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.
State Environmental AgenciesMost state environmental agencies have brownfields offices, although some brownfield programs are also based in state economic development agencies and local and regional government bodies.Learn MoreMatch from other sourcesVaries by StateEligibility for Accessing FundsVaries by State
Ohio Brownfield FundThis collection of funding sources helps plan, assess, and remediate brownfields throughout the state. Brownfield redevelopment allows a community to reclaim and improve contaminated lands, making property viable for new development. The Fund provides loans up to $500,000 for Phase II Environmental Assessments, with flexible terms, deferred repayment periods, and below-market interest rates. The Fund can also provide loans up to $5,000,000 for environment cleanup, with deferred repayment periods and below-market interest rates.Learn MoreMatch from other sourcesVaries by StateEligibility for Accessing FundsVaries by State
Mass Development Brownfields Redevelopment FundThe Brownfields Redevelopment Fund finances the environmental assessment and remediation of brownfield sites in Economically Distressed Areas (EDAs) in Massachusetts. A 2016 act authorized $45 million over ten years from the Commonwealth’s capital budget for the fund. Eligible applicants may apply for up to $100,000 in site assessment funding, and/or up to $500,000 in remediation funding.Learn MoreMatch from other sourcesVaries by StateEligibility for Accessing FundsVaries by State
General FundA city’s general fund pays for most capital and operating expenses. The revenue comes primarily from property taxes and elected officials allocate the funds to city functions through the annual budget process. Parks and recreation funding can, therefore, vary, influenced by local politics, a city’s economic fortunes and the engagement of citizens in the budget process. Parks and recreation departments are often the first to have their budgets slashed and the last to see them increased. Park advocates and nonprofits play an important role in ensuring consistent funding for parks year to year. Cities with strong nonprofits and organized advocates tend to have the most stable public funding for parks. For more information on making the case for parks and building a strong network of park advocates, see Other Resources below.Park Funding UseCapital/Land Acquisition, Operations/Maintenance, Programming
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.