Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Friends of Dane County Parks Grant Program

Scenic view of blue skies and a prairie blooming with wildflowers

The Friends Grant Program was created in the 2020 County Budget and provides matching funds to Friends groups and other nonprofit organizations to implement capital improvements on Dane County parkland. Grants will fund up to 75% of the total project costs and can range from $3,000 - $18,750.  All grants must be matched 25% with cash. The 2022 grant period will open January 4, 2022 and will have an initial review after February 21, 2022. After that date, applications will continue to be accepted and will be reviewed as they are received and grants will be awarded on a rolling basis through 2022 as funding allows.

We have partnered with the Dane County Environmental Council to simplify and improve the grant process. With one application you can apply to multiple grant programs.


Who Can Apply

To apply for a grant, an entity must:

  • Have 501c3 status
  • Abide by all county rules, polices and guidelines
  • Have previously worked with Dane County Parks

Eligible Projects

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 or concept must be identified in a master plan, if applicable
  • Projects must be approved by Dane County Park staff
  • Organization must have the capacity to manage and implement the project
  • Only 1 grant application can be submitted per organization/park property

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

  • Trail construction
  • Habitat restoration and perennial plantings
  • Signage (interpretive, kiosk panels)
  • Tree planting
  • Food systems
  • Storage structures (storage structures cannot become buildings)

Projects that are Not Eligible

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 materials
  • Projects on private lands
  • Vehicles, trailers, equipment or hand tools
  • Are for private use or benefit
  • Acquisition of land or easements
  • Other projects may be deemed ineligible upon review

Available Funding

$100,000 is available for the program.  The standard grant amount will be up to 75% of the project costs with a maximum grant award of $18,750 and a minimum grant award of $3,000.  All grants must be matched with cash.

Eligible Expenses and Match    

Eligible expenses for projects include construction materials and contracted services.  Acceptable match includes cash (including donations and grants for private foundations), and state or federal grants.  In-kind services will not be accepted as match, such as donated labor, materials or supplies.

How to Apply

Follow the instructions on the Dane County Environmental Council webpage to apply for all this grant program and two others at the same time.

Staff will review the applications and recommend projects to the Dane County Park Commission for consideration.  If you have questions, contact:

Joleen Stinson
Deputy Parks Director
(608) 422-0657