grants and funding

How to get funding for your playground project

What is a playground grant?

Could you use a hand taking your playground project to the next level? Luckily, grants are available to give your budget a boost!

A grant is financial aid gifted from an organization (typically a government program, nonprofit, foundation, or corporation) that allocates funds for community projects, like your playground. It’s simply a gift! There’s never a need to repay.

Applying for grants may seem like a big hill to climb, but our team is ready to help you through the process. Our experts are here for you every step of the way on your funding journey.

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Who can apply for a playground grant?

Are you in the process of building a playground? If so, then you qualify! Grants are available for a variety of spaces. Whether you’re looking to build your playground for a school, local park, or nonprofit, the funding opportunities are there! Keep in mind some grants will have specific requirements, and different stakeholders will be relevant, depending on the project. In the next section, we’ll guide you through:

  • How to start your search for funding

  • How to approach the grant application process

  • Writing a winning application: Best practices to make your playground dreams come true

How do I know if the donor is a match for my playground grant application?

Explore each grant pool closely and decide what’s most relevant to your project. Make sure that grants apply to playgrounds. Then, do a screening and evaluate each proposal based on these categories.

1. Local Prospects

Start your search close to home! Local grants often provide more value to your project as it serves as a reinvestment back into the community. Also, a match in funds isn’t typically required. A good place to start your search is with the largest city in your area.

2. National Prospects

It’s time to think bigger; now you’re ready to apply for national grants. These tend to have larger budgets and provide significant support. Keep in mind these grants may require fund matching, which may determine your overall budget. This is why you’ll want to acquire national grants as a supplement to your local funding opportunities.

Opening of the first KOMPAN Greenline playground in Randers, Denmark

3. Fundraising

A fundraising campaign is a viable option for securing those final funds. Residents, entrepreneurs, and businesses are often invested in their neighborhood and open to contributing to your fundraiser. They may also be interested in showing additional financial support by putting their name on a memorial plaque or sponsored playground section.

Playground grant application process

Our team of playground experts have helped many communities, schools, and daycare centers with the grant application process. The essential takeaways from their years of experience can be broken down into six steps:

1. Get the Experts on Board

We recommend getting your local KOMPAN playground consultant involved in the process as early as possible. Our vast knowledge of the grant application process and can often guide you in the right direction in a timely manner. We can assist you with the fundamentals of the application, such as project visualization and cost breakdown. We also recommend involving the true play experts, the children, and hearing what they've got to say.

2. Set the Application Team

Having a team around you for support during the application process is highly recommended. If you are applying for a playground grant for schools, getting your parent-teacher organization involved as the core team can be beneficial. We've learned from experience that nonprofit organizations are more likely to secure funding. Therefore, it's crucial to have them along for the application process.

3. Agree on Budget and Design

Together, we decide the budget and design of your project. Your consultant will help you determine a budget that's both realistic and ambitious enough for the playground of your dreams. Many grants would like to see the playground project design and a breakdown of costs. We're here to help you with both.

4. Start Networking

Networking is a great way to form relationships to identify and create business opportunities, like applying for a playground grant. More stakeholders than you know can help fund your project, especially within your local community. Get in touch with local business associations or families and parent groups in the area, as they can all participate in the grant process.

5. Sign-off and Apply

You've decided your budget and have all the details in place. Now, your playground project is ready to be presented to the stakeholders for the final sign-off. Once approved, you can start applying for grants. Make sure to go for multiple kinds of funds, as both the size and requirements of the grants will vary.

large wooden castle playground with a slide inspiration

6. Receive grant money - Let’s go!

Applying multiple times for grants is not uncommon, so remember all good things come to those who wait! You've done the research and the work, so a playground grant should be on its way, and soon after, the playground of your dreams!

Six tips for writing a playground grant application

No playground grant application is the same, but there are some common tips on submitting the best application possible and making the process go smoothly. Learn from our experience and with these best practices:

  1. Start early: The application process is time consuming, and there's a lot you must prepare before sending out applications. So, start early to ensure you have time to gather all the needed information.

  2. Know the fund you’re applying for: Read and follow the grant requirements thoroughly. This includes ensuring that the fund is willing to give grants to playground projects and that the grant is eligible in your district.

  3. Align your cause to theirs: In continuation of no. 2, align your cause with the funds. If they want to create healthier communities or enhance the community’s outdoor activity areas, discuss that specifically in relation to your project. Highlight how the playground will benefit your local community so stakeholders know how their engagement is beneficial.

  4. Know your audience and their needs: What does your own community or school need? Knowing and answering these questions is a vital part of the application. Showcase the community is fully behind your project and that your playground has their support.

  5. Be specific and know your details: Write in a clear and professional voice. Learn the details of your project; include visuals of the layout, breakdown of costs and the timeline for the project. When the fundraising process begins, donations for a specific playground product might be more straightforward. That's why we recommend including a list of product prices within the overall budget.

  6. Proofread – and proofread again: It’s a good idea to ask someone unfamiliar with the project to read through the application before you submit. Typos can occur and taint an otherwise amazing application.

Remember - You have a good cause! Playgrounds help children develop in many important ways and encourage active, healthier lifestyles. Now go make PLAY happen!

National Listing

7-Eleven Grants

Focus: Schools

Project A-Game is a community outreach program created to provide meaningful youth development opportunities through education and play so children establish a strong foundation that supports their future success.

See more about the grant.

Aegon Transamerica Foundation

Grant applications are accepted throughout the calendar year; however, the year-end deadline is November 1, and applications received after this date will be considered during the following calendar year.

See more about the grant.

Allstate Foundation

Those who volunteer four to sixteen hours with an organisation can earn $500 or $1,000 to support their cause.

See more about the grant.

American Express Grant Program

This program promotes diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforces and communities.

See more about the grant.

The AnnMarie Foundation Awards

Funding is available to elementary, middle, and high schools, preschools, and day-care facilities.

See more about the grant.

Appalachian Regional Commission Grant Program

ARC’s Area Development program relies on a flexible “bottom-up” approach to economic development, empowering Appalachian communities to work with their state governments to design impactful investment opportunities supporting mission and investment priorities.

See more about the grant.

Bank of America Foundation

This foundation aims to build thriving communities by addressing issues fundamental to economic mobility, including workforce development and education, community development, and basic needs.

See more about the grant.

Bank of the West Charitable Investments Prorgam

Nonprofit organisations dedicated to improving quality of life, particularly for low- and moderate-income individuals and communities, should apply for this on average $100,000 grant.

See more about the grant.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives.

See more about the grant.

Campbell Soup Foundation

The foundation works to build and support healthy, thriving communities by providing grants throughout North America.

See more about the grant.

Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP)

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and community-based organisations (CBOs) to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including before-school, after-school, and summer programs for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grant recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting their state’s standards for physical education.

See more about the grant.

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

This organisation funds effort to expand learning opportunities and support for children, particularly those from low‑ and moderate-income communities.

See more about the grant.

Citizens Bank Charitable Grants Program

This program awards nonprofits organisation based in Eastern or Western Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, or Rhode Island that addresses a specific social concern announced during the year.

See more about the grant.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program supports community development activities to build stronger and more resilient communities.

See more about the grant.

Community and Economic Development Program

This program focuses on low-income and small communities with a population of 5,500 or less.

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The Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Division

The organisation provides the National Park Service and local communities across the country with cost-effective, partnership-based support in achieving America’s conservation and outdoor recreation goals. The Congressionally authorised programs that the Conservation and Outdoor Recreation Division oversees provide local and regional communities with technical assistance in conserving lands and waters and developing close-to-home outdoor recreation opportunities.

See more about the grant.

CSX Beyond Our Rails – Giving Gateway

The online application for Community Service Grants is open from Jan. 1 through Dec. 15 each year. Every effort will be made to respond to applications within 30–45 days. Suggested Ranges are $1,000 to $5,000.

See more about the grant.

Darden Restaurants Foundation Grants

These grants focus on those working on sustainability efforts. Amount: $5,000-$100,000

See more about the grant.

The Dekko Foundation Grants

This grant-making is focused on projects that support the healthy development of children from birth to age 18.

See more about the grant.

Entergy’s Open Grants Program

The Entergy Charitable Foundation (ECF) aims to support initiatives that help create and sustain thriving communities. The focus areas for foundation funding are education/workforce development, poverty solutions, and environmental programs.

See more about the grant.

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