Today, more than 80 percent of families live in urban areas and lack easy access to outdoor spaces. In response, President Obama’s “Every Kid in a Park” initiative will soon help address the situation. Starting in September for the 2015-2016 school year, all fourth graders will be given a pass that will allow them and their families free entry into every National Park for an entire year. There is no application necessary. Annual family passes normally cost $80.
The president’s initiative also includes the renewal of the National Park Foundation’s program that provides grants to help schools pay for transportation to bring kids to visit parks, public lands, and waters. Schools that have the most need are favored in this grant program. The President has also requested new funding in his FY 2016 budget to support transportation for school outings to parks for students from low-income areas.
While we wait for this exciting opportunity, there are other grants that will help fund more local, community-based outdoor recreation causes. Grants for outdoor recreation activities are often very competitive. There are several things you can do to make your proposal competitive.
Partnerships are often favored in grant applications, so a municipality, educational unit, and community group working together to better a town could increase the appeal of a request.
Outdoor recreation opportunities that reach everyone from children to senior citizens, and anyone in between, can give you a leg up.
Projects that have a wide range of activities involved, from sports to exercise to conservation, could be a plus for grantors.
Below are a few grant opportunities we have hand-picked to get you started. There are often a lot of grant opportunities available for outdoor recreation projects. If you don’t see a grant that applies to your project below, get in touch with one of our experts who will help you find a grant that suits you.
KEEN Footwear is hoping to preserve the great outdoors through its KEEN Effect grant program. This year, the company will give $10,000 grants to 10 non-profit organizations that are dedicated to responsible outdoor recreation and participation. KEEN defines outdoors as any place that does not have a ceiling so the opportunities are endless. Special consideration will be given to projects that introduce new audiences to the outdoors. Applications must be submitted by March 1 to be considered for the Earth Day grantee cycle. Applications received after that date will be considered in the second cycle, to be announced on National Public Lands Day on Sept. 26.
Non-profit organizations can apply for funding from L.L. Bean. The clothing and shoe retailer has given more than $14 million to local, state, regional, and national conservation organizations in the last 10 years. Under its conservation and outdoor recreation program, L.L. Bean funds projects that protect and maintain natural resources or encourage children to participate in outdoor activities. Proposals are accepted at any time throughout the year. There are no maximum or minimum grant amounts.
Being outside is not always fun when the sun is beating down on you. If your outdoor recreation area needs some shade, look no farther than the American Academy of Dermatologist’s Shade Structure Grant Program. Schools and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for funding to construct a permanent shade structure for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun. Each Shade Structure Grant is valued up to $8,000, which includes the cost for a shade structure and installation. This year’s grant cycle is already over. To apply for the 2016 cycle, have your applications submitted between Sept. 1 and Nov. 25.
This grant program aims to create healthy climbing landscapes and empower local rock climbing communities. To do so, the American Alpine Club, partnered with REI, will award organizations grants ranging from $1,000-$8,000. All projects must impact rock climbing efforts, accessibility, or environments. Past AAC projects include new trails and human-waste management policies at Utah’s Castleton Tower and Indian Creek climbing areas, a new human-waste management system in Grand Teton National Park, and new trails and waste-management systems in Rocky Mountain National Park’s Lumpy Ridge climbing area.
There are many different grants available to help fund your project. Let us help narrow down the choices to those that specifically fit your needs. Contact us today for a FREE consultation to get you started on the road to grant success.
Photo Credit: Kelvyn Skee