Grant Categories Apply Now

There are four types of capacity-building grants available to eligible organizations through the Park and Trail Partnership Program.

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Capacity and Organizational Effectiveness Grants

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.
    • 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, 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 park/trail/site.
    • Hiring of temporary contractors, staff or interns to support the organization’s capacity-building work.
    • Shared consultant services between more than one eligible organization.

Awards & Match: Grants up to $35,000; a 15 percent match 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.

Step Up Grants

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).

Awards & Match: Grants up to $7,500; a $500 match is required, cash or in-kind. Award disbursed at contract signing.

Professional Development Grants

Professional Development Grants support the hiring of permanent staff in order to advance Friends organizations to a higher and sustainable level of professionalism, fiscal and administrative stability, and community outreach that in the future they will be able to sustain on their own. 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.

Awards & Match: Grants up to $75,000 encompassing a period of two years; a 25 percent match in cash is required. Fifty percent of award is disbursed at contract signing; remainder disbursed after submission of satisfactory one-year progress report.

Organizations interested in a Professional Development Grant must first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) by October 11, 2017. Full applications are by invitation only. Organizations will be notified mid-November if they are invited to submit a full proposal application, due December 8, 2017.

Stewardship and Public Access Capacity Grants

Stewardship and Public Access Capacity 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 interpretive kiosks, exhibits, signage, new trails with signage, and other activities that enhance public enjoyment and access to the park/trail/site.
  • Community and constituency-building initiatives and programs that promote outreach and public education and recreation resulting in greater public support and broader public involvement, especially from new and presently underserved audiences.
  • Shared consultant services between more than one eligible organization.
  • Development and implementation of a community outreach plan to enhance community access to and enjoyment of the park/trail/site and awareness of the organization’s role in its preservation, stewardship, interpretation, maintenance and/or promotion.
  • Development and implementation of park/trail/site marketing plans, especially if undertaken in partnership with local tourism promotion efforts.

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.

Awards & Match: Grants up to $50,000; a 15 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.