Many people look back on their childhood and have fond memories of the park they would frequent with their guardians. Whether they were hanging from the monkey bars, sliding on the slides, or just making friends, the playground was a place for them to grow, develop, and create memories. They are interwoven into the fabric of our communities because they are one of the few places where children learn how to exercise and learn social etiquette. However, to build or maintain these playgrounds takes money. That’s why so many companies and organizations offer grants for the building and maintenance of playgrounds. Playground grants are a way for foundations and corporations to get involved and support healthy activities for kids A grant is a sum of money that is applied for to be used for a specific purpose, without reimbursement. Here is a list of grants that could help you get the playground your community deserves.
Community Development Block Grants
This is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to accommodate a wide range of needs. This is one of the longest-running programs in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust
Trust wants everyone in the community that they are a part of to feel valued and celebrated for the vital role that they play in getting the community to function to its highest potential. This is done by funding projects in communities that give children and adults the tools they need to empower their communities.
This foundation is dedicated to assisting communities to improve their overall health and wellness. In 2017, they funded $2 million worth of initiatives focusing on youth-led initiatives. Grantees will focus on outcomes such as decreased bullying, positive social behaviors, stress management, and increased physical activity.
Project Fit America
Project Fit America is a national nonprofit that promotes fitness in education programming for elementary and middle schools. Under the umbrella fitness, they include self-esteem, understanding one’s body, sportsmanship, leadership, and exercise as play.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides grants for US-based projects that seek to improve the health of individuals and communities. They generally award grants through calls for proposals, but they also accept unsolicited grants from parties that have a unique and creative approach to improving the health and well-being of communities.
Rural Community Development Initiative
The Rural Community Development Initiative seeks to provide rural communities with the communal areas they need to thrive. This can be done through housing, community-facilities, and you guessed it, playgrounds!
The Finish Line Youth Foundation
This foundation strives to better the lives of the youth in places where their employees live and work. They support initiatives that are founded in inclusion and exhibiting healthy practices for the youth in communities. They seek to promote an active lifestyle among children, something that playgrounds do an amazing job of instilling.
BNSF Railway Foundation
The foundation awards its grants to 501 (c)3 charities, local governments, federally recognized tribal governments, and schools. They also only award grants if there are BNSF employees involved in the communities the grant is applied for. This grant helps civic programs focused on improving community health get off the ground through parks and recreational activities.
The Funding Factory helps schools get leading-edge technology, sports equipment, and playground equipment. They do this by having the applicant register for an account. They then go to local businesses and community organizations asking them to donate their empty printer cartridges. For each cartridge donated, the Funding Factory will give the applicant money towards their goal. It’s a great way to fundraise for that new community park!
Darden Restaurants Foundation Grants
The Darden Restaurant Foundation is supported by the Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and others). They make grants in communities that have their facilities nearby. They typically are interested in awarding grants in the areas of education, social services, nutrition, and arts and culture. The awarded grants can range anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 and they are awarded quarterly.
Shane’s Inspiration was founded by the parents of Shane Williams, a child born with spinal muscular atrophy that passed away just 2 weeks after birth. His parents recognized that if their son survived, there would have been no playgrounds that would have been accessible to him. They created Shane’s Inspiration to build inclusive playgrounds across the world so every community has a truly accessible playground for everyone to enjoy.
This foundation supports innovative efforts to bring physical activities to local schools and communities. They want to enhance community engagement by implementing places where people can gather and enjoy life. They do this by funding walking paths, neighborhood grocery stores, or playgrounds and parks.
The Rite Aid Foundation
The Rite Aid Foundation centers itself around three areas of charitable giving. These focuses include Special community health and wellness needs, Rite Aid’s own community of associates during a time of need, and children’s health and well-being. In total, they have donated upwards of $80 million towards children-focused initiatives. They raise their money by asking their customers to round up to the nearest dollar on all purchases. This program seeks to address the challenges and inequities within communities by providing communities with the tools they need to thrive.
Playgrounds are an essential development tool in a child’s life. It is where they learn key skills like social interaction, cooperative play, and how to see exercise as fun. As you can see, many companies see that as well. There are plenty of options for you to get your local park off the ground or keep up with the maintenance of a park that already exists in your community. As stated above, all of these things take money, but so many companies and foundations are looking for ways to enhance the lives of communities especially in places where they operate. Hopefully, this list can help you get the funding you need to get your community the playground it deserves.