- Community Garden Fundraising Ideas: Developing Community Garden Grant Proposals
- Getting Community Garden Grants
- How to Fund a Community Garden
- Public Garden Funding Resources
- Garden Grants
- Grant Opportunities for School and Youth Garden Programs
Community Garden Fundraising Ideas: Developing Community Garden Grant Proposals
Community gardens are fantastic resources. They provide green spaces in urban environments, give gardeners without land of their own a place to work, and foster a real sense of community. If you don’t have one in your neighborhood, you may want to consider starting one of your own. You need to keep in mind, of course, that community gardens take a decent amount of money to get off the ground, and you’ll probably need financial help in the beginning. Keep reading to learn more about grant funding for community gardens and community garden fundraising ideas.
Getting Community Garden Grants
Getting a community garden started can get costly. Depending on the size of your garden, its location, and whether or not it already contains a water source, you could be looking at anything from $3,000 to $30,000 just to get the ball rolling.
Before you start despairing, you should look into grants. The Community Development Block Grant Program is designed to revitalize urban areas. Check with your local government to see if your space may qualify. There are countless private grants that you can apply for as well, many of which are listed here.
Remember, when you’re writing community garden grant proposals, it’s not necessary to focus exclusively on the garden aspect of your space. You can also highlight the revitalization of a space, nutrition, improving quality of life, education, or any of the other benefits of community gardens.
How to Fund a Community Garden
Grants are definitely helpful, but they’re not the only source of funding. Some community garden fundraising ideas focus more on getting the community involved.
You can hold a bake sale or a car wash, sell seeds and tee shirts, or even host a community carnival or fair. All of these have the double benefit of raising money, and raising awareness and goodwill within the neighborhood.
If you can raise money while promoting your garden and getting people interested, you’re definitely getting off on the right foot.
Public Garden Funding Resources
There are many grants available to non-profit gardens that may be applicable to your wants and needs as a public garden. Many have restrictions, so please make sure you are eligible before applying. Have a grant or other funding opportunity to add to the list? Let us know at [email protected]
American Academy of Dermatology Shade Structure Grant
The AAD Shade Structure Grant Program awards grants of up to $8,000 to public schools and non-profit organizations for installing permanent shade structures for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun. In addition to the grant, the AAD also provides a permanent sign for display near the shade structure.
Amounts Awarded: up to $8,000.00
Annie’s Grants for Gardens
Annie’s offers Grants for Gardens donations to schools and other educational programs that help build school gardens. Since 2008, they’ve directly funded more than 295 gardens, because they believe that gardens help connect kids to real food. Grants are issued annually.
Amounts Awarded: $5,000.00 to $2,500.00
California Department of Pesticide Regulation Alliance Grants Program
DPR’s Pest Management Alliance Grant Program, established in 1997, provides funding for projects that increase implementation and adoption of proven, effective integrated pest management (IPM) practices that reduce pesticide risks to human health and the environment.
Amounts Awarded: Unknown
Geographic Restrictions: California Only
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Education Grants
Several applicable EPA grants are offered in the area of Environmental Education.
Amounts Awarded: variable
Herb Society of America Grants for Educators
The Herb Society of America’s mission is to promote the knowledge, use and delight of herbs through educational programs, research, and sharing the experience of its members with the community. The grant rewards innovative projects that enhance herbal education in school systems, in communities, or in any public forum (electronic or person-to-person).
Amounts Awarded: Up to $5,000.00
Geographic Restrictions: United States only
Institute of Museum and Library Studies Grants
Several applicable grants are offered through the Institute of Museum and Library Studies. In the FY20 budget passed on December 30, 2019, an additional $3M was allocated for the Museums Empowered and Inspire! Grants for Small Museums. Learn more here.
Amounts Awarded: variable
Museums Assessment Program
MAP offers five different museum assessments: Organizational, Collections Stewardship, Community & Audience Engagement, Education & Interpretation (New!) and Board Leadership (New!). They have a questionnaire online to help you decide which consultative MAP assessment is a good match for your institution. Download this short quiz and then apply online.
Amounts Awarded: valued at $4-6,000
National Science Foundation (NSF) Grants
Several applicable NSF grants are offered.
Amounts Awarded: variable
National Trust Preservation Funds
Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds encourage preservation at the local level by providing seed money for preservation projects. For more information about this program, or to learn how to apply, follow the link and read their guidelines and eligibility page.
Amounts Awarded: variable
2020 National Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Cost Share Grant Program
Through the USDA Forest Service National Forest Resiliency Innovation Challenge Cost Share Grant Program, the Forest Service seeks to establish sustainable urban and community forests by encouraging communities of all sizes to manage and protect their natural resources to improve the public’s health, well-being, economic vitality, and creates resilient ecosystems for present and future generations. 2020 Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
Amounts Awarded: variable
The Stanley Smith Horticulture Trust – actively seeking applications!
The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust invites applications for grants up to $25,000 for projects related to education and/or research in ornamental horticulture. Not-for-profit botanical gardens, arboreta, and most other tax-exempt organizations are eligible.
The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust was created in 1970 by May Smith in honor of her late husband. The Trust supports education and research in ornamental horticulture, primarily in North and South America. Grants up to $25,000 are typically made to botanical gardens, arboreta, and universities. Letters of inquiry from organizations that match the Trust’s funding interests and qualifications are welcome. The application process is described on the For Grant seekers page.
Amounts Awarded: up to $25,000.00
Geographic Restrictions: North and South America
For information, visit: http://www.adminitrustllc.com/stanley-smith-horticultural-trust/
Therapeutic Garden Grants
The National Garden Bureau promotes the health and healing powers of human interaction with plants through a yearly grant program for therapeutic gardens. Sakata Seed America is committed to supporting organizations in local communities throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America, to help people live productive, healthy and enriched lives. American Meadows is a respected online retailer of wildflower seeds, perennial plants, flower bulbs and vegetable seeds in North America and their people have been helping supply successful gardener-partners since 1981.
Amounts Awarded: up to $5,000.00
Geographic Restrictions: North America For information visit: https://ngb.org/grant-application/
U.S. Bank Community Possible Grants – 3 cycles
U.S. Bank’s Community Possible supports efforts to create stable jobs, better homes, and vibrant communities. Grants are awarded for fund economic development initiatives tied to Work, Home, and Play.
PLAY: Application open January 1 – January 31
WORK: Application open April 1–April 30
HOME: Application open July 1–July 31 Neighborhood Stability & Revitalization
Amounts Awarded: Varies
For information visit: https://www.usbank.com/community/community-possible-grant-program.aspx
National Park Service: Save America’s Treasures Grant Program
Application Deadline is December 10, 2019
The National Park Service, in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), is now accepting applications for $13 million in matching grants to support the preservation of nationally significant historic properties and collections through the Save Americaߣs Treasures program.
Since 1999, the Save America’s Treasures program has leveraged more than $340 million in federal appropriations through the Historic Preservation Fund and attracted $399 million in private investment to help communities preserve nationally significant properties and collections across the country, creating more than 16,000 jobs along the way.
Save America’s Treasures grants are awarded through a competitive process and require a dollar-for-dollar, non-Federal match, which can be cash or documented in-kind services. To be considered for this funding, historic properties must be listed as National Historic Landmarks or at the national level of significance in the National Register of Historic Places, and a case must be made for a collection’s national significance. For more information about the Save America’s Treasures grant program, visit http://go.nps.gov/sat.
Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov by December 10, 2019 (11:59 pm, Eastern Time). Application instructions and materials for both types of projects are available through Grants.gov.
Museum Assessment Program (MAP)
Since its inception, the Museum Assessment Program (MAP) has helped more than 5,000 small and mid-sized museums of all types strengthen their operations, plan for the future, and meet field-wide standards.
Your help in sharing the availability and benefits of MAP with your members is critical to our collective efforts to strengthen the field. We invite you to use the following messages to share the exciting developments coming to MAP and promote the upcoming deadline.
AAM is now accepting applications for our next MAP class, including for two new MAP assessment types: Board Leadership and Education & Interpretation. The deadline to submit an online application is December 1, 2019.
We welcome applications from all states, museum types and sizes! We are particularly interested in reaching these states: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Georgia, Tennessee, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, and Indiana; and specialty museum types such as science museums; children’s museums; gardens/arboretums; and tribal, ethnic, and culture-specific museums.
Learn more here: https://www.aam-us.org/programs/accreditation-excellence-programs/museum…
Everyone can benefit from a healthy garden, especially butterflies. If your organization is looking for a way to build a beautiful garden, check out this list of garden grants!
Aviva Community Fund – supporting initiatives that bring people together to create change within their community (community gardens included)
Canada Post Community Foundation – supporting registered charities, local initiatives and community or school programs that benefit children
ConocoPhillips Canada – community investment program
Learning for a Sustainable Future – grants awarded to schools but they can partner with local groups
Suncor – supports non-profit activities and events through sponsorships and non-charitable donations: financial assistance, in-kind contributions, product donations and event sponsorships.
Whole Foods School Garden Grants – United States and Canada
Whole Kids Foundation – United States and Canada
Big Lottery Fund: Awards for All – funds small, community-based projects across the UK.
Ernest Cook Trust – grants to registered charities, schools and not-for-profit organisations wishing to encourage young people’s interest either in the countryside and the environment, the arts (in the broadest sense), or in science, or aiming to raise levels of literacy and numeracy.
California Fertilizer Foundation – funding to California’s public and private elementary, middle and high schools for continuation and/or implementation of in- and after-school garden programs.
Captain Planet Foundation – grants for schools and organizations
Donald Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant – grants & scholarships to support herb education through; elementary school education (in the form of a living herb garden); consumer goods research & development; college students pursuing higher education; and a variety of regional unit scholarships
Earth Savers Club Grants – $250 mini-grants to youth driven environmental projects. Only youth ages 5-25 may be able to apply.
Fiskars’ Project Orange Thumb – cash, garden tools and materials to help support community garden goals across North America.
Fruit Tree Planting Foundation – a program that brings fruit tree orchards to schoolyards so students can improve the quality of the air and water while creating a source of tasty snacks for decades to come (projects outside U.S.A. considered).
Grants for Gardens – Annie’s offers Grants for Gardens donations to schools and other educational programs that help build school gardens.
Illinios Department of Natural Resources – teachers, nature center personnel and youth group leaders in Illinios may apply.
Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant Program – small monetary grants to schools, nature centers, and other non-profit and not-for-profit places of learning in the United States with a site available for a stewardship project.
National Gardening Association – school garden grants
National Garden Bureau – grants for therapeutic gardens
Project Learning Tree – habitat restoration, watershed improvement, school gardens, outdoor classrooms, recycling and energy conservation.
ReTree Nebraska – available to groups and communities for community tree planting and green space enhancement in Nebraska
Scotts Miracle-Gro Grants – awarded to local communities to help bring edible gardens, flower gardens and public green spaces to neighborhoods across the United States.
Sow it Forward – for nonprofit causes or organizations (schools, 501c3s, food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, senior programs, etc.) interested in starting or expanding food garden projects that are of general benefit to their community.
Western Growers Foundation – grants for Arizona and California schools
Whole Foods School Garden Grants – United States and Canada
Whole Kids Foundation – United States and Canada
Examples of how some communities have used garden grants to build a community garden greenhouse
Community gardens create a wonderful space where neighbors and families can spend time outdoors, get good exercise and good food, and, most importantly, connect with each other. They also provide access to gardening for people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to nurture a seed from start to harvest. Sure pots on windowsills or in patios can bring the fun handful of cherry tomatoes, but there is something about putting a shovel in the ground and growing an entire row of beans that is ultimately satisfying.
When growing in a group garden the culmination of everyone’s individual knowledge comes to bear. Now a few years of gardening experience multiplies into many decade’s worth. The collective patchwork of plots creates a feast for the eyes and gardeners help motivate each other to get out there and take advantage of the season. We obviously can’t say enough great things about community gardens and are excited to be a part of both community and educational garden projects.
If you have your own garden and don’t have time to nurture another garden plot, but you’d like to have more community in your gardening lifestyle, the best thing to do is join a local garden club. For a directory of local garden clubs you can check out the Garden Club of America
The popularity of community gardens has waxed and waned over the centuries, but regardless, they’ve always been around. Some city community gardens in the United States are over 30 years old. If you are looking to join a community garden you can start searching on the American Community Gardening Association directory: To find a group of people to start a community garden with we recommend finding a local garden club to connect with (see link to the Garden Club of America directory above). If you are already part of a garden or are looking to start one with some friends funding is available for projects such as yours. The ACGA offers grants (http://communitygarden.org/index.php ) and websites such as www.kickstarter.com allow you to start fundraising on your own.
Many community gardens are grown exclusively for donations to help families in need. The Harvest Center in Woodland Park, CO boosts around a hundred members and donates hundreds of pounds of food a year to families in need. To read more about their efforts visit:
Here at Growing Spaces we host two community gardens. We have a Growing Dome garden where staff tend and work their very own beds and we host a Growing Dome garden for the Pagosa Springs Nurturing Family Center where families in need can come to have the experience of gardening and can harvest food to bring home. Read more at:
Pagosa Springs Community and Educational Greenhouses
We’d love to know more about your community garden and we may even feature it in a future article. Please post a comment below telling us about your community garden and make sure to include a link to any photos, videos, social media pages or webpages about the garden.
For a full list of school, non-profit and community garden grants see our list here.
Or to see opportuntties to donate to school, community or non-profit garden greenhouse funraisers see our list here.
Grant Opportunities for School and Youth Garden Programs
We know finding the financial resources to plant and maintain a youth garden is one of the biggest obstacles educators and volunteers face, so in addition to providing our own grant programs, here is a list of some additional grant opportunities that support youth garden programs. Please note, we are not directly affiliated with any of these grant programs, so please visit their websites for full details and application instructions.
Youth Garden Grant – Any nonprofit organization, public or private school, or youth program in the United States or US Territories planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply.
Budding Botanist – Open to Title 1 public and private schools in the US, the Budding Botanist grant will help our youngest citizens learn about plants, explore their world and inspire them to take care of the life they discover in their local ecosystems.
Carton 2 Garden – Open to public and private schools, contest winners will be selected based on their implementation of an innovative garden creation featuring creative and sustainable uses for repurposed milk and juice cartons.
Gro More Good Grassroots Grant – The Gro More Good Grassroots Grant presented by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and KidsGardening is designed to bring the life-enhancing benefits of gardens to communities across the United States. Grants will be awarded to schools and non-profit groups across the country for impactful, youth-focused garden projects.
American Heart Association Teaching Gardens – The American Heart Association works with schools to find local sponsors to help fund the installation of raised bed gardens in schools.
Annie’s Garden Funder™ on CrowdRise – Annie’s Garden Funder is a tool to help schools set up a fundraiser through CrowdRise to fund school garden programs.
Annie’s Grants for Gardens – Annie’s Grants support new and existing school garden programs.
The Bee Cause Grant – This grant provides honey bee observation hives to schools and receives requests on a rolling basis.
Big Green – Big Green offers funding for low-income schools to install Learning Gardens in targeted locations. A list of school districts eligible to apply can be found on their website.
Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program – Bonnie’s provides free mega-cabbage plants to 3rd grade teachers who want to participate. Students grow the cabbages and submit pictures and measurements of their harvest to be considered for a $1,000 scholarship.
Captain Planet Foundation, Project Learning Garden – Offering many different types of environmental education grants, Captain Planet supports garden programs through Project Learning Garden grants that provide garden supplies and a mobile cooking cart.
The Donald Samull Classroom Herb Garden Grant – The Herb Society of America offers grants to elementary schools to support the planting of an outdoor herb garden.
Fiskars Project Orange Thumb Grants – Project Orange Thumb provides grants to school and community gardens.
Greenworks Grants – Project Learning Tree offers annual GreenWorks! grants up to $1,000 to schools and youth organizations for environmental service-learning projects that link classroom learning to the real world. To be eligible, applicants must have attended a PLT workshop, either in-person or online, that provides training, lesson plans, and other resources to help integrate these projects and environmental education into your curriculum or youth programs.
National Head Start Association Gro More Garden Grants- The National Head Start Association with support from The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation provides grants to Head Start organizations aiming to increase both students’ and their families’ appreciation and understanding for healthy foods and nutrition through garden programs.
KaBOOM! Playground Grants – KaBOOM! offers grants and consulting assistance to improve play areas at schools. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and filled as opportunities arise.
Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools – Through this program, schools can apply to receive a salad bar in their cafeteria. Applications are received year round and filled as funds become available.
Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants – Offering a spring and fall grant cycle, Lowe’s Toolbox for Education Grants funds a wide range of projects for schools, including support for gardening programs.
National Wildlife Federation Trees for Wildlife – NWF offers free native trees for restoration projects and community events planned in coordination with local NWF partners.
Nature Works Everywhere – The Nature Conservancy offers grants to schools for projects that involve students in developing a nature-based, green infrastructure solution to an environmental challenge in their community including school gardens.
Seed Money – A Maine-based 501c3 nonprofit that is helping public food gardens to start and thrive by offering them grants, access to crowdfunding and technical assistance with garden planning.
Seeds of Change® Grant Program – An annual grant program awarding school and community gardens focused on sustainability and health education.
Shade Structure Grant Program – From the American Academy of Dermatology, the Shade Structure Grant provides funding to install permanent shade structures for youth programs. Applicants must collaborate with a local dermatologist and implement a sun safety program.
Sponsor-a-Hive Award – The Sponsor-A-Hive program offered by The Honeybee Conservancy provides bees and equipment to help people safely set up, maintain, and observe on-site bee sanctuaries at schools, community gardens, and green spaces across the United States. Award winners will also receive a Teacher’s Kit to help with program implementation.
Tractor Supply Company Grants for Growing – Available for FFA Chapters, this grant offers funding to schools for starting and expanding agricultural projects.
Wild Ones Lorrie Otto Seeds for Education Grant – Wild Ones offers funding and plants to schools for development of learning spaces featuring native plants and focused on environmental education.
Whole Kids Foundation Garden Grants – In partnership with FoodCorp, Whole Kids Foundation offers a number of garden grant to support new or existing edible garden programs including a School Garden Grant, Extended Learning Garden Grant (for gardens not on school grounds), Honey Bee Grant, School Salad Bar Grant, Healthy Kids Innovation Grant, and Canadian Farm to School Grant.