Funding available for park and trail projects

On January 11, Parks & Trails New York (PTNY) opened the sixth round of Park and Trail Partnership Grants. Funding totaling $900,000 is available for a wide variety of park, trail, historic site and public land projects undertaken by non-profit State Parks and DEC partner organizations.

The competitive grant program has greatly grown in popularity since its inception in 2015. Last year, more than 50 organizations from all regions of the state submitted proposals.

WHICH ORGANIZATIONS ARE ELIGIBLE AND HOW DO THEY APPLY?

The answer to these and many more questions can be found on the grant information page of the PTNY website at www.ptny.org/grants.

WHAT'S NEW THIS YEAR?

The award for the Step-Up Grant, which helps Friends organizations gain their 501c3 status and develop a roadmap for the next few years, has been increased from $7,500 to $10,000.

The application has also been updated to encourage proposed projects to include diversity elements. PTNY supports the goals of inclusion, equity, and justice in our parks, trails, open spaces, and beyond, and we encourage applicants to think about how they can develop their projects with a broader audience in mind.

WHAT HAS BEEN FUNDED?

Since 2015 the Park and Trail Partnership Grant program has awarded over $2.7 million in funding to 111 projects. Applicants are required to match their awards with private funding, whether through internal resources or through fundraising or grants. Matches have totaled over $1.5 million.

Successful proposals build in sustainability so that they are viable long after the grant period ends. The four grant categories have yielded some remarkable projects. Following are just a few examples:

VOLUNTEER CENTER AT LITTLE STONY POINT

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One of the more impactful projects to be awarded via the Stewardship and Public Access Grant category is the construction and subsequent enhancements of a multi-purpose Volunteer Center at Little Stony Point along the shores of the Hudson River. Improvements to the original structure include restrooms and solar power, heating, furnishings, signage, and, the latest in 2020: a multimedia center.

FORMATION OF A NEW FRIENDS GROUP

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Step-Up Grants, although the grant category with the lowest cap amount, can potentially make the largest impact over time, for it funds legal and consulting fees for “young” organizations to acquire their 501c3 non-profit status, thus opening up opportunities for future grants and fundraising.

A small group that was dedicated to the stewardship of Two Rivers State Park, just east of Elmira and close to the Pennsylvania border, received a Step-Up Grant, allowing the group to apply for various grants and grow the organization.

A NEW FUNDRAISING STAFF PERSON

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Certainly a case of a “gift that keeps on giving,” the Friends of Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion State Historic Park in the Finger Lakes was awarded a Professional Development grant to hire a Development Director for two years (the Professional Development category is the only one to fund a project for more than one year). This position has made possible a successful capital campaign and more winning grants, and will continue to add to the capacity of the organization for years to come.



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