eligible to apply for these grants, and over the course of NPS’s history, more than $5 billion has been awarded for preservation and recreation grants. Funds are allocated as matching with state grants.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sponsors the state-administered Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Grants from this program are used to acquire real estate property for public use, demolish blighted structures, and construct and renovate public service facilities, recreational facilities, and public and private buildings. Funds are also used to support economic development activities including assisting micro-enterprises. Grants are administered by states to cities and counties with fewer than 50,000 and 200,000 residents respectively. Up to 3 percent of the grant can be allocated to cover technical assistance and administrative expense.