To influence policy and persuade members of Congress to act, advocates must present compelling information about the immense value of parks and recreation to local communities. The advocacy resources below show how our public policy priorities match our "Three Pillars." Use them to learn about our issues and communicate effectively with elected officials.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
Fresh off of winning historic support from Congress for permanent reauthorization of LWCF, NRPA supports ensuring robust funding through the yearly Congressional appropriations process. NRPA works to ensure Congress sticks to the authorized agreement on LWCF of 40% for the state assistance program and robust funding for the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) urban competitive grant program. NRPA also supports legislation that will provide dedicated full funding to LWCF introduced by Senators Manchin, Gardner, Cantwell and Burr (S. 1081).
Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development administers The Community Development Block Grants. These grants support local community development activities aimed at neighborhood revitalization, economic development, and improvement of community facilities, such as parks and recreation. Historically this program has provided up to $100 million annually for park and recreation infrastructure.
NRPA calls upon Congress to protect and maintain dedicated funding for key programs that connect communities, make streets safer, and promote healthy modes of transportation such as walking and biking – accomplished primarily through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), including the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and Safe Routes to Schools, as well as Parks. Combined, these programs, found in the federal surface transportation law, known as the “FAST Act,” provide approximately $800 million annually for bike and pedestrian projects and to promote pedestrian and bicycling safety in local communities. The FAST Act funds surface transportation programs until October 2021.
NRPA also supports providing additional resources to local communities to build networks of sidewalks, bike lanes and paths with low-cost loans as part of the federal transportation financing program known as TIFIA.
Health and Wellness
Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR)
Every five years, the Child Nutrition Act is due for reauthorization to improve and strengthen the federal child nutrition programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) manages SFSP and CACFP. These programs provide reimbursement dollars for after-school and summer meal programs at park and recreation agencies. Park and recreation agencies are the largest public provider of healthy meals and snacks to children outside of schools. While the current authorization for the Child Nutrition Act, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, expired in September 2015, the programs continue to operate. Congress is expected to consider this legislation sometime over the next two years.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) within the U.S. Department of Justice administers a federally-funded Youth Mentoring Grant Program. Grants are provided to youth-serving organizations nationwide in support of mentoring programs. The agency also provides critical research, training and technical assistance, and publications to help inform the mentoring field.
Out-of-School Time Programming
The 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program is the only federal grant program that supports summer and afterschool learning programs. Administered by the US Department of Education, 21st CCLC supports the establishment of local community-based educational programs for children in out-of-school time settings, particularly for low-income areas. Centers are encouraged to focus educational curriculum around STEM learning and to offer enrichment activities that add to the academic education children are receiving during the school day. However, the allowable uses of funds offer providers a wide range of activities to focus on, from environmental education to substance use prevention among youth.