Eligibility

We are a nonprofit organization that partners with our local government. Can we apply?

No. The applicant for the grant must be a government agency (e.g., municipal park and recreation department, tribal recreation department, park district, etc.)

Can my school or daycare apply for a grant?

No, the applicant for the grant must be a government agency (e.g., municipal park and recreation department, tribal recreation department, park district, etc.)

Can our parks foundation serve as the fiscal agent?

Yes, the funds can be issued to a non-profit local park foundation, but the grant applicant must be a government agency.

Can my agency apply if we have previously received an Earth Month or Play Space grant?

Yes, previous grantees may apply.

What project sites are eligible?

Grants will support park and recreation agencies doing projects in publicly-owned sites that are open to the public and under the authority of a local, municipal, regional, or state government agency (e.g., park and recreation department) or federally recognized tribal community.

Do we have to be a current member of NRPA in order to apply?

NRPA encourages membership to ensure that your agency has access to the full suite of education and resources available; however, you do not have to be a current member of NRPA to be eligible to apply.

Are municipalities/organizations outside of the U.S. eligible to receive grants?

Grants will only be awarded to projects located within the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

How do I know if my agency falls within a pre-determined market?

The markets are determined by the zip code where the projects will be located. They will automatically be categorized when you enter the zip code on the application.

Can my agency still apply if it is not within a pre-determined market?

Yes – 10 at-large grants will be awarded.

Program Overview

How many grants will be awarded?

A total of 25 grants will be awarded nationwide. Each grant amount will be $30,000 and a total of $750,000 will be awarded.

Is there a certain type of community that is most likely to receive a grant?

Underserved communities of all sizes – rural, suburban and urban - will be considered in all states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

For purposes of this grant opportunity, underserved community refers to vulnerable populations, including community of color, ethnic minorities, new Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities, low-income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations that may be disproportionately experiencing degraded environmental quality, poor health outcomes, high stress, and/or social isolation.

What types of projects will be funded?

Proposed projects will create new opportunities for play and physical activity for kids and families. Some suggested themes include:

  1. Mobile Play vehicle or flexible pop-up play equipment that can travel to multiple parks and recreation centers and be placed in a location temporarily.
  2. Trail and walking path enhancements that increase visibility and accessibility, add elements of play, and/or improve wayfinding that guides and encourage kids and families to use the trail.
  3. Play spaces, nature play spaces, pocket-play spaces, and/or inclusive play spaces that bring unique play features to new or revitalized parks.
  4. Sport field/court enhancements that improve or create unique sports fields or courts that encourage community use, small sided play, and/or creative games in places that lack opportunities for formal sports participation.
  5. Nature and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Based Play Spaces, nature play spaces, and pocket-play spaces that incorporate STEM learning loose play features to new or revitalized parks

Can our agency apply for more than one grant?

No, you may not apply for more than one grant. One application will be considered from each agency so please select one project and submit only one application.

Do you have a list of past projects that received funding through this program?

This is the third time we are offering this grant program, so we do have a list of grantees and project summaries.

Will you offer this grant again next year?

Grants of this type are dependent on future funding, which we have not secured. Therefore, this is the only round of grants that we are offering and cannot guarantee that the program will be offered in the future.

Are letters of support required?

Letters of support are not required, but can be included as part of your application. Typically letters come from the head of your agency (director, superintendent, etc.) or a local community group or nonprofit partner.

Where should we address letters of support?

Letters of support can be uploaded through the application.

How much time will we have to complete the project?

Considerable progress towards the project outcomes must be demonstrated by August 17, 2019. All projects must be completed by December 13, 2019. A required final report will be due on December 31, 2019 (an online template will be provided).

How should grantees engage the community in this project?

Community engagement is very important to this program. Successful projects will involve the community throughout the project from design to implementation. Volunteerism is another important component of this program. Agencies should provide opportunities for members of the local community and Disney employees (if applicable) to be actively involved and assist with project planning and implementation.

How should grantees promote the project?

Grantees should promote the project locally through its own communication channels and on social media. A toolkit for social media and other communications will be provided.

If awarded a grant, we will be required to gather data through an intercept survey. What is that?

The intercept survey consists of questions asked of community members at the improved space and the collection of stories from them about the improved space. A survey template and training will be provided.

How do we administer the intercept survey?

Grantees will be required to administer a quick survey from a minimum of 25 people who are familiar with the project. A template will be provided and grantees will need to use a smart phone, tablet or laptop computer to collect responses. An internet connection is not required while administering the surveys.

If awarded a grant, will my agency be chosen to participate in a more extensive evaluation?

In addition to the intercept survey, eight grantees will be selected to participate in a more in-depth evaluation to understand the change in use and activity levels for each type of project.

What is the evaluation measuring and what responsibilities are required if chosen to participate in the in-depth evaluation?

The in-depth evaluation is intended to capture how the selected projects have impacted the community. Grantees will be required to observe the project site and collect data before the project is built and after. At each time, there will be 4 consecutive days of data collection, collected 3 times per day.

Agencies selected to participate in the evaluation will be trained on and be required to use evaluation tools for data collection including an observation protocol for selected grantees to measure the average number of people active in the park.

Will NRPA visit my project in person?

It is possible that NRPA staff (and potentially staff from Disney if applicable) might visit the site to see the project. Videos and photos might be taken that could potentially be shared on NRPA and Disney communications channels.

Funding

What are eligible expenses for these grant funds?

Grant funds can be used for project design fees, construction costs and project-specific expenses, such as the purchase of play equipment, for example.

Are matching funds required?

Yes, a 1:1 match is required. Eligible match can include cash, staff time, design fees and construction costs.

Definitions

How are you defining an “underserved” community”?

For purposes of this grant opportunity, underserved community refers to vulnerable populations, including community of color, ethnic minorities, new Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities, low-income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations that may be disproportionately experiencing degraded environmental quality, poor health outcomes, high stress, and/or social isolation. Applicants are also invited to describe what “underserved” means in their community and how the project will address specific needs and disparities.

What do you mean by “innovative”?

Projects that feature new methods or introduce unique ideas. Projects that are original and creative in thinking.

What do you mean by “inclusive”?

A play space in which measures have been taken to ensure that ALL community members are welcome and are able to fully participate amongst their peers. The physical environment is accessible to people of all abilities equally (cognitive, intellectual and other developmental disabilities, mobility, visual, hearing, and mental health disabilities). For more information, please visit this link. You can also find more information here.

What do you mean by “mobile play”?

Impermanent, flexible play elements and activities that can be used in multiple locations.

What do you mean by “scalable”?

Projects that can serve as a model for other communities; projects that be expanded to other locations, reaching more people and extending to new populations.

Who can I contact with additional questions about this grant opportunity?

If you have questions regarding this grant opportunity, please email playspacesRFA@nrpa.org.

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