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2024 Grant Opportunities for Outdoor Classrooms

Upcoming Deadlines: We’re constantly searching for grant opportunities to help you. Below are the current grants and funding opportunities with approaching deadlines. Be sure to read their application guidelines and FAQs to ensure you qualify. And don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter.

July 15, 2024: TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant – Canada

  • Who can apply in Canada? Registered Canadian charities with a Charitable Registration Number (CRN), Educational institutions (primary/secondary/post-secondary), Municipalities, Indigenous groups/communities
  • No set minimum or maximum – find answers to common questions here

September 30, 2024: ESSER III Funding – US

  • Funds must be obligated by this date
  • Ideal for OutClass outdoor classrooms
  • Check out what Durham Public Schools in North Carolina did with their ESSER funds to outfit 40 outdoor classrooms at their schools

With the September 2024 ESSER III funds deadline fast approaching, it’s crucial to act swiftly. If you have unused ESSER funds, let’s chat. Reach out to book a call with our team today and let’s get you ready for September.

Download our Funding Guide

Grants and Funding Opportunities in the United States

Name of Funding OpportunityLocationTypeFor ProjectsDeadlineLink to Funding Opportunity
The Dekko FoundationAlabama, Indiana,Iowa,MinnesotaCommunity EnhancementOngoingThe Dekko Foundation
Massachusetts Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grant Program (ORLPP)MassachusettsCommunity ImprovementMin: $10,000 - Max: $300,0002025 Grant Date TBCMassachusetts Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Grant Program (ORLPP)
Friends of Acadia Outdoor ClassroomsMaineOutdoor ClassroomOngoingFriends of Acadia Outdoor Classrooms
Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief FundUnited StatesEducation Pandemic ReliefObligate by Sept 2024Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund

Grants and Funding Opportunities in Canada

Name of Funding OpportunityLocationTypeFor ProjectsDeadlineLink to Funding Opportunity
The ChariTree FoundationCanadaOutdoor ClassroomMax: $2,000Opens in the Fall 2024The ChariTree Foundation
Community Facility Enhancement ProgramAlbertaCommunity Facility Enhancement ProgramMax: $125,000Sept 15Community Facility Enhancement Program
Edmonton Community FoundationEdmonton, AlbertaEdmonton Community FoundationMin: $5,000 - Max: $20,000OngoingEdmonton Community Foundation
Northern Development Initiative TrustBritish ColumbiaCommunity DevelopmentUp to $30,000OngoingNorthern Development Initiative Trust
Richardson FoundationWinnipeg, ManitobaCommunity Improvement$1 Million AnnuallyOngoingRichardson Foundation

FUNDING FAQ & RESOURCES

Eight Sources for Funding

Property Owner

Your project will increase property value for the owner and for the surrounding homes while reducing teacher absenteeism, bullying, and vandalism as well as enriching the health, intellect, and self-worth of students. This all adds value for them. Will your project fix existing drainage issues, repair surfacing, reduce maintenance costs, or improve curb appeal? Ask about their budget for property improvements. You will need their permission regardless of whether or not they contribute.

Bake Sales, Bottle Drives, Trivia Nights

We know, it’s a lot of work; but this is as much about building buy-in from the community and potential funders as it is about the money. This is about building your credibility across all funding platforms. Why should they invest in your project if you aren’t?

Foundations and NGOs

There are loads of charitable organizations that have recognized the importance of connecting children and communities to the outdoors. From TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to Trillium, to Sobeys and Home Depot, these foundations provide millions in project funding every year. Local community foundations, Rotary, Civitan, Probus, Lions, and Optimists are always looking for projects to support.

In-Kind

Take your project labor list and start knocking on the doors of local contractors. You will be amazed at what they will contribute if you ask. Discounted materials are as good as cash. Call your local Landscape Trades Association; local chapters are always looking for projects to help their community.

Philanthropists

It is better to ask for advice on whom else to go to for support rather than simply asking them for their money. Building a network of support helps with all of your funding channels.

Government

All three levels (Municipal, Provincial and Federal) have something to gain by being involved in your project, and something to lose if they are not. Make sure they understand this. Ask them to match each others’ support. Start with your local councilor and then move up the chain from there.

Volunteers

This is the fun bit. Just make sure there is ample water, snacks, washrooms, Band-Aids, and meaningful work available for everyone. If you have someone with a military background available for build days, which helps as well. Contact OutClass™ outdoor classrooms, patent pending, for a full Community Build Guidebook to help with planning.

Corporations

Large corporations have Sponsorship Directors, Green Marketing strategies, Corporate Social Responsibility Charters (ISO 26000), and Human Resources Team-building budgets. Outdoor classrooms that are completed through a community build model offer an opportunity to engage each of these departments individually or all of them in combination. Team building budgets are often funded more generously than sponsorship budgets at the local level.

Where do we Start?

Gather Your Community

Together for a big meal and decide why you are doing this. What is it about your story that makes your project stand out from any other? How is your community unique? What is the change you are looking to accomplish? What is it that will keep your core team inspired to realize your project regardless of any opposition

Record Your Story

In a one page brief and a ten page report outlining the need and the solution. Your story will serve as a design brief and the foundation of your fundraising strategy.

Design Your Space

In colour and in 3D. Hire an expert with a proven track record in community-based design facilitation (as opposed to a prescriptive design process). Make sure that the project reflects the natural, cultural and industrial heritage of the site and your community. Create the ultimate dream project; do not water it down before you even begin. Remember that most of us need to be presented with a vision that we can picture ourselves in and be inspired by before we invest.

Make a List

That details all materials, equipment, and labour (both skilled and unskilled) that you will need to complete the project.

Assemble a Steering Committee

You will never get this done alone (unless you are rich or superhuman). Organize your most dedicated community members as your core group, and assign tasks to team leaders. Ideally, your steering committee should consist of 4 to 9 people. Research shows that larger committees do not necessarily make better choices; they simply make them more slowly, while smaller committees fail to achieve buy-in and tend to burn out more quickly with the increased workload.

Post Everything

The website and social media plan will help to keep your campaign on track. It will also help you to engage more grant writers, community organizers and supporters.

Create Challenges and Set Targets

For every funding stream. Often, one family will match another’s contribution, or one business will attempt to beat their competitor’s bid.

Break Ground

In a public ceremony where you acknowledge your major supporters and volunteers. A good rapport with donors, organizations and volunteers will go a long way in fostering lasting relationships should you require to call on them again in the future.

A Few Keys Organizations to Help with your Fundraising

TD Friends of the Environment Foundation Grant
Honda Canada Foundation
Ontario Trillium Foundation

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