Park & Trail Partnership Grants

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★ Round 8 applications are now open ★

Do you belong to a group that promotes or maintains a New York State OPRHP or DEC property?

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Does your organization need funding to:

  • Update your exhibits or signage?
  • Increase your marketing efforts to increase your memberships?
  • Replace or purchase new park or site amenities to enhance the visitors experience?
  • Staff a position to increase your organizations capacity?
  • Expand access and diversity to your site or within your organization?
  • Enhance, rehabilitate or construct trails?
  • Restore or repair historic/ period furnishings?

Then you should consider applying for a NYS Park and Trail Partnership grant!


The Park and Trail Partnership Grants have expanded!
What does this mean for your organization?

Check out the one-page snapshot overview describing what's new for Round 8.

Also, we recently hosted a series of workshops to share more about the Park and Trail Partnership Grant Program and how your Friends group can benefit from this $1 million increase in funding. Recordings of these workshops can be found on our YouTube channel or through the links below:

Eligibility

Eligibility Requirements

The NYS Park and Trail Partnership Grant program is open to organizations whose mission reflects the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, environmental education, maintenance, and/or promotion of a New York State park, trail, historic site or public land under the jurisdiction of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), or Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). These organizations are typically referred to as “Friends groups”.

  • An applicant must be registered as a charity with the New York State Attorney General’s office and submit its CHAR500/410 Annual Financial Report.
  • An applicant must be classified by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization or have a Memorandum of Understanding with a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt fiscal agent.
  • An applicant must have, and be in good standing under, a current agreement applicable to the grant request with OPRHP or DEC or have received a letter of intent to enter into such agreement.
  • An applicant must have as part of its mission and activities the support of an OPRHP or DEC facility.

Does my organization qualify?

Think that your organization is eligible but are not quite sure? Take our short survey to find out!


Round 8 Schedule

September 15: Application process opens

September 28 (11:00 am): Webinar for Professional Development applicants

VIEW THE RECORDING

October 11 -- Letters of Intent due (for Professional Development applications)

October 12 (1:00pm) -- General info webinar (this same webinar is offered twice)

VIEW THE RECORDING Passcode: %P+F8Ewr

November 2 (11:00am) -- General info webinar (this same webinar is offered twice)

→ VIEW THE RECORDING

DOWNLOAD THE SLIDES

VIEW THE Q&As

December 9: APPLICATION DEADLINE

Spring 2023: Awards announced

Early Summer 2023: First half of award funds distributed

Apply

First time applying?

Visit the APPLY PAGE to create an account and begin the application process.

Past applicant?

Log in to your account via the ONLINE PORTAL to begin the application process.

Questions?

View our Frequently Asked Questions page

or

Contact the Grant Coordinator, Jonathan Duda at: grants@ptny.org or 518-434-1583.

Program Goals

The program is administered jointly by Parks & Trails New York and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and is designed to:

  • Enhance the preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and promotion of New York State parks, trails, state historic sites and public lands.
  • Increase the sustainability, effectiveness, productivity, and volunteer and fundraising capabilities of not-for-profit organizations that promote, maintain, and support New York State parks, trails, state historic sites and public lands.
  • Promote the tourism and economic development benefits of outdoor recreation through the growth and expansion of a connected statewide network of parks, trails, greenways and public lands.

Grant Categories

There are four types of competitive grants available to eligible organizations through the Park and Trail Partnership Grant Program.

Capacity and Organizational Effectiveness Grants

Awards & Match: Grants up to $100,000; a 10 percent match is required*

Capacity and Organizational Effectiveness Grants strengthen the capacity and expertise of organizations that support New York State parks, trails, historic sites, and public lands, or a partnership involving more than one such organization, in order to aid them in fulfilling their mission and to improve their reach, effectiveness, and impact.

Examples of projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Development of a multi-year strategic plan or major fundraising/capital or marketing campaign plan.
  • Board/staff training and development, including facilitated retreats.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainings/consultant services or board recruitment campaigns that reflect your park/site's community and park/site visitors.
  • Developing partnerships with DEI-focused non-profits in your community, such as events and programs, that will help welcome more users to the park/site and expand accessibility in a broad sense
  • Website and email newsletter design and development, graphic design, and printing and distribution of digital or print brochures, newsletters and other promotional materials.
  • Efforts to expand the organization’s membership and broaden the diversity of support for the organization.
  • Software to improve fundraising/development/donor relations, bookkeeping, or recordkeeping. Grant funds may cover initial software purchase or licensing, but not license renewal.
  • Development and implementation of activities that will provide a future ongoing revenue source.
  • Development and implementation of a volunteer program.
  • Development of partnerships to promote new or strengthen existing collaboration with more than one organization and/or local government to increase public support for and/or participation in the planning, development, promotion or stewardship of the public resource.
  • Hiring of temporary contractors, staff or interns to support the organization’s capacity-building work.
  • Shared consultant services between more than one eligible organization.

* Up to 50 percent of which may be in-kind. Fifty percent of award is disbursed at contract signing; remainder disbursed after submission of satisfactory six-month progress report.

STEWARDSHIP AND PUBLIC ACCESS GRANTS

Awards & Match: Grants up to $150,000; A 10 percent match*

Stewardship and Public Access Grants may be used to assist Friends organizations with the stewardship, interpretation, promotion, education, and public access of a New York State Park or Historic Site, or a partnership involving more than one such organization, which significantly enhances the organization’s visibility and capacity.

Examples of projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Public access or engagement improvements, such as kiosks, exhibits, signage, new trails with signage, boat launches and docks, and other activities that enhance public enjoyment of the public resource.
  • Restoration of historic structures or preservation of artifacts as well as cataloging and digitizing collections for better public access.
  • Building infrastructure to better accommodate visitors with disabilities or mobility challenges.
  • Design and installation of interpretive information and displays, especially projects that engage wider audiences by incorporating multiple languages, aids for the visually or hearing impaired, or the inclusion of historically excluded voices or stories.
  • Improving access and upgrading buildings to increase multi-season use.
  • Development and implementation of a community outreach plan to enhance community access to and enjoyment of the public resource and awareness of the organization’s role in its preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and/or promotion.
  • Community and constituency-building initiatives, events, and programs that promote public education and recreation resulting in greater public support and broader public involvement, especially from new and presently underserved audiences, and those which enhance age-friendly recreational opportunities.
  • Development and implementation of public resource marketing plans, especially if undertaken in partnership with local tourism promotion efforts.
  • Shared consultant services between more than one eligible organization.
  • Programs or events involving the 2024 NYS Parks Centennial celebration.

If your Stewardship and Public Access Capacity Grant application includes a project involving construction or rehabilitation, please include the following documents with your application:

Examples of projects that are considered construction or rehabilitation are:

  • Building rehabilitation.
  • Any change to historic structure: adding or removing anything, painting, remodeling or reconstructing.
  • Improvements, such as interpretive kiosks, exhibits, signage, new trails with signage, trailwork and other activities that enhance public enjoyment and access to the park, trail or site.
  • Activities whose costs are part of a larger construction project.
  • Activities that involve any ground disturbance or shovel in the ground.
  • Activities that require engineering plans and specifications.
  • Activities that require State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) review.

* A 10 percent match of the total project budget is required, up to 50 percent of which may be in-kind. Fifty percent of award is disbursed at contract signing; remainder disbursed after submission of satisfactory six-month progress report.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Awards & Match: Grants up to $150,000 encompassing a period of two years; A 20 percent cash match*

The purpose of Professional Development Grants is to support the hiring of permanent staff in order to advance an organization to a higher and more sustainable level of professionalism and fiscal and administrative stability so that it will better be able to fulfill its mission. Professional Development Grants may be used to support:

  • First Staff Hire: hiring the organization’s first permanent employee, full- or part-time.
  • Additional Staff: hiring an additional full- or part-time permanent staff member to fill a critical administrative, outreach or development need, or other key function.
  • Upgrade to Full-time Staff: increasing a part-time executive director, or other key staff position to full time.
  • Shared Staff: hiring a staff person to be shared by two or more eligible organizations.

Professional Development Grants are meant to support permanent increases in staffing capacity. If an organization is interested in hiring temporary contractors or staff to support the organization’s work, this request would fall under a Capacity and Organizational Effectiveness Grant or a Stewardship and Public Access grant.

Organizations interested in a Professional Development Grant must first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by the determined date for that round. Full applications are by invitation only. Organizations will be notified mid-November if they are invited to submit a full proposal application.

* Fifty percent of award is disbursed at contract signing; remainder disbursed after submission of satisfactory one-year progress report.

STEP UP GRANTS

Awards & Match: Grants up to $20,000; a $500 match is required*

Step-up Grants assist Friends organizations with the administrative and legal fees needed to secure 501(c)(3) status, along with the costs associated with completing a consultant-facilitated organizational assessment and resulting plan(s).

* Cash or in-kind. Award disbursed at contract signing.

Resources and Documents

View the Resources for Applicants page containing many useful materials including templates, samples, evaluation criteria, etc.

Previous Grant Awardees

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