Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Translate

Friends of Dane County Parks Grant Program

Dane County Parks is pleased to offer several opportunities for grant funding throughout the year. Our current offerings include:

  • Capital Grant
  • Foundation for Dane County Parks Collaborative Grant

Access the grant announcements/applications by clicking on the blue buttons; additional details regarding each opportunity can be found in the sections below the buttons.

 

Capital Grant

Capital Grants will fund up to 75% of the total project costs and can range from $2,000 - $18,750. All Capital Grants must be matched 25% with cash. Applications are accepted throughout the year and grants are awarded on a rolling basis as long as funding is available.

To apply for a Capital Grant, an entity must:

  • Have current 501(c)3 non-profit status
  • Abide by all county rules, polices, and guidelines
  • Have previously worked with Dane County Parks
  • Have a project/program that will occur on Dane County Park property
  • Have current Commercial General Liability insurance at a limit of not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence
  • Have the capacity to implement the project on their own, including securing permits (if required)
  • Submit only one (1) grant application per organization/park property per year
  • Close any previously awarded Friends Capital Improvement Grants before another application is accepted

Grants will be awarded for capital projects on county parkland. Capital improvements are generally defined as permanent changes that have a life expectancy of at least ten years. Projects must be far along in the planning process and meet the following minimum eligibility requirements to be considered for funding:

  • Total project cost may not exceed $25,000 for projects that involve construction or paving
  • Project must be consistent with the Dane County Parks and Open Space Plan, park master plan, and/or park work plan
  • Projects must be pre-approved by Dane County Park staff

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Trail construction
  • New habitat restoration (not maintenance of an existing restored area)
  • New perennial plantings
  • Tree planting
  • Infrastructure development for existing community gardens on parkland
  • Mobile storage structures (storage structures cannot become buildings)
  • Interpretive signage - design and fabrication are eligible expenses and working with a professional designer is required

Grants will NOT be awarded for the following projects:

  • Buildings or other construction projects that exceed $25,000 in total cost, which must be bid out through the County
  • Projects that the organization can’t manage and implement directly
  • Plans or studies, brochures or printed outreach materials
  • Projects on non-Dane County Park land
  • Projects for personal/private benefit
  • Salary or honorariums
  • Vehicles, machinery, trailers, equipment or hand tools
  • Memorial bench installation
  • Acquisition of land or easements
  • Other projects may be deemed ineligible upon review

Eligible expenses for projects include construction materials and contracted services. Donations of cash and grants from private foundations, state or federal grants are acceptable match. In-kind services are NOT accepted as match, such as donated labor, materials, supplies or discounts from vendors.

Complete the Capital Grant Application (PDF) and email it to dane-parks@danecounty.gov. Staff will review the applications and recommend projects to the Dane County Park Commission for consideration. The review and approval process may take a few months.

If you have questions, contact:

Lael Pascual
Engagement & Visitor Services Manager
Dane County Parks
pascual.lael@danecounty.gov
608-220-7509

The Friends Capital Grant Program was created in the 2020 Dane County Budget and provides matching funds to Friends groups and other nonprofit organizations to implement capital improvements on Dane County parkland.

 

Foundation for Dane County Parks Collaborative Grant

This grant funding is available for Dane County Parks Friend Groups and partner organizations to lead educational programs, implement small projects, and purchase equipment for volunteer workdays. This collaborative grant program can fund a full or partial project/program between $250-$2,000. The 2024 grant application period will run from February 15, 2024 to April 1, 2024. Email notification of grant awards are expected to be sent mid-May 2024.

To apply for a Collaborative Grant, an entity must:

  • Abide by all county rules, polices, and guidelines
  • Have previously worked with Dane County Parks
  • Have a project/program that will occur on Dane County Park property
  • A current 501(c)3 status is not required
  • Not be a private, for-profit business
  • Submit only one (1) grant application per organization/park property per grant cycle
  • Close (final report submitted) previously awarded Collaborative Grants before another application is accepted
  • Have the capacity to manage and implement the project/program on their own

Grants will be awarded for projects or programs on county parkland. Projects meet the following minimum eligibility requirements to be considered for funding:

  • Total grant request for projects/ programs must be between $250-$2,000
  • Projects must be pre-approved by Dane County Park staff

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Public Educational Programming
    • Program supplies or materials
    • Transportation to make parks and park events more accessible
    • Advertising flyers or handouts
    • Honorariums
  • Tools and equipment to be used for volunteer workdays
  • Creation or printing of organizational materials, such as membership brochures
  • Capacity building projects, such as website development

Grants will NOT be awarded for the following projects:

  • Park Map/Park Brochure design, creation or printing
  • Projects on non-Dane County Park land
  • Staff salaries
  • Memorial bench installation
  • Projects for private use or benefit
  • Acquisition of land or easements
  • Other projects may be deemed ineligible upon review

There is no match required for this grant. This grant may be used as partial funding for an activity or project that fits the criteria. 

Complete the Collaborative Grant Application (PDF) and email it to dane-parks@danecounty.gov by April 1, 2024. You may also mail your completion application to:  Dane County Parks, 4318 Robertson Rd, Madison, WI  53714.

The Foundation for Dane County Parks has now raised more than $800,000 establishing an endowment fund to support Dane County Parks. Beginning in 2019, funds from the endowment distribution have been awarded to friend groups and other partner organizations to enhance Dane County Parks through volunteerism, education, and interpretation.

In the summer of 2022, the Dane County Environmental Council was sunset, and the Environmental Council’s Community Partners grant program funding was transferred to Dane County Parks. In the spring of 2023, Dane County Parks used this funding to set-up the mini-grant program. To provide more impactful funding to benefit the parks and to improve efficiencies for organizations applying for funding, the Foundation for Dane County Parks and Dane County Parks have combined available funds to offer a collaborative annual grant program for friend groups and partner organizations.