What is Friends of the Parks’ Seed Grant Program?

Since 2000, the Friends of the Parks’ Seed Grant Program has helped build stronger communities, develop alliances, and foster a sense of care for parks. Since then, we have awarded over $150,000 in grant funds for cultural programs, mural projects, recreation equipment, education programs, garden development – and even air conditioners! – just to give you a few examples.

“A seed, dropped into the ground, springs into activity, and in the act of living produces a hundred more seeds, life, by living, multiplies itself. It is forever Becoming More, it must do so, if it continues to be at all.”    ― Wallace D. Wattles


The 2018 Seed Grant application is open and is due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 9, 2018 (extended from Friday, February 2, 2018). Download the DOC or PDF version of the application and apply today!

We have also added a Seed Grant Information Session, which will provide an overview of the grant program and review basic best-practices of grant writing that can be applied to any application. Join us Wednesday, February 21st for the Seed Grant Information Session at the FOTP office and RVSP today.

Who qualifies for the grant? A group must be either a park advisory council or another park partner organization who stewards a local park. Park partner organizations must have annual budgets no larger than $500,000 to be considered.

What can be funded? Many different kinds of projects may be funded through this program. All projects must be related to a Chicago park, and funds must be used for events, programming, beautification or supplies. Examples of previously funded projects include: Gardens, tree plantings, sports equipment, community concerts, art/sculpture projects, programming, etc. Requests for funds to be used for capital improvement projects will not be considered. Capital improvements are expenditures related to the acquisition, expansion or renovation of some segment of a park’s infrastructure (e.g. tennis courts, playgrounds).

Additional Information – Friends of the Parks provides monetary grants up to a maximum of $1,000 per application with a total awarded amount based on the availability of Seed Grant funds for 2018. The Seed Grant funds are to be used to jump-start your park program and are to be used in 2018. Grant funds are distributed to Seed Grant recipients in March.

Contact Nicole Machuca with questions about the Seed Grant Program at (312) 857-2757 ext. 7 or machucan@fotp.org.


2017 Seed Grant Winners:

  • Douglas Park Advisory Council – Special recreation equipment

  • Euclid Park Advisory Council – Euclid Neighborhood Park Festival

  • Hamilton Park Advisory Council – Expanding the Englewood Art Fair to include a youth component

  • Kelvyn Park Advisory Council – Gymnastics equipment

  • Ogden Park Advisory Council – Senior programming

  • Ping Tom Park Advisory Council –  Community kayak program

  • Pottawatomie Park Advisory Council – Two raised beds in the community garden

  • Rainbow Beach Park Advisory Council – Enhancing summer camp

  • West Chatham Advisory Council – Summer of Peace Community Picnic

  • West Ridge Nature Preserve – Citizen science programming

  • Pottawatomie Park Advisory Council – Two raised beds in the community garden