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 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 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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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.


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

  • Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant

    This competitive grant program provides funding for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the National Flood Insurance Program. Flood Mitigation Assistance funds may be used for projects such as Project Scoping; Technical Assistance; Community Flood Mitigation Projects; Individual Structure/Property-Level Flood Mitigation Projects; and Management Costs.
    Match from other sources
    Park Funding Use
    Capital/Land Acquisition
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    State Governments, Local Governments
    Learn More
  • Coastal Resilience Grants

    The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Office for Coastal Management provide grants to improve the resilience of local communities and wildlife habitat in the face of increasingly severe and frequent natural disasters.  These are post-disaster grants for communities impacted by extreme weather events and natural disasters.  The grants support natural and nature-based infrastructure that help with recovery of people and wildlife.  Grants are offered through this program sporadically. See the latest awards announcement.
    Match from other sources
    Eligibility for Accessing Funds
    State, local and tribal governments, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions
    Learn More
  • New Markets Tax Credits

    New Markets Tax Credits finance projects that have social and economic benefit for low-income communities, including public housing authorities, schools, and community-based nonprofits. They attract private capital into low-income communities with tax credits in exchange for investments in Community Development Entities (CDEs). They are complex, can be difficult to set up, often have high legal fees, and they need to generate a revenue stream to be viable, but for large projects in low-income communities, tax credits can be a significant source of funding. The park projects funded so far have included parks and recreation centers in Cincinnati, Ohio, Washington, D.C., and Pensacola, Florida. As with all significant investments in low-income communities, existing residents should be involved in the planning and decision-making to ensure they benefit from the investments. Opportunity Zones,1 are a new federal tax incentive to encourage investment in recreation facilities and other park-like properties. However, because they are meant to support businesses (ideally ones that appreciate in value), it may be challenging to use them to directly improve public access to parks and green space. Given the current newness of the program, it’s too early to review their use in practice.

    Park Funding Use
    Capital/Land Acquisition, Operations/Maintenance, Programming
    Learn More
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Additional Equitable Funding Research