The following pages provide many resources to assist you in your search for outside funding for parks and recreation. Some grant opportunities offer funds to assist with facility construction, while others offer assistance to purchase equipment or hire staff to implement programs. This list is not exhaustive. Please let us know if you have an additional funding link or resource to add to the list.
Places and Spaces
Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF)
Provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to local governments for park and recreation purposes. Funding for acquisition, development or renovation. Visit the RRS grant pages for PARTF and LWCF for additional information on those two programs
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
A federal grant program managed through the National Park Service and the NC Division of Parks and Recreation. The program began in 1965 and has funded 874 park projects in North Carolina providing close to $75 million in federal grant funds for parks and recreation.
Clean Water Management Trust Fund
CWMTF will fund projects that (1) enhance or restore degraded waters, (2) protect unpolluted waters, and/or (3) contribute toward a network of riparian buffers and greenways for environmental, educational, and recreational benefits.
NCDOT – Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant InitiativeThe NCDOT Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation and the Transportation Planning Branch created an annual matching grant program – the Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning Grant Initiative – to encourage municipalities to develop comprehensive bicycle plans and pedestrian plans. This program was initiated in January 2004 and is currently administered through NCDOT-DBPT.. No longer funded.
North Carolina Trails Program
Funding for the State Adopt-A-Trail (AAT) was eliminated in the State’s 2014 – 2015 budget.The enabling legislation was left unchanged and many are hopeful funding for this important trail grant program will be restored and improved in future years.
Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
The RTP is a federal grant program authorized by Congress in 2012 as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21 Century (MAP-21). The intent of the RTP is to help fund trails and trail-related recreational needs at the State level. Funding for the RTP comes from federal gas taxes paid on non-highway fuel used in off-highway vehicles, and the program is administered at the Federal level by the Federal Highway Administration.
North Carolina Forest Service Urban & Community Forestry Grant Program
The U&CF Grant Program funds projects which lead to a more effective and efficient management of urban and community forests, and improve public understanding of the benefits of preserving existing tree cover in communities. Any units of local government, public education institutions, and approved nonprofit 501(c)(3) and other tax exempt organizations are eligible to apply.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative – Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program
Since 2010 the SFI has awarded 66 Conservation and Community Partnership Grants totaling more than $1.9 million to foster research and pilot efforts to better inform future decisions about our forests. This year, SFI will award up to $400,00 in nes Conservation and Community Partnerships.
The Trust for Public Land
TPL helps conserve land for recreation and spiritual nourishment and to improve the health and quality of life of American communities.
EPA Smart Growth and Local Foods, Local Places
The EPA Office of Sustainable Communities occasionally offers grants to support activities that improve the quality of development and protect human health and the environment.
Smith Reynolds Foundation
Largest general purpose foundation in the country with two trusts. ZSR has a legal mandate to make grants only within the geographic boundaries of NC for non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organizations and institutions.
North Carolina Arts Council – ARTS Grants
Various grants for organizations and artists/individuals
KaBoom provides opportunities to help communities take bold steps toward beginning or completing playspace projects
Health and Wellbeing
Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of North Carolina
Supports programs that increase access to health services for the uninsured, provide health education, promote healthy lifestyles, and support health initiatives that target children, older adults, and minorities.
Matching Grants up to $50K for Outdoor Fitness Equipment
Municipalities can partner with schools and others to apply for matching grants for outdoor fitness equipment purchases through Greenfields Outdoor Fitness.
North Carolina Health FundersNorth Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Several North Carolina funding sources provided by Eat Smart, Move More NC.
Afterschool Activities and Youth Focus Resources
Portal to federal resources that support children and youth during out-of-school hours
North Carolina Center for Afterschool Programs
NC CAP developed an overview of the available afterschool funding streams in the state. Funding streams come from state agencies and private organizations, and are divided into Academics, Juvenile Justice, Health and Wellness, Needs-based funding, and Private funding.
NCDOT Bike Helmets Grant
Funding for the Bicycle Helmet Initiative is made possible through sales of the Share the Road specialty license plates.
Safe Places to Play
This grant transforms abandoned courts, empty schoolyards, vacant lots and the like into state-of-the-art soccer fields for kids. The US Soccer Foundation awards grants three times a year to under-served communities to help cover the costs of lighting, irrigation, construction, surfacing and enhancement.
Travel and Tourism Partnerships
NC Department of Commerce
Economic statistics and funding opportunities in areas such as Heritage Tourism, Economic Impact / Tourism Research and Community Development
The Conservation Fund – Resourceful Communities – Creating New Economies Fund
A specialized program of the conservation fund, Resourceful Communities supports a network of community groups, faith-based organizations, small towns and resource providers.
The Creating New Economies Fund provides small grants to support community projects that implement the “triple bottom line” — environmental stewardship, economic development and social justice.
North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center, Inc.
Dedicated to the development of innovative strategies to improve the lives of rural North Carolinians, with a special focus on economic opportunities for citizens with low to moderate incomes.
Golden LEAF Foundation
Golden LEAF currently has two programs open to eligible entities seeking grants. Those programs complement other ongoing initiatives of the Foundation.
National Park Service – State, Tribal and Local Plans and Grants Division
Provides preservation assistance through a variety of programs. STLPG administers a number of grant programs that preserve America’s historic places and diverse history. STLPG develops and delivers technical assistance and guidance in historic preservation to a broad audience, including States, Tribes, local communities and Federal agencies.
Tobacco Trust Fund
The NCTTFC is not accepting grant applications at this time. Please continue to check the NCTTFC website for updates.
Sisters of Mercy of North Carolina Foundation
The Foundation provides grants to tax-exempt health care, educational and social service organizations that meet its criteria and effectively assist women, children, those who are elderly and those who are poor to improve the quality of their lives. Primary focus is in the metrolina and western NC region.
Corporation for National and Community Service
Provides grants to national and local nonprofits, schools, government agencies, faith-based and other community organizations and other groups committed to strengthening their communities through volunteering.
National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS)
NAYS will be awarding six communities its sports development program package, valued at $410. The program contains our complete six weeks of motor skill development curriculum and enough equipment to serve a program of 20 participants (parent and child).
North Carolina Amateur Sports Endowment (NCAS)
Provides funds to 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations that promote amateur athletics, individuals training for elite competitions, physical fitness programs and other programs pursuing the Olympic ideal.
Baseball Tomorrow Fund
The Baseball Tomorrow Fund (BTF) awards grants to non-profit and tax-exempt organizations involved in the operation of youth baseball and/or softball programs and facilities.
National Alliance for Accessible Golf, funded by the United States Golf Association, is expanding its efforts to provide financial assistance and resources to help make the game of golf more accessible to people with disabilities.
US Soccer Foundation
The U.S. Soccer Foundation awards grants on both an annual basis (Program Grants) and a continually rolling process (Safe Places to Play Grants) to support soccer programs and field-building initiatives nationwide.
US Tennis Association
The USTA Foundation awards program grants twice a year to programs that support at-risk youth and people with disabilities through tennis and education programs designed to improve health, build character and strive for academic excellence.
Grant Writing Resources