Grant opportunities: child obesity, environmental initiatives

1) Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP) seeks applicants from K-12 schools combating child obesity

ASAP, an initiative of ChildObesity180,  will award $1,000 grants to one thousand schools to implement one of three ASAP signature programs: 100 Mile Club (students are challenged to walk 100 miles over the course of one school year), BOKS (a 12-week program to engage students in physical activity before the school day), or Just Move (a classroom-based exercise program that integrates academics). Application deadline is April 22; to learn more or apply, click here.

2) Ray C. Anderson Foundation environmental grants program

Through its Gray Notes Grants program, the foundation will award grants of $2,000-$25,000 for projects related to: environmental conservation, preservation, education, and restoration; urban agriculture; clean water/air; and grassroots efforts aimed at promoting collaboration and engagement. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis. To learn more, click here.

Youth running grants

If you haven’t visited the SouthCoast Urban Indicators Project yet, do so now! You’re missing out on some really rich data about Fall River and New Bedford, such as the fact that 17.4% of Fall River kids and 19.2% of New Bedford kids are classified as obese (the statewide rate is 16.3%).

Two grant opportunities we just learned about could help SouthCoast organizations bring those numbers down:

1) ING Run for Something Better initiative

“The ING Run for Something Better program will provide a minimum of fifty grants of up to $2,500 each for schools to establish a running program or expand an existing one. The first $1,000 will be awarded to winning schools upon notification of the grant, while the second installment will be distributed upon conclusion of the program and evidence of a culminating running event, receipt of PACER data, and other required post-evaluation materials.

Awards are available for programs serving boys and girls in grades K-8 . Schools must design an eight-week program that runs before, during-, and/or afterschool and that is offered (to the best of the school’s ability) to all students in eligible grades at least twice a week, with a culminating event completed by December 31, 2013. In addition, the program must have a commitment of at least twenty-five students in grades 4 through 8 and must supply PACER data results to NASPE. Any school districts currently involved with ING Run for Something Better or that already participate in an ING U.S.-sponsored culminating event are not eligible to apply.”

2) Saucony Run for Good Foundation

“The foundation awards between ten and twenty grants a year for programs that encourage active and healthy lifestyles in children. To be eligible for a grant, organizations must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, operate a program that serves youth age 18 or under, and be able to demonstrate positive impact on the lives of program participants through their increased participation in running. Grant recipients will be announced two months after the application deadlines (in February and in August).”

Grant opportunity: LEGO Children’s Fund

The LEGO Children’s Fund supports organizations and programs that support children ages birth to 14, with special consideration for:

  • groups that support disadvantaged children
  • groups that are supported by LEGO employee volunteers
  • special projects or programs designed to elevate a child’s opportunities for exploring creativity
  • organizations serving Connecticut and Western Massachusetts

Amounts typically range from $500 to $5,000. The next deadline to apply is April 15. Application instructions can be found at this link.

Grant opportunity: MA Cultural Facilities Fund

The MA Cultural Council will be awarding approx. $5m in grants to nonprofits, municipalities, and institutes of higher education for the purposes of planning around and capital improvements to cultural facilities statewide. Successful applicants must provide a 1:1 match of all funds awarded. The full RFP is here.

Interested applicants must submit a notice of intent to apply by February 15, and final applications are due on March 15. Info sessions will be held throughout the state (though not in the SouthCoast) for those interested in learning more.

Recent SouthCoast recipients of Cultural Facilities Fund grants include the New Bedford Whaling Museum ($250,000 in 2012 for the construction of an education center, and another $617,000 for building restoration), the Lafayette-Durfee House Foundation in Fall River ($7,500 for a heating system installation), Fall River’s Little Theater ($38,000 for repairs), Dartmouth’s Lloyd Center for Environmental Studies ($10,000 for grounds improvements), Fall River’s Narrows Center for the Arts ($60,000 for handicap accessibility, and another $32,000 for sound system upgrades), New Bedford’s Rotch-Jones-Duff House ($38,000 for garden preservation and restoration), New Bedford’s Spinner Publications ($24,000 for office upgrades), and New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theater ($56,000 for restoration).

Planning grants have also been awarded to local organizations like Fall River’s Little Theater and the Espirito Santo Museum Foundation and New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theater.

Grant opportunities: youth nutrition/fitness, creative placemaking, and literacy

1) General Mills Foundation’s Champions for Health Kids Program – Deadline: December 3

The program will award fifty grants of $10,000 to community-based groups such as health departments, government agencies, schools, and Native American Tribes that develop creative ways to help youth adopt a balanced diet and physically active lifestyle.

To ensure that the nutrition information in the proposed program is accurate and is scientifically based, a registered dietitian must either be directly involved or serve as an advisor to the program. Learn more by clicking this link.

2) NEA accepting proposals for its ‘Our Town’ creative placemaking program – Deadline: January 14

The program seeks to invest in creative and innovative projects in which communities, together with their arts and design organizations and artists, seek to improve their quality of life; encourage greater creative activity; foster stronger community identity and a sense of place; and revitalize economic development. Projects may include arts engagement, cultural planning, and design activities.

All Our Town applications must reflect a partnership that will provide leadership for the project. These partnerships must involve two primary partners — a nonprofit organization and a local government entity. One of the two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. Awards will range from $25,000 to $200,000. View the full RFP.

3) Big Read accepting grant applications for community-wide reading programs

Community organizations participating in the Big Read develop and produce reading programs that encourage reading and participation by diverse local audiences. These programs include activities such as author readings, book discussions, art exhibits, lectures, film series, music or dance events, theatrical performances, panel discussions, and other events and activities related to the community’s chosen book or poet. Activities must focus on a book or poet from the Big Read Library. Previous grantees must select a different reading choice from their previous programming.

The program is accepting applications from nonprofit organizations to develop reading programs between September 2013 and June 2014. Organizations selected to participate receive a grant, educational and promotional materials, and access to online training resources and opportunities. Approximately seventy-five organizations will be selected from communities of varying size in the U.S. Awards range from $2,500-20,000. Learn more here.

Fall River, New Bedford take the challenge

A few months ago, we let blog and newsletter readers know about Bloomberg Philanthropies’ (yes, that Bloomberg) Mayors Challenge, a grant opportunity that asked cities across the country to compete for funding by submitting their innovative solutions to urban challenges that can be replicated in other communities.

Fall River and New Bedford, along with 10 other Massachusetts cities and 293 other cities nationwide, submitted applications for the September 14 deadline. Interestingly, both cities proposed solutions to deal with a problem that’s been particularly intractable in smaller industrial cities: vacant lots in residential neighborhoods. While articles in the Herald News and Standard Times don’t divulge many details about the innovative solutions these cities have cooked up (nor does Fall River’s YouTube video that was submitted with the application), we hope that even if funding isn’t awarded, positive change will come from this kind of creative thinking. Good luck to both communities!

Revealing our sources

One of the biggest  hits of our monthly newsletter is our section on grant opportunities. Many of our community partners report reading about previously unknown funding sources here, and they often wonder where we get our info. So we decided to put together a blog on some of our favorite sources for not just grant opportunities, but also for events, urban policy news, and local goings-on. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but if you have suggestions you think we’re missing, please let us know!


The Foundation Center is the UI’s grants mecca, and one of the best ways to passively keep tabs on opportunities (so we can in turn share them with you) is by subscribing to their weekly Philanthropy News Digest RFP Bulletin. You can find new RFPs here, and you can subscribe to get updates sent directly to your inbox at this link.

Is it federal funding that you seek? also has an email alert service that you can subscribe to (and customize according to your organization or needs) here.

If you have some time on your hands and have some social media savvy, Twitter can be surprisingly helpful too. Start with a simple hashtag like #grant, and you’ll be amazed!


Our favorite event-type to share is the kind that builds capacity among stakeholders in our community. In our newsletter you’ll see lots of workshops, many of which are either low-cost or free. The best sources for these have often been the Rhode Island Foundation, which puts on great one-off and series events through their Initiative for Nonprofit Excellence, and the NonProfit Center in Boston. The latter has a monthly newsletter cataloging events, to which you can subscribe via this link. Another nonprofit-oriented resource is the MA Nonprofit Network, whose bi-monthly newsletter can be found here.

Local interest

In addition to keeping tabs on the newspapers serving the South Coast (New Bedford-based Standard Times and Fall River’s Herald News), we are big fans of the Sustainability Almanac put out by our colleagues at the UMass Dartmouth Office of Sustainability. It hits inboxes every Thursday, and contents include environmental news, local events, and even area job opportunities. You can read back issues and subscribe by following this link.


Environmental education grants

Here are a two grant opportunities we recently came across that look like promising opportunities for many of our readers and community partners:

1) National Environmental Education Foundation Announces America’s Great Outdoors: Connecting Youth to the Outdoors Grant Program

Through this new program, NEEF and its partners seek to catalyze efforts to increase the number of pre-K-12 youth, particularly urban and/or underserved youth, who build a connection with public lands as places for recreating, learning and volunteering. Proposed projects should maximize hands-on outdoor engagement opportunities on public lands, focused on the areas of 1) education; 2) recreation ; and 3) environmental stewardship.

To be eligible, applicants must be a Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management unit or a nonprofit organization, academic institution, or tribal group that partners with these agencies. Applicants must have been in existence for at least two years. The proposed youth engagement events must be held on a Forest Service or BLM site, or show that the project clearly benefits these agencies.

Approximately $243,000 in funding is available to support awards in the range of $2,500 to $20,000. There is a minimum one-to-one non-federal match required for this grant, though larger match ratios are encouraged.

2) New England Environmental Education Alliance accepting proposals for EPA sub-grants

In partnership with the six state-based professional environmental education associations that comprise the alliance, NEEEA is soliciting proposals and will award sub-grants to organizations for projects that contribute to regional goals for environmental literacy and education in New England, while supporting the EPA’s educational and environmental priorities. In order to achieve the longest lasting and greatest systemic impact, NEEEA will place higher priority on funding proposals that help strengthen statewide or regional capacity to deliver effective environmental education programs.

Proposals may be submitted by any school, nature center, museum, learning center, or community group; local education agency, college, or university; state education or environmental agency; or non-commercial educational broadcasting entity as defined and licensed by the FCC. Applicant organizations must be based in New England and the majority of their activities must take place in New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

At least nineteen grants will be awarded, with a goal of three for each state, as well as at least one for a project that is implemented in multiple states. Grant requests from $500 to $5,000 will be considered. At least 33 percent of the grant amount must be matched by non-federal funds, including in-kind contributions.

Link to Complete RFP



Lots of grant opportunities have come across our desks (er…computer screens) over the last two weeks, and we’ve curated that list to present you with those that look most viable. Here you go:

1) ‘Let’s Play’ Community Construction Grants, from KaBOOM! & Dr. Pepper – Deadline: July 20

You may have seen the organization spoofed on Parks and Recreation, but don’t be mislead: KaBOOM! really does work with communities to build playgrounds in 24 hours, and here’s a great opportunity to team up with their efforts. Eligible applicants for $15,000 awards include municipalities, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, schools, and daycare centers. Criteria include the ability to raise matching funds, demonstrated need, demonstrated capacity to build and maintain the equipment, and a projected positive community impact. Learn more by clicking here.

2) Tourism Cares- Deadline: July 2

This organization is offering up to six awards of $10,000 to tourism-related organizations seeking funds to preserve, restore, or educate visitors about a significant historical, cultural, or natural resource in their community. Eligible sites should be “critical to the interpretation of the local area, or essential to the maintenance of the history or culture of local indigenous peoples.” Apply online here.

3) Civic Data Challenge – Deadline: July 29

The Knight Foundation, in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship, is offering grants to applicants who use innovative techniques of making data related to education, health, safety, civic health, and the economy both useful and visually engaging to both decision-makers and the public. Both individuals and organizations are eligible for participation. Learn more at the Civic Data Challenge website. We’re thinking about taking the challenge; anyone want to join us??

4) Bank of America Charitable Foundation Workforce Development RFP – July 2

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation is seeking applications from nonprofits with programs aimed at addressing unemployment. Learn more at this link.