Grant Guide

Developing a well-thought out plan, not only ensures a successful project but also assists you in garnering more attention with the grant selection committee.

1. Have a Plan

Plan and develop a funding program based on your mission. Know what you are planning to buy, why you want to buy it, and how much it will cost.

2. Look for Grants

Check out our list of places to find grants, we’ll provide a list below.
Make sure to keep track of the grant’s deadline as well as specific requirements and criteria to be awarded the funds.

3. Start Writing!
Playground grant proposals are more likely to get funded when they focus on the mission and interests of the funding organization. It is important to understand the grantor’s objectives and define how your playground project fits into their mission.
      • Summary: The summary is the first section of the proposal and should briefly describe the problem, solution, timeline and expenses. This is your chance to tell your story and instill the personality of your playground project.
      • Introduction: The introduction includes a brief description and background of the problem, and the purpose and scope of the proposal.
      • Plan of Work: The solution to the problem is laid out in the plan of work section. Include statistics or examples to add credibility. This section also includes a project timeline and measurable outcomes of the project. If anything can be described in greater detail with a chart, it should be referenced here and included in the appendix.
      • Budget: The costs of your project should be thoroughly described under the budget section. Make sure to include any expenses showing how they track back to the outcome of the project.
      • Qualifications and Experience: Describe the qualifications of those carrying out the proposal.
      • Appendixes: Information that is not included in the proposal such as charts, graphics, drawings of your playground design, pictures of kids enjoying specific components from your design, etc. can be included in the appendix.
4. Submit a Grant Application

Applications may require everything from basic organizational information, to explanations of proposed work and financial data. The grant application process can be time consuming so it’s important to start early to meet the application deadline.

5. Wait for Funds to be Awarded

Plan and develop a funding program based on your mission. Know what you are planning to buy, why you want to buy it, and how much it will cost.

* Don’t Forget to Follow Up!

It’s important to cultivate a good relationship with your foundation contacts. Send a thank-you to anyone who lent a helping hand. Keep your contacts up to date on your playground progress, and check on the status of your applications.

  • If you do receive a “no,” try to find out why. Letters from funding sources are notoriously vague.
  • If you do receive a grant, thank them profusely. Send pictures of what their donation bought, invite them to every event and every celebration, and mention their name whenever you can.


Finding Playground Grants

There are many grant programs available, you just have to know where to look for them. There are federal and state programs that award grants for playgrounds. More corporations like Lowe’s, Aetna Foundation, Hasbro, and Walmart also offer grants for park and playground projects.

Where to Look for Grants:
    • GrantWatch for NonProfits
    • KaBOOM!
    • The Miracle League
    • Kiwanis Club
    • Rural Health Information Hub
    • USDA Rural Development
    • The Land & Water Conservation Fund Coalition (LAWCON)
    • U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development
 North Dakota:
    • 2020 Tourism Main Street Expansion Grant Program
    • Agricultural Products Utilization Commission (APUC)
    • Biotechnology Research Grants
    • Bush Foundation Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
    • Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)
    • EDA Build to Scale
    • Early Childhood Education Grant Program
    • Energy Conservation Grants 
    • LAWCON 
    • NDSU Grant Databases 
    • ND Community Foundation 
    • ND Council on the Arts 
    • Operation Intern 
    • Otto Bremer Foundation Grants 
    • Research North Dakota 
    • Workforce Enhancement 
    • Rural Health Information Hub 
    • Garrison Diversion Conservancy District 
    • Department of Natural Resources
 South Dakota:
    • LAWCON
    • SDSU Grant Databases
    • Department of Environment & Natural Resources
    • South Dakota Department of Social Services
    • LAWCON
    • Department of Natural Resources Recreation Grants
    • LAWCON
    • Department of Natural Resources & Conservation
    • Montana State University Grant Database
    • LAWCON
    • Wyoming Game & Fish Department
    • University of Wyoming Grant Database
Additional National grant opportunities:
    • Action for Healthy Kids has provided $6.6 million in grants to schools since 2009. School Grants for Healthy Kids can help your school health team achieve its goal to make every kid healthy and ready to learn.
  •  American Academy of Dermatology Shade Structure Program
    •  The AAD Shade Structure Program awards funds to schools, day-cares, parks, and other non-profits for installing permanent shade structures where children learn and play. Each shade structure award is valued up to $8,000, which includes the cost for shade structure materials and installation. The AAD provides a permanent sign near the shade structure featuring sun-safety tips. The AAD receives support for this program through donations from its members, outside organizations and individuals.
  • American Express
    • Has three divisions of their grant program, one of which includes community service and could be a good fit for the installation of a playground. Grant amounts vary and there is a rolling deadline.
    • ARP ESSER provides a total of nearly $122 billion to States and school districts to help reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students. In addition to ARP ESSER, the ARP Act includes $3 billion for special education, $850 million for the Outlying Areas, $2.75 billion to support non-public schools, and additional funding for homeless children and youth, Tribal educational agencies, Native Hawaiians, and Alaska Natives.

  • Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund
    • The Bridgestone Americas Trust Fund supports a variety of important charities and civic organizations in the United States, particularly in those markets it calls home. While contributions are made to over 150 organizations each year, the Trust Fund focuses on organizations with missions supporting beneficiaries who will benefit from support of education, environment and conservation, and youth development.
  • Coca-Cola Foundation
    • The Coca-Cola Foundation is committed to investing its time, expertise and resources to help develop and maintain vibrant, sustainable and local communities. The Foundation helps keep that commitment every day by partnering with organizations around the globe to support initiatives and programs that respond in a meaningful way to community needs and priorities.
  • Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
    • The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is a private, grant making foundation based in Flint, Michigan. Before submitting a request for funding, the foundation recommends that you review all of the information about the funding programs, funding limitations, and guidelines for organizations located outside the United States. The Mott Foundation funds grants in the United States and, on a limited basis, internationally. While we’re open to new ideas and projects, funding for unsolicited requests is very limited. Faith-based organizations may submit inquiries if the project falls within our guidelines and serves a broad segment of the population.
  • Childhood Obesity and Rapid Response Fund
    • The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the American Heart Association, and a team of experts from across the childhood obesity movement have teamed up through the Childhood Obesity Rapid Response Fund. The mission of the fund is to make effective strategic investments in ongoing state, local, and tribal public policy campaigns in order to increase public policy impact on healthy weight and living among children.
  • Children’s Obesity Fund
    • The Children’s Obesity Fund seeks to educate parents and children about the rising obesity rates in America, reverse the statistics and dangerous trends, and help prevent the next generation from continuing down this alarmingly unhealthy road. The fund would like to give money and support nonprofit organizations who share the goal of eliminating the epidemic of childhood obesity.
  • Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
    • Offers grants for special needs up to $25,000 to support nonprofits addressing the needs of persons living with paralysis, their families and caregivers.
  • Child Welfare Foundation
    • Grants are available to contribute to the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual welfare of children through the dissemination of knowledge about new and innovative organizations and/or their programs designed to benefit youth. Grants must have the potential of helping American children in a large geographic area (more than one state).
  • Cigna Foundation
    • Voices for Healthy Kids is a collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and revere the childhood obesity epidemic. Voices for Healthy Kids Strategic Campaign Fund is awarding grants with a mix of lobbying and non-lobbying resources to support strategic issue advocacy campaigns focused on fighting childhood obesity through state, local, and tribal public policy campaigns.
  • Donors Choose
    • Don’t see a grant that fits your needs? Try posting a project on Public school teachers nationwide are eligible to participate.
  • Ezra Keats Foundation
    • The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation created Mini-Grants: awards of up to $500 given to public schools and public libraries for projects that foster creative expression, working together and interaction with a diverse community. EJK Mini-Grants give educators, whose efforts are often inadequately funded or recognized, a opportunity to design and implement a great program whether a special activity outside the standard curriculum or one that helps meet its goals.
  • Fuel Up to Play 60
    • Funding is available to K-12 schools enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60. The competitive, nationwide funding program can help your school jump-start and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements. Funds can be used to conduct in-school promotions focused on creating a healthier school and to implement Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Plays. Funds can also be used for professional development, nutrition education materials, and physical education equipment and materials.
  • Go! Grants
    • Jump-start more movement at your elementary school with the GO! Grant. $1,000-$5,000 GO! Grants (Mini PEP Grants) support more minutes on the move before, during, and after school through funds and gear for new classroom and playground programs.
  • Fraternal Order of Eagles
    • The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope. The Fraternal Order of Eagles includes nearly 800,000 members and more than 1,500 locations across the United States and Canada.
  • Finish Line Youth Foundation
    • The Youth Foundation is a philanthropic outlet for Finish Line to make a difference in the lives of youth in the communities it serves. To date, the Youth Foundation has awarded more than $19 million in funding to support youth and Special Olympics athletes. The generosity of our customers who donate online and in-store is what enables Finish Line to make an impact in the communities where our customers and employees live, work and play.
  • Kiwanis Club
    • The Kiwanis Children’s Fund provides grants only to Kiwanis family clubs and districts for programs sponsored or supported by the club or district. Other funding requests will not be considered. Grant requests made by an organization on behalf of a Kiwanis club or district will not be considered; requests must come directly from the club or district.
  • KaBOOM!
    • Works with corporate sponsors to bring play areas to communities. You can apply for their grants at any time of the year. KABOOM! offers many grant opportunities in a range of amounts.
  • James M. Cox Foundation
    • The James M. Cox Foundation provides funding for capital campaigns and special projects in communities where Cox Enterprises Inc. does business. The Foundation is concentrating its community support in several priority areas: Conservation and Environment; Early Childhood Education; Empowering Families and Individuals for Success; Health.
  • Humana Foundation
    • The aim of this funding is to support an organization that is focused on initiatives in childhood health – supporting efforts that improve physical activity and nutritional habits of children and families; intergenerational health – fostering shared, healthy activities between generations or active lifestyles – promoting fun, physically active living as a way of life.
  • Hasbro Children’s Fund
    • The Hasbro Children’s Foundation provides funding for programs that work to improve the emotional, mental, and physical health of disadvantaged children. Grants of up to $35,000 go to programs nationally that work in such areas as child abuse and homelessness prevention, among others. Programs that serve children up to age 12 may apply. Applications are accepted year-round from nonprofit organizations.
  • MetLife Foundation
    • MetLife Foundation supports projects to empower people to lead healthy, productive lives and strengthen communities. The Foundation makes grants in health, education, civic affairs and culture. Underlying the Foundation’s programs is a focus on education at all ages and a commitment to increasing access and opportunity. The Healthy Habits program seeks to promote healthy habits and physical fitness for illness prevention, especially among children.
  • Lowe’s
    • Through our support for public education, we’re closing the funding gap facing many schools today. Each year, the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grants program contributes more than $5 million to fund improvements at public schools in the United States. Projects should fall into one of the following categories: technology upgrades, tools for STEM programs, facility renovations and safety improvements. Projects should address a critical need and align with Lowe’s company purpose; to help people love where they live. Toolbox grant requests can range from $2,000 to $100,000. The Foundation provides funding only to 501(c) (3) tax-exempt nonprofit organizations and public agencies in communities where Lowe’s operates stores and distribution centers.
  • Lockheed Martin Foundation
    • Lockheed Martin’s strategic focus areas: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and military and veteran causes, or provide support to address the needs of the communities where our employees live and work.
  • Lego Group
    • The LEGO Community Fund U.S. (LCFUS) seeks to help the Builders of Tomorrow reach their potential by 11 supporting programs benefitting children 0-14, primarily in the areas of learning, creativity or creative problem solving. Supporting programs in U.S. communities where the LEGO Group operates, and gives preference to programs benefitting disadvantaged children.
  • Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times
    • Newman’s Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times (Gannett Government Media Corporation) join together in presenting $200,000 in grants to the most creative military quality of life improvement plans. Every day, service members, Veterans, and their families rise to the challenge of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while facing the unique trials that come with having dedicated their lives in service to our nation.
  • Michael and Susan Dell Foundation
    • The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation’s primary goal is to support and initiate programs that directly serve the needs of children living in urban poverty. Priority is given to initiatives addressing children’s health, education, and micro-finance, as well as initiatives in India and Central Texas that specifically address the needs of children. The Foundation is determined to reverse the trend in childhood obesity by supporting national school-based programs that engage teachers, students and their community in healthy eating choices and physical activity.
  • Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Grant Program
    • National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company have come together to improve access to outdoor play through the Meet Me at the Park Play Spaces Grant Program. Thanks to a $1 million donation from Disney, grant funding is available to provide additional communities with increased access to inclusive play spaces in local parks for children and families. As part of this program, park and recreation agencies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories are invited to share their best ideas on increasing access to inclusive play spaces for children and families in underserved communities. Agencies with the most innovative, scalable and impactful project ideas will receive grants to build their projects. This investment supports NRPA and Disney’s combined goal of providing one million kids and families with greater access to play.
  • US Department of Agriculture and Rural Development
    • This program provides affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a rural area, and does not include private, commercial or business undertakings.
  • The Kresge Foundation
    • Each of our six programs award grants within specific focus areas. Sometimes, when a proposal offers opportunities to advance the goals of multiple programs, our teams will jointly fund the proposal. We encourage prospective applicants to review the Programs section of this website and identify the program that best suits your project. Many of our programs include information about the types of requests that will be competitive. We award single and multi-year grants and provide operating support, project grants and planning grants. Most of our grants span 1-3 years.
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and American Heart Association
    • Voices for Healthy Kids is a new collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and revere the childhood obesity epidemic. Voices for Healthy Kids Strategic Campaign Fund is awarding grants with a mix of lobbying and non-lobbying resources to support strategic issue advocacy campaigns focused on fighting childhood obesity through state, local, and tribal public policy campaigns.
  • Rite Aid Foundation
    • The Rite Aid Foundation is offering funding to nonprofit organizations that focus on health and wellness in the communities in which Rite Aid operates.
  • Youth Service America
    • YSA believes in youth changing the world. Working with young people and their adult mentors, YSA improves communities by increasing the number and diversity of young people serving in substantive roles.
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation
    • The Kellogg Foundation makes grants to organizations that embrace a similar mission of creating communities, systems, and nations in which all children have an equitable and promising future; one in which all children thrive. Our grants will fund programs and projects that support children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.
  • Wal-Mart Foundation
    • It’s our mission to create opportunities so people can live better. We consider it our responsibility to make a positive impact in the communities we serve. Whether it’s through the grants we provide to the thousands of organizations that share our mission or through the inspiring volunteer efforts of Walmart associates, we are passionate about helping people live better. One community at a time.
  • USDA Food and Nutrition Service
    • The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is a voluntary certification initiative established in 2004 to recognize those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.
  • US Department of Education
    • The U.S. Department of Education offers three kinds of grants, discretionary grants, student loans or grants, and formula grants. Discretionary grants are awarded using a competitive process. Formula grants use formulas determined by Congress and has no application process.
If you need additional help planning your playground or would like to discuss your playground dreams, contact our Dakota Playground team at or call us at 701-237-6181.