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 Equitable Park Funding Hub highlights six sectors and summarizes grant and technical assistance opportunities under each, including eligibility, park funding use, match requirement, and other important information to help determine if the program is the right fit for a project. It is not intended to be a comprehensive source of funding opportunities but a starting point with examples and links to the various agencies that oversee the programs.

As many 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.

The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on the need for safe, quality parks and on park inequities throughout communities. Now more than ever, high-quality parks and public spaces in disadvantaged communities require creative and wide-ranging partnerships to unlock public and private funding sources.  We hope you will find this resource helpful in assisting with your local park funding needs. 

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 and The Speedwell 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

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Conservation

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.

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Brownfields

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

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Climate Resilience & Stormwater Management

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.

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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.

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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.

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Transportation

Federal transportation funding can create trail connections for parks and neighborhoods, which provide new outdoor recreation and commuting options, air-quality and congestion benefits, and local economic development opportunities.

EXPLORE PARK FUNDING

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

  • Active Transportation Infrastructure Investment Program (ATIIP)

    The ATIIP provides grants to states and localities to strategically invest in projects that connect active transportation networks and spines, such as safe bike paths and walking trails, while reducing carbon emissions and creating new jobs. The program will help connect people to destinations within or between communities, including schools, workplaces and other community areas. Active transportation spines can connect communities, metropolitan regions and states.    The US Department of Transportation has not yet released information on the application timeline or directions on how to apply, but City Parks Alliance will continue to update this page as information is available.
    Match from other sources
    20% state or local match
    Park Funding Use
    Planning/Capital
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Local or regional governmental organization (including metropolitan planning organizations or regional planning organizations and councils), multicounty special district, state, multistate group of governments, and Tribal governments
  • Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A)

    Established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) will provide $5 billion between 2022-2026 to support local initiatives aimed at preventing serious injuries and fatalities that occur on our nation’s roadways. Project could include the implementation of improvements that expand multimodal networks with separated bicycle lanes and improved pedestrian crossing safety features, installing safety enhancements like sidewalks, and creating safe routes to school and public transit services through multiple activities that lead to people safely walking, biking, and rolling in underserved communities. 

    Match from other sources
    20% state or local match
    Park Funding Use
    Planning/Capital
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    Metropolitan planning organizations; Counties, cities, towns, and transit agencies or other special districts that are subdivisions of a State; Federally recognized Tribal governments, Multi-jurisdictional groups comprised of the above entities.
    Learn More
  • Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE)

    RAISE grants (formerly known as BUILD and TIGER) are for investments in surface transportation infrastructure and are awarded on a competitive basis to projects that will have a significant local or regional impact. RAISE funding can support greenways, bike trails, and pedestrian paths, along with roads, bridges, transit, rail, and ports. Announcement: The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) published the Fiscal Year 2024 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) with $1.5 billion available for funding. The Department is encouraging applicants to consider how their projects can address climate change, ensure racial equity, and remove barriers to opportunity. The deadline for applications is 11:59 PM EST on February 28, 2024 and selections will be announced no later than June 27, 2024.

    Match from other sources
    20% state or local match but includes exceptions. Applicants should see the NOFO link below for details
    Park Funding Use
    Planning/Capital
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    LOCAL/STATE/TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS, TERRITORY OF THE U.S., PUBLIC AGENCY
    Learn More
  • Transportation Alternatives (TA) Set-Aside

    The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continued the Transportation Alternatives set-aside from the Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program. The Transportation Alternatives (TA) program is the nation’s largest dedicated source of funding for trail and active transportation projects. It provides federal funds for a variety of generally smaller-scale transportation projects such as pedestrian and bicycle facilities; construction of overlooks, and viewing areas; community improvements such as historic preservation and vegetation management; environmental mitigation related to stormwater and habitat connectivity; recreational trails; safe routes to school projects; and vulnerable road user safety assessments.

    Match from other sources
    20% state or local match
    Park Funding Use
    Planning/Capital/Maintenance
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    LOCAL/REGIONAL/TRIBAL GOVERNMENTS, TRANSIT AGENCIES, NATURAL RESOURCE OR PUBLIC LAND AGENCIES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCIES, NONPROFITS
    Learn More
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Additional Equitable Funding Research