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2019 NRPA/Disney Play Spaces Grant Application

Meet Me at the Park
Transforming parks and improving access to play spaces
Grant Guidelines and Application Outline

The purpose of this grant opportunity is to fund innovative and scalable projects that transform parks and improve access to inclusive play spaces for kids (aged 3-11) and their families. The intent is to create replicable model projects that provide strategies and lessons learned for application by a wide range of communities.

This RFA will fund park projects that achieve the goals of providing access to inclusive play spaces and increased physical activity to the most underserved communities using innovative and scalable solutions. We anticipate funding projects that fit into the following categories: 

  1. Mobile play vehicle or pop-up play equipment, for example, that can travel to multiple locations and be put in use temporarily.
  2. Trail and walking path enhancements that increase visibility and accessibility, add elements of play, and/or improve way-finding that guides and encourages kids to walk the trail or path.
  3. Play spaces, nature play spaces, pocket-play spaces, and/or inclusive play spaces that bring unique play features to new or revitalized public spaces.
  4. Sport field/court enhancements that improve or create unique sports fields or courts that encourage community use, small-sided play, and/or creative games in places that lack opportunities for formal sports participation.
  5. Nature and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Based Play Spaces, nature play spaces, and pocket-play spaces that incorporate STEM learning loose play features to new or revitalized parks

Availability of funds
Total amount of funding available: $750,000.
Number of grants to be awarded: 25
Grant amount: $30,000 each
A 1:1 match is required. Eligible matching funds can include cash, staff time, construction costs and design fees.
The grant funds will be distributed in full upon execution of a grant agreement.
  • The applicant must be a local government park and recreation agency, (e.g., municipal park and recreation department, tribal recreation department, park district, etc.)
  • The project must take place at a publicly-owned site(s) in an underserved community*.
  • Significant progress towards the project outcomes must be demonstrated by August 17, 2019.  An interim report will be due to NRPA on this date.
  • All projects must be completed by December 13, 2019
  • A required final report will be due on December 31, 2019 (template to be provided)
  • Opportunities for volunteerism in association with the project for members of the local community and Disney employees must be provided.
  • The project must be promoted locally through the agency's own communication channels and on social media.
  • Grantees will be required to administer surveys and collect data from at least 25 people at the project site (tablet or laptop may be required).
  • Eight of the selected grantees will be required to conduct a more in-depth evaluation to assess and understand how the project led to increased activity, community, connection to nature and other benefits. Evaluation tools and training will be provided to selected grantees. 
*For purposes of this grant opportunity, underserved community refers to vulnerable populations, including community of color, ethnic minorities, new Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals, individuals with physical or cognitive disabilities, low-income, rural, tribal, and indigenous populations that may be disproportionately experiencing degraded environmental quality, poor health outcomes, high stress, and/or social isolation. Applicants are also invited to describe what “underserved” means in their community and how the project will address specific needs and disparities.

Successful applicants will:
  • Provide new or increased access to play spaces to the most underserved communities using innovative and scalable solutions.
  • Show how the project will increase access to physical activity and engage the community.
  • Demonstrate how this has been a community driven process and how the community will be engaged in the long-term success of the project.
To Learn More
A list of frequently asked questions can be found here.
NRPA will host a webinar on March 19, 2019 to provide an overview of the program and help answer applicant questions.  Please register through this link
If your question has not been answered in any of the resources above, please e-mail:
Application Due Date

Applications are due by 11:59 PM ET on April 12, 2019.

It is anticipated that NRPA will notify applicants the week of June 5, 2019

Please ensure responses are recorded accurately. You can save your progress and continue at a later time by clicking the "Save and continue later" link in the red bar at the top of the page. Note: Only completed pages are saved - please enter a draft answer for each question on the page if you plan to save and return to your work later. 

The application is available in PDF format to assist in preparation of responses, but the application MUST be submitted through this online form.  For a PDF copy, please click here.

Project Milestone Dates
March 19  -Webinar for applicants
April 12  -Application deadline
Week of June 5  -Application notification
August 17  -Interim reports due
December 13  -Project completion
December 31  -Final reports and surveys due to NRPA