By Rachel Maher
Park Pride has opened the 2015 application cycle for its Community Building and Legacy matching grant programs supporting community-driven capital park improvements. The organization is an Atlanta-based nonprofit working with communities to improve parks and greenspaces. Since 2006 they have awarded over $3.58 million in grants, leveraging over $13.5 million of additional support for a total investment of more than $17 million in parks.
“We believe that successful parks meet the needs of the communities they serve, and we designed our grant programs to help Friends of the Park groups maximize the potential of their neighborhood parks,” stated Park Pride’s Associate Director, Allison Barnett. “Past grantees have leveraged these awards to create new parks, playing fields, swimming pools, playgrounds, jogging paths, a disc golf course, bridges, boardwalks, environmental improvements, community gardens, native plantings, nature trails, wildlife habitat, dog parks, pavilions, and shade structures.”
Community Building Grants, supported by The Home Depot Foundation, provide awards of up to $50,000 for park improvement projects in city of Atlanta and DeKalb County parks. Projects funded last year include a stone terrace and seating wall to provide a site for community gatherings at Winn Park (Ansley Park neighborhood), fitness equipment to provide adults and seniors with opportunities for exercise at Lillian Cooper Shepherd Park (northwest Atlanta), and the construction of a small pavilion and community garden improvements at Forty Oaks Nature Preserve in DeKalb County.
Legacy Grants, supported by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, provide awards of $50,000 – $100,000 for the implementation of park visions and master plans in city of Atlanta parks. Previous awards provided a new playground, pool, and splash pad for Reverend James Orange Park in southwest Atlanta and the addition of a pedestrian bridge linking the unconnected sides of the newly created Mountain Way Common in northeast Atlanta.
Dan Weede, leader of the Friends of Mountain Way Common, explained that the Legacy Grant received from Park Pride proved to be a powerful endorsement of their park vision and kick-started their fundraising effort. Weede stated, “The Legacy Grant that we received was critical to funding about 40 percent of our pedestrian bridge, and it immediately gave our Friends of the Park group credibility within the community and allowed us to raise the remaining funds.”
Park Pride hosted a Grant Workshop on Saturday, October 3 at the Zaban Recreation Center. The workshop, which is mandatory for first time applicants and strongly recommended for all, detailed the application process and offered guidance on preparing a successful proposal. The deadline to apply for the Community Building and Legacy Grants is Monday, October 26 at 5:00pm. All Park Pride grant information and the full schedule of important dates can be found on the Park Pride website at www.parkpride.org. Park Pride also offers Small Change Grants, which are supported by the Cecil B. Day Foundation and are awarded year-round.
Local Park Improvement Grants Available
By Rachel Maher