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 PARK FUNDING
Use this tool to filter, sort, and learn about funding opportunities and potential partnerships.
Assessment GrantsAssessment Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to inventory, characterize, assess, and conduct a range of planning activities, such as developing site-specific cleanup plans and conduct community involvement related to brownfield sites. Nonprofits and local governments considering buying or accepting a donation of a brownfield site need to do appropriate due diligence, as detailed in EPA’s All Appropriate Inquiries.Learn MoreTypical Grant AmountUp to $350,000Accessibility of FundsAccessibleMatch from other sources20%Eligibility for Accessing FundsNonprofit organizations, local governments and government entities, state governments, tribal governments
Cleanup GrantsCleanup Grants provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the applicant.Learn MoreTypical Grant Amount$300,000 - $500,000Accessibility of FundsAccessibleMatch from other sourcesUp to 20%Park Funding UseCapital/Land AcquisitionEligibility for Accessing FundsNonprofit organizations, local governments and government entities, state governments, tribal governments
Green Acres Program State of New Jersey Department of Environmental ProtectionThe Green Acres Program, funded through a Corporate Business Tax, has worked with public and private partners to protect 700,000 acres of state open space and outdoor recreational facilities. Through its Local and Nonprofit Assistance Program, Green Acres provides matching grants and low interest loans to local governments and nonprofits. Most grants require a 50% or 75% match, but those in densely urbanized cities or towns only require a 25% match. Reflecting its “Parks Where the People Are” priority, Green Acres uses a ranking system weighted toward highly or densely populated communities. As part of a “Brownfields to Greenfields” initiative, Green Acres also encourages communities to remediate contaminated sites for safe public use and enjoyment.Learn MoreTypical Grant AmountVaries; recent award amounts have ranged from $250,000 to $1,500,000Match from other sourcesVaries from 25% to 75%Park Funding UseCapital/Land AcquisitionEligibility for Accessing FundsLocal governments, Nonprofit organizations
LWCF Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP)Administered through the National Park Service, ORLP funds urban projects in jurisdictions of at least 50,000 people in urbanized area with priority for projects in underserved communities. These awards address outdoor recreation deficits and support job creation through new outdoor recreation spaces and reinvigorating existing parks. With full and permanent funding of LWCF in 2020 through the Great American Outdoors Act, the ORLP Program is expected to receive a significant increase in funding annually. Current, each state can submit up to 4 proposals annually. Grants range from $250,000 to $1 million.Learn MoreTypical Grant Amount$500,000Match from other sources100%Park Funding UseCapital/Land AcquisitionEligibility for Accessing FundsLocal governments, Tribal governments, Districts
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.