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Resources for Community Facility Development

  • USDA Rural Development Office: They have grants for community facilities.  They also offer direct and guaranteed loans for building community facilities.
  • State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Open Space, Land Acquisition and Development Grants.  This is a grant in aid program designed for communities who wish to acquire and/or develop land for recreational uses.  Swimming pools and community centers qualify for funding under this program.
  • Illinois Department of Natural Resources: Illinois Trails Program: they fund the development of a variety of recreational trails.
  • Simplified Municipal Telecommunications Tax: This enables municipalities to impose a tax on the sale and use of a variety of telecommunications equipment and services. The village of St. Joseph, IL, voted to apply this tax to cellular phone equipment and service. They are using the revenue to fund parks and recreation.
  • Kresge Foundation:  They offer grants for facility development, healthy community partnerships, developing healthy environments and more.
  • American Hiking Society: They have grants to help fund the development of recreation trails.
  • Rails-to-Trails Conservancy: They provide reports and information on the value and importance of trails and greenways. They also have a Trail-Building Toolbox and a Trail-Building Service which offer referrals and information for individuals and/or organizations that seek more local assistance with trail development in local communities.
  • Federal Transportation Enhancements Grants: This program addresses bicycle and pedestrian accommodations that are made with road improvements and other transportation projects. For more information, and for state-specific information go to
  • Walk with Ease: Offered as a self-guided course or in a community setting, it provides evidence based, health promotion programs for people with arthritis.

Resources for Community Recreation and Park Programs

  • National Recreation and Park Association: They maintain a list of government and foundation grants in the areas of health, children/families, natural resources and other recreation and parks related areas
  • The Allstate Foundation: They provide grant funding for recreation and parks in the U.S.  They have a record of giving in Illinois, since they have a major headquarters office outside of Chicago.
  • National Football League in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC): NFL Youth Football Fund Grassroots Program to Support Community and School Football Field Improvements
  • Retirement Research Foundation: They fund projects in the Midwest only. This foundation is headquartered in Chicago and gives generously in the Chicago area.
  • Dr. Scholl Foundation:  They make grants in Illinois for youth, individuals with disabilities and older adults.  They have a history of funding private non-profit and public recreation/parks organizations.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: They make grants to improve the health and health care of Americans.  Last year they granted $1.2 Billion.  They have grant programs and allow organizations to submit unsolicited grants under several subject headings.  The one that fits older adults well is: Vulnerable Populations.
  • Active Options:  Developed by the Foothills Park and Recreation District in suburban Denver, Colorado, this program was researched and documented in the form of a “How to” program guide for developing wellness programs for older adults.
  • General Mills Grants: During fiscal year 2013, the General Mills Foundation distributed grants and matching gifts totaling nearly $26.9 million. General Mills Foundation awards grants for hunger and nutrition wellness initiatives such as Champions for Healthy Kids, a program to support organizations that promote healthy, active lifestyles in children.
  • State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants: One hundred $1,000 grants, funded by the State Farm Companies Foundation, are available from Youth Service America for teachers, youth (ages 5-25), and school-based service-learning coordinators to implement service-learning projects for National Youth Service Day. State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grants enable youth and educators to bring the positive benefits of service-learning to more young people across America. Service-learning is a teaching method that combines meaningful service with curriculum or program-based learning. Schools and organizations use service-learning as a tool to help youth build stronger academic skills, foster civic responsibility, and develop leadership skills.
  • Captain Planet Foundation Grants: The Captain Planet Foundation wishes to fund community environmental grants. The Captain Planet Foundation funds and supports hands-on environmental projects for children and youth. Projects funded by the Captain Planet Foundation must promote an understanding of environmental issues, focus on hands-on involvement, involve children and young adults 6-18 (elementary through high school), promote interaction and cooperation within the group, help young people develop planning and problem-solving skills, include adult supervision, and commit to follow-up communication with the Foundation.
  • Youth Venture Seed Grants: Youth Venture is giving young people (ages 12-20) the opportunity to do something about an issue dear to their hearts. The national nonprofit provides them with the tools necessary to start their own clubs, organizations or businesses that give back to their communities. Grant awardees will receive a seed grant of up to $1,000 to start a venture and will be given access to scholarships, awards, special conference invitations, media opportunities and a national network of active young people. Applicants must submit an application, present a plan and meet specific Youth Venture requirements.
  • Coca-Cola Foundation: The Coca-Cola Foundation supports initiatives that encourage healthy active living.

General Funding and Grant Seeking/Writing Resources

  • Candid: They have a large database that can be searched by keyword and several grant indexes useful for identifying prospective foundations to approach. Several Illinois locations have cooperating collections: Carbondale Public Library, Rock Island Public Library, Evanston Public Library, Donors Forum of Chicago, Non-Profit Resource Center at the University of Illinois Springfield. You can access their powerful database through these collections for free.
  • Forefront: Forefront offers a knowledge center with free access to reports, templates, and other grant resources.
  • Guidestar: You can obtain information regarding foundations and non-profits from this website.
  • National Recreation and Park Association: They offer a grants page with announcements of park and recreation-related grants available.
  • Illinois Department of Human Services: They have a Grant Alerts System (GAS) for funding opportunities, grant writing tips and more.
  • Illinois Association of Park Districts: Grant announcements page. They have a Power Play Grant Program that provides grants small seed grants for the development of after-school programs.