With everything happening during the pandemic, communities across the country are coming up with unique ways to bring recreation, fitness, healthy living, and outdoor activities to residents. There’s one challenge…funding from in-person classes, camps, leagues and facility use has come to a grinding hault leaving many agencies to search for ways to fund current and future programming. This presents an immediate challenge – being creative when it comes to funding methods that will help keep your department ahead-of-the-game and engaged with your residents. A grant from a foundation or corporation might be the solution.
We’ve compiled a list of potential grants that might apply to your programming and community outreach. While this is by no means a complete list, we hope this offers you some unique ideas of where you might find critical program dollars, and perhaps help you to brainstorm some new ways to operate through the shutdown.
Attention members: Know of a great grant resource we should mention on this page? Please email Michelle at email@example.com.
NOTE: This list of grants and funding was compiled using information that was readily available online. MRPA, Pernsteiner Creative Group, and their partners and affiliates do not endorse nor guarantee availability any of the funding programs listed below.
On March 21, 2022, the Minnesota Department of Education release the Minnesota Youth Water Safety grant available to Minnesota nonprofit organizations and city and county parks and recreation programs providing swimming lessons to youth. These state funds are available primarily for the purpose of providing low-income and at-risk children with scholarships for swimming lessons based on nationally recognized water safety curricula. Up to 15% of the grant funds may also be used to hire water safety instructors or lifeguards
Minnesota DNR Outdoor Recreation Grant
The Minnesota DNR Outdoor Recreation grant’s goal is to increase and enhance outdoor recreation facilities in local and community parks throughout the state. The program provides matching grants to local units of government for up to 50-percent of the cost of acquisition, development and/or redevelopment of local parks and recreation areas. Applicants are eligible to receive more than one grant. Download the application and learn more at www.bit.ly/MNDNRgrants
Landscape Structures Playground Funding Guide
Landscape Structures has a page on their website dedicated to connecting you with playground funding partners. The page also includes information on how to write a playground grant that gets funded. For more information, visit https://www.playlsi.com/en/playground-planning-tools.
St. Croix Recreation - Minnesota Playground Grants and Funding Options Guide
St. Croix Recreation has a page on their website dedicated to playground grants and funding options. For more information, visit https://stcroixrec.com/minnesota-playground-grants/
Hiway Credit Union Foundation
Hiway Credit Union Foundation’s mission: Passionately providing resources to enhance the overall wellness of the community. Donation request forms must be submitted 4-6 weeks in advance of your event/project. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or visit www.hiway.org/about/foundation for more information.
GameTime Playground Funding Guide
GameTime helps communities bring play to more children and families. They have compiled a list of local, regional, national and global funding sources to help you find the funds you need. With more than 30 pages of sources, including contact details, websites and grant and deadline information, GameTime’s Playground Funding Guide is a valuable part of any fundraising toolkit. Get more information at www.gametime.com/resources/playground-funding-guide
Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants
The purpose of MHC’s Legacy Grants is to preserve and enhance access to Minnesota’s cultural and historical resources and to support projects of enduring value for the cause of history and historic preservation across the state. When Minnesota voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in 2008, the state legislature created the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund (H.F. 1231), a portion of which was appropriated to the Minnesota Historical Society for history-related projects around the state. Eligible projects fall into three project categories: history projects, historic preservation projects, and structured grants. Find out more at www.mnhs.org/preservation/legacy-grants/funded-projects. Deadlines for small grant applications are Friday, January 8, 2021 and Friday, April 9, 2021.
3M Foundation Grants
3M Foundation thrives to build inclusiveness, diversity and vibrancy in 3M communities. This is accomplished by supporting programs that assure access to basic needs, prepare youth for life-long success, increase access to quality and diverse arts opportunities, and contribute to global humanitarian relief efforts. The 3M grant cycle is August to November. Check their website at www.3m.com/3M/en_US/gives-us for more details.
PlayCore Grant Funding Guide
Find out more about the latest grant opportunities to help you in funding your playground project. PlayCore has curated a comprehensive funding guide that identifies grant opportunities that begin at the local community level, all the way to cities, states, and internationally. Learn more at www.playandpark.com/funding/grant-opportunities
McNight Foundation Vibrant & Equitable Communities Grants
Equity is one of the four core values in McKnight’s Strategic Framework. It is a value that we challenge ourselves to uphold in our internal policies and practices, and it is a value that guides the Foundation as we imagine the change we want to see in our broader society.
McKnight developed this program because we see equity as a powerful force multiplier that enriches the quality of life for all Minnesotans. We all benefit when we promote equitable opportunity and access for residents across Minnesota, especially those who have historically not fully shared in our state’s storied economic, educational, and civic success—such as Black Minnesotans, Indigenous communities, Minnesotans of color, and low-income Minnesotans.
US Bank Community Possible Grant Program
Through U.S. Bank’s Community Possible program we invest in the future by giving to organizations that focus on economic and workforce development, safe and affordable housing and communities connected through arts and culture.
Upcoming US Bank category deadlines:
• Play (Arts, culture and places to play). Accepting Applications: January 1-31
• Work (Workforce education and economic prosperity.) Accepting Applications: April 1-30
• Home (Neighborhood stability and revitalization.) Accepting Applications: July 1-31
Learn more at www.usbank.com/about-us-bank/community/community-possible-grant-program
Build it with Kaboom! Grants
Build it with KABOOM! pairs one of our dedicated funding partners with a community partner, that’s you, who then come together to plan and build a brand-new playground. Our community-built playgrounds generate a tangible, achievable win for your community, transforming your space into a great place to play for kids and families. Find more details at www.kaboom.org/grants.
Target Foundation Grants
The Target Foundation is committed to promoting racial equity in the Twin Cities region. Through our hometown program, the Target Foundation concentrates its investments in organizations working to address the specific systemic and structural barriers facing Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. We do this in four priority areas: entrepreneurship and small business, workforce development, housing and asset building. The next grant cycle happens in 2021. Watch their website for details at https://corporate.target.com/corporate-responsibility/philanthropy/Target-Foundation/hometown
Pool Safely Grant Program
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) will award up to $2 million in two-year grants through its Pool Safely Grant Program. The goal is to assist jurisdictions in reducing deaths and injuries from drowning and drain entrapment incidents in pools and spas. The grant program is a part of CPSC’s campaign to make drowning and drain entrapment prevention a critical public safety priority. Applications were due by June 9, 2020, but keep this link handy to inquire future opportunities - https://www.poolsafely.gov/grants-vgbfy20/.
CAN’d Aid Crush It Grants
The CAN’d Aid Foundation accepts applications from communities, local organizations, and local government entities to help support recycling programs. The Foundation awards small grants to fund program expenses including signage and education, and also provides in-kind recycling tents, bins, and training on waste management. The typical award amount is $5,000. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Learn more and apply at www.candaid.org.
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation Grant Program
Municipal entities, local nonprofits, and public schools are eligible to apply to support the planting of fruitful trees and plants to alleviate hunger, combat global warming, strengthen communities, and improve the environment. Trees can be planted at community gardens, city parks, low-income neighborhoods, Native American reservations, schools, and more. The Foundation provides trees and shrubs, equipment, on-site orchard design expertise and oversight, horticultural workshops, and aftercare training and manuals. Learn more at www.ftpf.org/apply
The Allstate Foundation
The Allstate Foundation provides grants to local Allstate insurance agency owners. They strive to empower owners to give back to their local communities and support the causes closest to their hearts. That’s why the invitation-only Helping Hands Grant program supports organizations they’re already passionate about. Those who volunteer four to sixteen hours with an organization can earn $500 or $1,000 to support the cause. Learn more at www.allstatefoundation.org/what-we-do.
Tip: You may want to contact your local Allstate office to see if they know about the Helping Hands grant program and are open to assisting with one of your community programs.
Waste Management Charitable Giving
Waste Management offers charitable gifts to promote civic pride, economic development and revitalization. Waste Management primarily supports environmental initiatives, including promoting parklands and green spaces for people to enjoy and play, and environmental education initiatives targeted at middle and high school students. Eligible entities include 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and public organizations. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Learn more and apply at www.wm.com/about/community/charitable-giving
American Academy of Dermatology Association Shade Structure Grant Program
The AAD Shade Structure Grant Program awards grants of up to $8,000 to public schools and non-profit organizations for installing permanent shade structures for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun, such as playgrounds, pools, or recreation spaces. In addition to the grant, the AAD also provides a permanent sign for display near the shade structure. Learn more at www.aad.org/member/career/volunteer/shade.
Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program – Rural Communities
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides grants, low-interest direct loans, and/or combinations of the two to develop essential community facilities in rural areas, including public facilities, community support services, and local food systems such as community gardens and food hubs. Public entities, nonprofit organizations, and tribal entities in rural communities are eligible to apply. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services.
State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship Grants
State Farm makes it their business to be like a good neighbor, helping to build safer, stronger and better educated communities across the United States. Through their company grants, they focus on three areas: safety, education, and community development. Strong neighborhoods are the foundation of a strong society. State Farm is committed to maintaining the vibrancy of communities by assisting programs conducted by municipal, county, state or federal government entities that align with the State Farm® charitable focuses - including neighborhood revitalization. Learn more at www.statefarm.com/about-us/community-involvement.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund/Major League Baseball Field Maintenance Education Program
This program provides the opportunity for MLB groundskeepers to share tips and techniques with other professional sports turf managers, coaches, parents and volunteers who are involved in the maintenance of youth baseball and softball fields. In conjunction with the clinics, the Baseball Tomorrow Fund awards a $10,000 grant to a local organization selected by the participating Club. The grant funds are used for the purchase of field maintenance supplies, equipment or services. Learn more at www.mlb.com/baseball-tomorrow-fund/how-to-apply
Lisa Libraries Grant Program
Nonprofit organizations that serve low-income or underserved areas are eligible to apply for in-kind donations from The Lisa Libraries. Lisa Libraries provides donations of free books for community facilities to host their own small libraries or operate programs were children can take the book home. While book donations are free, The Lisa Libraries requests that recipients cover the shipping and handling costs, which are based on the destination and quantity of books. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Learn more and apply at www.lisalibraries.org/need-books.
Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program
The National Park Service has announced the opening of the application process for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program (ORLP), a nationally competitive grant program funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The ORLP offers grants specifically to help create and improve state and local parks and other outdoor recreation areas particularly in under-served communities. A total of $40 million of funding is available. Applications are due by July 10. Learn more and apply at www.cityparksalliance.org/funding/grant-opportunities
Keep America Beautiful’s Community Restoration and Resiliency Fund
Keep America Beautiful’s Community Restoration and Resiliency Fund benefits Keep America Beautiful Affiliates that serve communities directly affected by natural and environmental disasters. The fund provides immediate and long-term support for initial and ongoing cleanup efforts and helps rebuild vital public spaces: parks, greenways, community gateways, Main Street/downtown areas, open spaces and more. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more and apply at https://kab.org/grants/community-fund/
USTA Facility Services Program
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) offers business development, advocacy, technical, and financial support to improve or construct tennis facilities across the country. In addition, each applicant will be appointed a project consultant from the USTA National staff who will deliver personalized support and service. Service applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Learn more at www.usta.com, search for “grants” in the search box.
Campbells Soup Foundation Grants
The Campbell Soup Foundation focuses its giving on three strategic areas: increasing access to healthy food; encouraging healthy living through nutrition education and physical activity; and nurturing Campbell neighborhoods by transforming the physical spaces where people live, learn, and play. Learn more at www.campbellsoupcompany.com/about-campbell
National Recreation Foundation Grants
The National Recreation Foundation has made annual grants since its inception as a foundation in 1965. With a focus on youth development through recreation, grants generally are awarded through one of three grant programs: Trustee Grants, Special Grants and Impact Grants. Every year, each member of the Board of Trustees is invited to recommend a program he or she believes fulfills the mission of the National Recreation Foundation. Learn more at www.nationalrecreationfoundation.org/our-grants
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center Quality of Life Grants
As a pillar of the Paralysis Resource Center, the Quality of Life Grants Program, pioneered by the late Dana Reeve, impacts and empowers people living with paralysis, their families and caregivers by providing grants to nonprofit organizations whose projects and initiatives foster inclusion, involvement and community engagement, while promoting health and wellness for those affected by paralysis in all 50 states and U.S. territories. Learn more at www.christopherreeve.org/get-support
Walmart Foundation Grants
Together, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation generally provide more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind to support programs that align with their philanthropic priorities They work closely with grantees to address large scale environmental and social challenges in three priority areas: creating economic opportunity; enhancing sustainability in supply chains; and strengthening community. Learn more at www.walmart.org/how-we-give
Good Sports Sports Equipment, Apparel and Footwear Donations
Good Sports creates opportunities in sports and physical activity for kids through donations of brand new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear. Their goal is to help youth-serving programs: increase the total amount of youth participants; enhance the experience for all young people involved; and create new opportunities in physical activity for the kids they serve. Learn more at www.goodsports.org