Portland Parks Small Grants Program
Portland Parks Foundation offers a small grants program to support community organizations working to create or care for public parks and park programs, community gardens and natural areas. The program is founded on a generous bequest from Nancy Hebb Freeman, an artist, hiker and lover of Portland parks.
Please see below for details on eligibility, deadlines, grant award levels, and the grant application. Also, please feel free to call or email PPF for more information—we’re happy to hear from you. You will find contact information below. Here is a list of previously funded projects.
Projects for funding consideration may include organizational development, programming, events, transportation, challenge grants or other imaginative ideas.
PPF is especially interested in projects that further develop an organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission. Grant applicants may seek to stabilize or strengthen their operations through a specific activity, including, but not limited to:
- Building and diversifying revenue sources
- Planning or updating communications, marketing and outreach
- Improving and diversifying volunteer recruitment, training and retention
- Strengthening governance, leadership or volunteer expertise
- Developing and implementing a fundraising plan
Competitive projects will clearly align with PPF’s mission to ensure a thriving and accessible parks system for a healthy Portland. Preference will be given to projects that promote equitable access for all Portlanders to parks and parks programming, primarily benefitting low-income populations, communities of color, and other historically underserved groups.
Existing Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) Partners and/or Friends Groups that are located within the city of Portland are generally eligible to apply. The applicant organization must have an active governing body, and submit a list of governing members as part of the application. Organizations whose work advances our mission but who do not identify as a Portland Parks & Recreation Partner and/or Friends Group are encouraged to call PPF to discuss potential eligibility.
The following are not eligible for consideration at this time: small capital projects, artwork, beautification projects or other efforts to make enhancements or changes to a park.
Projects that require approval or permits from Portland Parks & Recreation or other government agencies must document approval by the time of application to be eligible for consideration. For example, projects that involve ticketed events in a park or scheduling of a work party are likely to require PP&R review and approval. See the PP&R guidelines at:
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/38280, or call 503-823-2525
If you have a question about this or whether another agency might need to be contacted, please call or email us.
Nonprofit organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status may apply under the auspices of a sponsoring organization if the sponsor meets the eligibility requirements. Occasionally PPF may serve as the sponsor. Please contact PPF prior to initiating a grant proposal to discuss these sponsorships.
Organizations that receive a grant must wait at least 12 months to apply again.
PPF is NOT likely to fund:
- Projects that propose park enhancements or changes to a park, e.g., planting, artwork, small capital projects
- Projects that are initiated and implemented by an individual rather than an organization
- Projects that require more than 12 months from the award notification date to be completed, e.g., if awarded a grant in August 2017, the project must be completed by August 2018
- Catering for volunteers-only events
PPF has limited grant funds to award, in amounts usually ranging from $250 to $2,500. PPF plans to award grants in two cycles each year beginning in March. Please download the application guidelines and cover sheet here.
All program expenses and activities must take place during the grant period that you define in your proposal. All grant activities must be completed within 12 months of award notification.
Grant Program Timetable
March 1 - March 30 (deadline)
September 1 - September 30 (deadline)
Within 8 weeks after proposal deadlines
Within 12 months of award notification
Within 60 days of completed project
Proposals are accepted two months each year:
Award decisions announced:
Funded programs completed:
Funded programs report to PPF:
To apply, please submit:
- A cover sheet (download here)
- A list of governing body members along with their email and phone contacts
- 501(c)(3) tax determination letter (if applicable)
- Letter of project approval from PP&R or associated agency (if applicable)
- A short letter (1,000 words maximum—approximately 2 pages) that addresses the following
- What is the need you propose to meet with a PPF grant? What is the evidence of need?
- What’s your timetable for completing the project?
- How does your project align with PPF’s mission to ensure a thriving and accessible parks system for a healthy Portland?
- How has your community supported the proposed project to date? Who will oversee the project? If applicable, how will the project engage new volunteers or new community partners?
- How will you know your project has been a success? Describe 2-3 measurable results of the project.
- How much will the project cost? If there are proposed sources of support besides PPF, what are they? If appropriate, please provide a short budget summary itemizing revenue and expenses, and indicate what the requested grant funds will cover.
How To Submit Your Application
You may e-mail or mail your cover sheet, governing board list, and letter. If your project requires clearance or permits from Portland Parks & Recreation or another government agency, please attach documentation of approval.
Mail Applications to:
Portland Parks Foundation
1500 SW First Avenue, Suite 760
Portland, OR 97201
Email Applications to:
If you e-mail the application, please place the following information in your subject line: PPF Grant (month of application)—organization name.
Please do not submit additional descriptive materials or letters of support; we’ll contact you if additional information is needed.
Applicants will be notified no longer than eight weeks after the grant deadline.
CONTACT INFORMATION: Kamla Hurst, Development & Program Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, (503) 445-0994.