Equitable Park Funding Hub

The Equitable Park Funding Hub provides easy access to information on a variety of funding sources relevant for parks and recreation in low-income communities and communities of color, and highlights the partnerships required for successful funding.

Parks, trails, and nature support public health, workforce development, local economies, the environment, and community cohesion. And yet historic disinvestment has left many communities with the greatest need with the least access to quality parks and recreation opportunities.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made the situation worse and has shined a spotlight on park inequities. Now more than ever, high-quality parks and public spaces in disadvantaged communities require creative and wide-ranging partnerships to unlock local, state, federal, and private funding sources.

As many state and federal funding sources in the Hub are competitive, require match dollars, and often cannot cover maintenance or programming, stable local public funding is essential for a successful and equitable park system. Local funding enables communities to ensure investments promote equitable impacts and address local disparities.

This Hub highlights select federal, state, and local funding programs that can be particularly effective at funding parks and green infrastructure in low-income communities. It is not intended to be a comprehensive source of funding opportunities, but a starting point with examples and case studies.

The Equitable Park Funding Hub is the result of a two-year collaborative research effort between the City Parks Alliance, Groundwork U.S.A., and the Urban Institute. Support for this work was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Explore Equitable Funding Strategies for Parks and Green Infrastructure

The Equitable Park Funding Hub is a living resource intended to be a starting point for researching funding strategies with examples, case studies, and links for further information.

  • Explore each funding area in depth with links below, or use the sorting feature to help you identify the funding sources that may best match your needs.
  • We invite you to help us make this Hub stronger by sharing your experiences applying for, and implementing programs with these funding sources. Share your experience below.

Funding Areas

icon box image

Brownfields

Brownfields contribute to blight and prevent reinvestment in economically distressed communities. Transforming them into parks can drive reinvestment and improve community health.

icon box image

Climate Resilience

Parks, trees and nature play an important role in cooling neighborhoods and building resilience to natural disasters. Communities of color often lack the greenspace needed to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

icon box image

Community Development

Increasingly, community reinvestment efforts are leveraging the benefits of parks to create vibrant, healthy, and livable neighborhoods with access to jobs and affordable housing.

icon box image

Conservation Funding

Conservation funding can be used to create equitable access to park and recreation amenities, which is critical to improving the health and quality of life of residents in low-income communities.

icon box image

Local Funding

Stable, local public funding is essential for a successful and equitable park system. It is the primary source for critical maintenance, operations and programming.

icon box image

Stormwater Management

Parks and green infrastructure enable cities to manage stormwater, clean waterways and reduce flooding through nature-based strategies, reducing the need for expensive investments in pipes and tunnels.

EXPLORE PARK FUNDING

Use this tool to filter, sort, and learn about funding opportunities and potential partnerships.

  • Massachusetts Greening the Gateway Cities

    This program reduces household energy use by increasing tree canopy cover in urban residential areas. The program focuses on Environmental Justice neighborhoods with lower tree canopy, older housing, higher winds, and a large renter population. Tree planting crews create workforce development opportunities.
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
  • Massachusetts Coastal Resilience Grant Program

    The Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience Grant Program offers financial and technical assistance for natural approaches to mitigate flooding and erosion. The 78 municipalities within Massachusetts’ coastal zone and certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations with coastal public property are eligible.
    Typical Grant Amount
    $20,000 - $1,000,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Accessible
    Match from other sources
    25%
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Local governments located in the coastal zone
    Learn More
  • Massachusetts Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program

    MVP grants provide financial resources to advance priority climate adaptation actions. Municipalities must apply first for an MVP planning grant. Communities must adhere to MVP core principles, which include engaging communities, particularly Environmental Justice and Climate Vulnerable Populations, and using nature-based solutions to achieve broad and multiple community benefits.
    Typical Grant Amount
    $10,000 - $400,000
    Accessibility of Funds
    Very Accessible
    Match from other sources
    25%
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Local governments
    Learn More
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

    This growing cap-and-trade program is a collaboration of states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. As of 2017, the program raised $4.7 billion to reduce greenhouse gases.Most states invest revenue in the clean-energy economy, but also, increasingly, in urban greening and green infrastructure. A portion of Virginia’s funds will be invested in flood mitigation projects; Massachusetts’ invests some of its funds in bike paths; and New York dedicates a portion of its funds to the Environmental Justice Grant Program, which can be used for greenspace projects in economically disadvantaged communities. Local governments and nonprofits need to contact their state agency for more details on allowed investments.
    Typical Grant Amount
    Varies by State
    Match from other sources
    Varies by State
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Varies by State
    Learn More
Load More

Share Your Experience

This Hub highlights select federal, state, and local funding programs that can be particularly effective at funding parks and green infrastructure in low-income communities. It is not intended to be a comprehensive source of funding opportunities, but a starting point with examples, links to additional information, and case studies.

We invite you to help us make this Hub stronger by sharing your experiences applying for and implementing programs with these funding sources.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Additional Equitable Funding Research