PTNY Growing the Grassroots
Capacity Building Grants

Grants to strengthen park and trail groups around the state 

logoParks & Trails New York’s Growing the Grassroots Capacity Building Grants enhance the long-term sustainability of park and trail not-for-profit organizations by helping them better fulfill their missions; improve their reach, effectiveness, and impact; leverage resources, and increase community support for and involvement in park and trail planning, development and/or stewardship. View the program brochure.

The deadline for applications is November 12, 2013. Here are some frequently asked questions.

PRE-APPLICATION WEBINAR

The slide show from Parks & Trails New York's October 16th pre-application webinar has been archived here (Note the webinar audio has not been archived).

ELIGIBILITY

Awards will be made to local or regional organizations that are classified by the IRS as 501(c)(3) or who operate under the fiscal sponsorship of a 501(c)(3) and whose primary mission is stewardship of a specific New York park or trail that is or will be open to the public.  Include a copy of the IRS ruling letter with the application.

FISCAL SPONSOR

A 501 (c)(3) fiscal sponsor is needed if a group does not have 501 (c)(3) status.  Applicants must include the IRS determination letter for the fiscal sponsor as well as a copy of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the applicant and the fiscal sponsor. 

GUIDELINES

Grants of up to $3,000 will fund activities that help develop and strengthen the skills, processes and resources that not-for-profit organizations need to survive:

  • Organizational start-up – e.g., incorporation, initial staff, equipment purchase
  • Professional consulting services that aid organizational development – e.g., fundraising, communication, marketing, membership, strategic planning, financial management
  • Board and staff training
  • Volunteer recruitment, training and/or recognition program
  • Communications – graphic design, development or enhancement of a logo, website, newsletter, or other communication tool; printing and distribution of brochures, newsletters, or other educational or outreach materials

Brochures and maps may include information on the trail or park but their primary purpose must be organizational information and solicitation of membership or donations.

GRANTS CANNOT BE USED TO FUND:

  • General operating expenses, existing staff salaries, or support of ongoing or new programs
  • Capital costs associated with construction, maintenance, and infrastructure for a park or trail (signs, benches, etc., equipment, or tools)
  • Endowments
  • Lobbying or political activities
  • Giveaways (e.g. T-shirts, patches, etc.), events, refreshments or other entertainment expenses

Projects that increase capacity to raise funds by developing items for sale, such as calendars or t-shirts, are allowed. Please be specific how they will be used.

SELECTION CRITERIA:

Awards will be based on:

  • Ability to initiate, grow, strengthen, or transform the organization
  • Demonstrated financial need; preference will be given to organizations with annual budgets of less than $100,000
  • Detailed, documented, and realistic budget. See a sample budget.
  • Clearly articulated project goals, tangible outcomes and well-defined, objective measures of success
  • Applicant support for the project as demonstrated by financial and/or in-kind commitment
  • Ability to leverage other opportunities, such as partnerships and funding sources
  • Creativity and the ability of the project to serve as a model for other groups
  • Visibility – degree to which project will promote the organization and foster public use, appreciation, stewardship, and development of applicant’s park and/or trail
  • If applicable, plan for sustainability of the project after grant period ends

Preference will be given to:

  • Projects that leverage the amount of funds requested with significant cash or in-kind contributions from project partners.
  • Organizations who have not received a Growing the Grassroots grant within the last three years.
  • Organizations with annual budgets of less than $100,000.

AWARD AMOUNTS

Grants will be awarded up to $3000

GRANTEE REQUIREMENTS

All grantees will execute a signed contract with Parks & Trails New York prior to receiving an initial payment of 65% of the grant award.  Grantees will be required to submit a brief, six-month progress update.  The remainder of the grant award will be paid upon receipt of a final accounting and project report.  Successful completion of funded projects and timely submission of reports will affect eligibility for future grant awards.

APPLY ONLINE

This year we are using an online application that will allow you to fill in information directly to the application form. We strongly recommend using the online form instead of the paper copy. Answers to the narrative questions must be uploaded as an attachment, along with the budget and all other required supporting documentation, such as cost estimates, support letters, 501c(3) forms, and organizational financial statements.
TO ENSURE COMPLETE TRANSFER OF EACH ATTACHMENT THE ONLINE SUBMISSION FORM HAS BEEN MODIFIED. EACH ATTACHMENT WILL NOW BE UPLOADED ON A SEPERATE PAGE OF THE SUBMISSION FORM.

Please read the instructions carefully and prepare the answers to the narrative questions and scan other documents well in advance of your submission as all information must be input into the application form at once. You will not be able to partially complete the form and then save your work. Please plan accordingly.

If you are not able to use the online application, we will provide a downloadable application, but please note: we will only accept the downloadable form and all supporting documentation in one complete email. We prefer the application and supporting materials to be attached as one PDF. The application should be emailed to grants@ptny.org no later than 5:00 p.m. on November 12, 2013. We will not accept applications that are mailed or faxed.


Since PTNY initiated the awards program in 2009, it has assisted 46 organizations in 26 New York counties to expand their fundraising and membership campaigns, enhance their public programming, redesign or create new websites, and develop marketing materials.  These efforts have paid off by increasing the visibility of these groups and growing the number of members and volunteers that support them in their work. 

Read more about previous grant recipients and testimonials from awardees.

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29 Elk Street * Albany, NY 12207 * (ph) 518-434-1583 * (fax) 518-427-0067 * ptny@ptny.org