State Park Connections Application
Applications are available here. Please review the criteria below.
Each year the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation awards approximately 25 to 30 small grants ranging from $500-$2,500 to local, regional, or statewide conservation organizations; nonprofit organizations; community volunteer groups; State Parks and Natural Areas; “Friends” groups; and city/ county agencies to help stimulate the planning, design, and development of greenway and trail projects, improvements, or enhancements.
Recipients are required to match the grant award with cash donations or in-kind contributions such as volunteer labor, donated services, or materials. This ensures funds are leveraged and respond to specific needs in the community.
Who Can Apply
Local, regional, or statewide conservation groups; youth groups; school clubs; community groups; state parks; city or county agencies; or parks and recreation professionals.
People of all ages and from all walks of life benefit from the State Park Connections program. Greenways and trails improve communities by not only providing recreation and transportation opportunities, but also by positively influencing economic and community development. Program benefits include:
- Stimulating the planning, design, and development of greenways and trails in communities across Tennessee;
- Leveraging additional money for conservation projects in local communities;
- Funding critical needs in parks omitted due to budget cuts and restraints;
- Strengthening local economies;
- Making communities better places to live by preserving and creating open spaces;
- Creating new opportunities for outdoor recreation;
- Encouraging physical fitness and healthy lifestyles;
- Protecting the environment; and
- Preserving significant cultural and historical areas.
Use of Grant Awards
Grants may be used for all appropriate expenses needed to complete a greenway or trail project including:
- Design activities
- Developing brochures and maps
- Interpretive displays or signage
- Planning a bike path
- Legal assistance
- Bridges, boardwalks, or overlook decks
- Ecological assessments
- Trail enhancements and maintenance
- Master plans for greenways/trails
- Making trails, ramps, or decks accessible for all people regardless of abilities
- Other creative projects
Grants may not be used for academic research, general institutional support, lobbying or other political activities.
Grant recipients are selected by a volunteer judging panel based on the following criteria:
- Importance of the project to creating local greenways or trails to a nearby State Park, Natural Area, or other public land;
- Demonstrated community support for the project;
- Extent to which the grant will result in matching funds or other support from public or private sources;
- Capacity of the organization to complete the project; and
- Likelihood of tangible results.
Priority will be given to projects that protect and/or use native plants as well as the removal of exotic species.
Partnerships/ Match Requirement
Partnerships with local, regional or statewide organizations that encourage volunteer labor or other support are strongly encouraged. A match of cash, volunteer labor, or in-kind contribution is required.
Awards range from $500-$2,500 per applicant to approximately 30 entities.
How to Apply
Submit your proposal on three typed pages or less. Please number your answers and include the following:
- Applicant information. Your name, title, organization name, address, phone and fax.
- Describe your organization. Are you a public agency or non-profit; year founded; mission, current year’s budget.
- Describe your project. Include location; what specific tasks you will accomplish; when will you complete your project?
- Describe how this project meets the criteria of the grant program.
- Describe the involvement and support of other community groups, public officials, agencies, etc. with the project.
- What is the budget for this project? Amount requested? What other funding sources will be used? Specify in-kind contributions to include volunteer hours, services, donated equipment, etc.
- Describe major projects or accomplishments over last two years.
- Attach supporting material: Proof of 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, and letter(s) of support from project partner(s). If project is on public land, attach letter of support from land manager.
- Grant recipients must provide a report within one year, documenting how the grant money was used and the results. Include all written and/or audio visual materials that mention or relate to the project.