Funds for Outdoor Program Access for Underserved Communities
The California Department of Parks and Recreation’s Office of Grants and Local Services is accepting applications for the Outdoor Equity Program. There is $57 million available with grant awards ranging from $20,000 to $700,000. Applications are due October 8, 2021.
What is the purpose of this program? The purpose of the Outdoor Equity Program (OEP) is to increase the ability of residents in underserved communities, with an emphasis on students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, foster youth, and students of limited English proficiency, to participate in outdoor experiences at state parks and other public lands.
OEP’s focus is on providing funding for transportation, logistics, program operations, and capacity costs associated with reaching historically underserved urban and rural communities throughout California.
OEP grants will also improve the health and wellness of Californians through new educational and recreational activities, service learning, career pathways, and leadership opportunities that strengthen a connection to the natural world.
Who is eligible to apply? Eligible applicants for the program include:
- Public Agencies: Includes all local, state, and federal agencies. Examples include school districts and other public education agencies, cities and counties, joint powers authorities, open-space authorities, regional open space districts, and other relevant public agencies.
- Non-profits with 501(c)(3) status.
What projects are eligible? Projects must 1) Establish a Community Home Base in an underserved community (that needs access to outdoor programs); and then 2) Organize educational activities in the community and trips from the community home base to natural areas (a location at least five miles from the Community Home Base that is challenging to access by residents).
Activities in the community could include:
- Teaching school students about the community’s environment.
- Taking educational walks in the community to discover nature in action.
- Preparing participants for a natural area trip.
Natural area trips from the Community Home Base could include:
- Traveling to a regional, state, national park, tribal land, river or lake, beach, forest, mountain, or desert area for day or overnight trips within the state.
What is the project period? Applicants can now plan for 3-year or 4-year grant-funded programs. The available $57 million includes $19 million and $38 million from different state fiscal years, so the start of the grant performance periods have a 1-year difference. This means:
- Up to $19 million will be awarded to programs that can be completed within 3 years from spring 2022 grant announcements. “Pre-award planning costs” dating back to July 1, 2020 may be reimbursed for no more than 5% of the grant amount.
- Up to $38 million will be awarded to programs that can be completed within 4 years from spring 2022 grant announcements. “Pre-award planning costs” dating back to July 1, 2021 may be reimbursed for no more than 5% of the grant amount.
What are the funding levels for this program? Grant awards range from $20,000 to $700,000. While $700,000 is the grant amount cap, it is per application. More than $700,000 may be awarded to one applicant that submits multiple applications. An applicant can submit a separate application for each additional community it is capable of serving. The program will fund operating and transportation costs but will not fund capital projects.
What is the match share requirement? Match is not required for this program. There is no advantage given for matching funds.
What is the anticipated award timeline? Grant award decisions will be announced approximately five months after the application deadline. Applicants will receive either a grant award or grant denial letter.
The Application Guide can be found here.
For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 530-893-4764.