Grant Services - Advice and Tips

Parks and Recreation Grant Opportunities

Wed, Apr 23, 2014 @ 15:04 PM / by Michelle Hansen

According to a study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 77% of children aged 9–13 years reported participating in free-time physical activity during a one-week period. parksChildren are seeking recreation activities in their communities, and thus the requests for parks and recreation grants from municipalities and schools have been on the increase. In order for your organization to find the funds it needs, it is necessary to think broadly to justify a grant proposal. For example, in addition to the grant opportunities that directly address parks and recreation, look for grants that aim to curb childhood obesity, economic development grants, or community growth grants. By thinking outside the merry-go-round, your organization will increase its chances of receiving grant funds.

To help you with your parks and recreation funding needs, is pleased to offer a FREE Grant Opportunity Mini Search.  The offer is for qualifying parks and recreation departments/organizations through May 15, 2014. Through this offer, you can receive a Grant Opportunity Report with one or more grant opportunities for you. (Our regular Grant Opportunity Search service provides at least three opportunities.) Only 100 free reviews are being offered, so act fast. Click here and fill out the form on the right to request your free Grant Opportunity Mini Search.

Meantime, here are some parks & recreation grant funding opportunities that have come across our Grant Helping desks in recent weeks.

School Grants for Healthy Kids

Action for Healthy Kids has announced its 2014-2015 School Grants for Healthy Kids. Schools in select states (see website for state list) can apply for these grants to help fund facilities, equipment for recess, playgrounds, intramural programs, and before/after school programs that introduce underserved youth populations to the value of an active lifestyle. Grants will range from $500-$5,000, with most grants totaling $1,000. Schools with greater than 50% of students eligible for free/reduced priced meals may receive priority, but all schools are encouraged to apply. The grants must be used to help increase physical activity opportunities to at least 30 minutes per day. The deadline to submit the electronic application is May 2.

USDA Community Facility Grants

The United States Department of Agriculture awards these grants to rural areas and towns up to 20,000 in population to help develop community facilities. Municipalities as well as non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Grant funds can be used to construct, enlarge, or improve community facilities used for community and public services. Grant amounts depend on the median household income of the applying community.

Economic Development Assistance Programs

These grants from the Economic Development Administration support the implementation of regional economic development strategies designed to create jobs, leverage private capital, encourage economic development, and strengthen America's ability to compete in the global marketplace. Parks and recreation can encourage economic development in several ways. For example, construction of baseball fields could allow tournaments that would bring in out-of-towners to spend money on lodging, gas, groceries, and more. There are several funding cycles for this program. Deadlines are June 13, 2014 for funding cycle 4 of FY 2014 and October 17, 2014 for funding cycle 1 of FY 2015.

Highmark Foundation

Non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for these grants that focus on healthy communities, including the effort to reduce childhood obesity. The Foundation's board of directors generally meets quarterly (March, June, September, and December) to review proposals. Programs at various stages of development, including expansions and well-established initiatives are eligible. Grantmaking is performed primarily through Invited Proposals or Requests for Proposal (RFPs). Unsolicited requests are considered on rare occasions.

Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Program (OSLAD)

This grant program is a very useful program for Illinois communities embarking on a major parks and recreation project. The program provides funding for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space. Funding assistance up to 50% of approved project costs can be obtained. Grants up to $750,000 are available for acquisition projects, while development/renovation projects are limited to a $400,000 grant maximum. Written applications must be submitted to IDNR between May 1 and July 1 of each calendar year. Government agencies that have authority to develop and acquire land for public parks are eligible to apply. For organizations not in Illinois, The federal Land & Water Conservation Fund program is a similar program with comparable objectives.


Our experts are ready to help you with all of your funding needs. See a complete list of our customizable services here. And remember, the first consultation is always free.


Photo credit: See-ming Lee

Topics: parks and recreation grants, grant notification, recreation grant, parks and recreation, recreation trails, playground grants, obesity grants, grant opportunity

Michelle Hansen

Written by Michelle Hansen

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