Grant programs across America fund community development projects. Some support construction of facilities, while others support planning of projects. Always explore funding from local or regional foundations and corporations as well as state agencies when searching for a grant for your community development project. Federal grants exist, but they normally go to state agencies.
Bank of America
Bank of America funds projects that work to improve local communities. Programs fall under a broad range of categories; the corporation talks with community leaders to determine what their community needs funding for most.
This foundation supports a range of community development projects, from drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs to parenting education programs. After school education programs, programs that involve girls and minorities in science and math education and literacy programs can also receive support. The average grant is $25,000, says the foundation website.
This service-learning program supports groups of students from preschool through twelfth grade in improving their local environments. It emphasizes hands-on environmental education. Students work under the guidance of a teacher. Funding falls into two categories: grants ranging from $250 to $1,000, and grants of $1,001 to $5,000. Past recipients have started school gardens, planted native trees and improved campsites in parks and provided a bridge to make a natural area more accessible for animals and people.
Outdoor Recreation Acquisition, Development and Planning
This grant program of the National Park Service distributes funding to the states for the purchase and development of public outdoor recreation areas. Recipients may use the funds to create city parks, rural parks and camping areas, or improvements to existing parks, like new trails and picnic areas. The fund emphasizes creating simple spaces where people can enjoy nature safely. States often sponsor similar programs at the local level, sometimes through this funding. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, for instance, has a Community Parks and Playgrounds program that funds creation of new parks and renovations of existing ones.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
The USDA offers a Rural Development Grant program that funds several types of community improvements. Grants can support development of necessary facilities and infrastructure in rural communities, like water systems and storm drains. Grants can also support community cooperative endeavors, like farming coops, that strengthen local economies. Some grants also support housing for those in need. Funding amounts vary.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
This agency sponsors a Community Development Block Grant Program, which funds a broad range of community improvement projects in urban areas. Grants can renovate neighborhoods, improving housing and making public spaces safer. Grants can also make necessary services like healthcare more accessible. Grant amounts vary. (see Resources)
Melanie J. Martin specializes in environmental issues and sustainable living. Her work has appeared in venues such as the Environmental News Network, "Ocean" magazine and "GREEN Retailer." Martin holds a Master of Arts in English.