Safe Routes to Parks Applications Open November 4, 2019

Children and adults in the United States are not getting enough physical activity, and our health and wellbeing are suffering as a result. But communities are working on many strategies to help – making it easier and safer to walk and bicycle, expanding access to parks, and more. One important place for collaboration and advocacy is making sure that people can safely walk and bicycle to parks – an approach known as Safe Routes to Parks. Often, those communities that are most at need, with the highest levels of traffic injuries and deaths and the greatest health disparities, have the lowest levels of safe access to local parks.

With generous funding from The JPB Foundation, the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities Program will begin accepting applications on November 4, 2019 for awards for seven grantee communities in 2020. This is the third cohort of communities in the Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program.

The Program

The Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program provides tailored technical assistance for seven communities to develop Safe Routes to Parks action plans and awards $12,500 to each community to begin implementation of those plans. The Safe Routes to Parks action plans will be based upon the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework, developed in 2017 through the collaborative efforts of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the National Recreation and Parks Association. The framework provides a structured process by which communities can increase safe and equitable access to their parks and green spaces. The framework includes four main areas of activity: 1) Assessment, 2) Planning, 3) Implementation, and 4) Sustainability, with each area heavily infused with proactive community engagement. Awarded communities’ action plans will address each stage of the Safe Routes to Parks Action Framework and provide clear steps to improve local park access for people walking, biking, and rolling.

Grantee communities will work closely with staff at the Safe Routes to School National Partnership from February through September 2020 to develop action plans aimed at improving safe, equitable access to local parks in their communities. These plans chart a course for how organizations can improve safe, equitable access to parks and green space in their communities. While grantees can focus efforts on one park, the action plan is intended for organizations to think about how to improve safe park access throughout the community. Grantee communities will receive training, individualized consultation and technical assistance, connection with peer communities to learn from one another, an in-person workshop in their community, as well as grants of $12,500 each to begin the implementation of the Safe Routes to Parks action plan. At the end of the grant period, awarded communities will have a customized action plan to improve safe, equitable local park access that includes ideas for how to fund and sustain their efforts and will have implemented at least one action from the plan.  

Eligibility and Expectations

Eligibility: Applicants must be nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership will require organizations will be required to provide IRS documentation of 501(c)(3) status to receive the award. While grantees are permitted to focus implementation actions at a single park, Safe Routes to Parks planning must occur at a system or partial system level.  Funding must be used to advance implementation of the Safe Routes to Parks plan and planning process, and shall not be used solely for salaries or contracted support. 

Other eligibility criteria include:

  • A commitment to advancing racial and social equity
  • Relationship with local government where the project is happening: Grantees will need to work with parks and transportation decisionmakers; existing relationships or a willingness to build strong relationships necessary.

Expectations: The period of grant activities will be from February to September 2020.  During that time, grantees will have monthly calls with National Partnership staff, attend virtual trainings with expert staff and peer communities, co-plan and co-host a local workshop/training with Safe Routes Partnership staff (travel costs paid by Safe Routes Partnership), develop an action plan, and implement at least one early action from the plan. Because this is a technical assistance award with funding, historically, grantees that are working on aligned efforts have had greater success than organizations beginning this work with no additional staff time, support, or history working on park access. Examples of past grantees’ work can be found here:

Application

To apply for the 2020 Safe Routes to Parks Activating Communities program, click here.

Applications are due by 11:59 PM PT on December 16th, 2019. We anticipate announcing awards in late January. 

Note:

If you have any questions during the application process, please contact parks@saferoutespartnership.org.

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is a national nonprofit that works to advance safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, to improve the health and wellbeing of kids of all races, income levels, and abilities, and to foster the creation of healthy communities for everyone.