On this page you will find sources for materials and monetary grants as well as programming opportunities for your vacant lot or garden project in New York City. These are resources that other folks in the 596 Acres network have found useful. We’re doing our best to keep this list up to date, but the best information comes from YOU. If you know of any funding sources that should be here, please contact us and we’ll add them. If any of these sources are a dead end, let us know that, too.
Note that many grants require 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor. If your group or organization doesn’t have 501(c)(3) status, IOBY.org is a great local option for fiscal sponsorship for a project. You can find out more about getting fiscal sponsorship for your organization in the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest Community Guide.
Materials & Help Building
GrowNYC’s garden program has built or rejuvenated more than 90 community gardens across New York City, and continues to work with schools, public housing associations, and community groups to transform vacant land into vibrant civic spaces that challenge communities to interact with each other. You can request their help by filling out this form.
New York Restoration Project
The New York Restoration Project Gardens for the City program helps communities transform public spaces. NYRP lends materials, muscle and expertise to communities. Applications accepted on a rolling basis.
Through the Big Gives Back and Big Blooms programs, Big Reuse donates used building materials to charities, schools, environmental groups and artists in New York City.
Fruit Tree Planting Foundation
Through its Orchard Grant, the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (FTPF) provides orchard donations for recipients who pledge to care for the trees and utilize them for a charitable purpose. FTPF programs strategically donate orchards where the harvest will best serve communities for generations, at places such as community gardens, public schools, city/state parks, and low-income neighborhoods.
Hart Seed Company
Hart Seed Donation Department provides free seeds for classroom projects or school garden, church missions, community gardens, and other charitable organizations.
The Home Depot Foundation
The Home Depot Foundation Community Impact Grants of up to $5,000 are available to IRS-registered 501c designated organizations and tax-exempt public service agencies in the US that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. Grants are given in the form of The Home Depot gift cards for the purchase of tools, materials, or services. Eligible community improvement activities include planting trees or community gardens and/or landscaping community facilities that serve veterans.
National Gardening Association
The National Gardening Association Youth Garden Grant is available for your school and youth educational garden projects! Any nonprofit, school, or youth program planning a new garden program or expanding an established one that serves at least 15 youth between the ages of 3 and 18 is eligible to apply. That’s nearly every community open space in New York City! Five winners will receive gift cards valued at $1,000, and 95 winners will receive $500 gift cards, to purchase gardening materials and supplies from their local Home Depot store specific to the needs of their program.
The Awesome Foundation
The Awesome Foundation offers AwesomeNYC grants of $1,000 on a rolling basis.
Citizens Committee for New York City
We really <3 Citizens Committee! To be notified when the following grants are open for applications, sign up for e-mail alerts at the Citizens Committee website.
Love Your Block grants: Any group can apply with any project that will make an impact, no matter how the group is organized, which neighbors are served or the land access status!
Neighborhood Grants: Resident-led groups can win grants of up to $3,000 to work on community and school projects throughout the city.
Composting Grant: Groups can win up to $750 dollars to begin a neighborhood composting program, or expand upon an existing one.
#ConserveH20 Contest: Your group can submit an innovative water conservation idea and win up to $5,000 to put it into action.
The City Gardens Club of New York City
The City Gardens Club Scholarship Program offers each year a limited number of scholarships for activity-oriented, science-related summer workshops to New York City public school teachers.
Cornell Small Farms Program
Beginning farmers in New York State who have been farming for at least three years can apply to receive support for a Beginning Farmer Profit Team that provides customized, one-on-one guidance from farm professionals over an 18-month to two-year period. The project has up to $2,000 in matching funds available to 16 farms. For more information, sign up for the Small Farms Enewsletter.
Department of Environmental Conservation
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is committed to providing support and assistance to communities in comprehensive planning, management, and education to create healthy urban and community forests, and enhance the quality of life for urban residents through its Cost Share Grant program. At least $500,000 in grants will be available to municipalities, public benefit corporations, public authorities, school districts and not-for-profit organizations that have a public ownership interest in the property or are acting on behalf of a public property owner. Communities may request from $2,500 to $50,000, depending on municipal population. Eligible project categories include tree inventories and management plans; tree planting, maintenance and invasive pest detection survey, and $1,000 Quick Start Arbor Day Grants. Funds are made available from the Environmental Protection Fund and will be managed and allocated by DEC.
Fiskars Project Orange Thumb is a community garden grant program that provides tools and resources to help communities reach their goals for collaboration, neighborhood beautification, and healthy, sustainable food sources. Fiskars has provided over $1.6 million to more than 180 community groups since the program started in 2002. The application is open to non-profit organizations in North America late in the year and grant recipients are announced in spring of the following year.
The Fund for Public Health in New York City
The Building Healthy Communities and GreenThumb Growing Food Capacity Grant provides up to $5,000 to support new and existing gardens in select communities (Morrisania, Mott Haven, Hunts Point, Brownsville, East Harlem, Two Bridges, Corona, Flushing, Stapleton, Mariner’s Harbor, Bedford Stuyvesant, Canarsie, and Central Harlem) to increase their production of fresh produce in their communities and make these fruits and vegetables available to their communities through farms stands, cooking demonstrations, and/or strategic partnerships. Must submit a proposal based on requirements and deadlines outlined in Request for Proposals (RFP) posted here.
J.M. Kaplan Fund
The J.M. Kaplan Fund Gotham Project prioritizes youth justice and urban open space for its New York City giving.
Katie’s Krops mission is to start and maintain vegetable gardens of all sizes and to donate the harvest to help feed people in need, as well as to assist and inspire others to do the same. Youth gardeners selected for the program are awarded funding and resources to start their garden.
The Macktez Summer Stipend is an an opportunity to get $1,000 to finish a summer project. 596 Acres received this stipend in 2014 to create signs for lots in active urban renewal areas and to connect folks on the streets to the Urban Reviewer, the first comprehensive and online database of every urban renewal plan that NYC ever adopted, which we created to help guide your organizing.
Manhattan Borough President’s Office
The Manhattan Community Award Program (MCAP) provides small funding awards—between $3,500 and $5,000—to nonprofit organizations and public schools to help support programming or operational expenses. Each award is contracted through one of five City agencies (DFTA, DOC, DOE, DOHMH, or DPR). Proposals must relate to the specific agency’s overall mission and goals.
The New York Community Trust
The New York Community Trust grants are made on a rolling basis and support programs that improve the lives of all New Yorkers, with an emphasis on promoting healthy lives, promising futures, and thriving communities.
Partnership for Parks
The Partnerships for Parks Capacity Fund Grant program provides small grants of up to $5,000 to strengthen the outreach, membership, and program-planning capacity of community groups who care for their neighborhood parks, gardens and green spaces in all five boroughs of New York City. Project work must be on NYC Parks Department property. Deadlines are February 1, June 1 and October 1.
The Riverside Church
The Riverside Sharing Fund grants up to $5,000 to projects outside the church that are consistent with their mission of “education, reflection, and action for peace and justice.” Rolling deadline!
Seeds of Change
The Seeds of Change Grant Program offers four $20,000 grants and twenty $10,000 grants to support sustainable, community-based farming and gardening programs. Half of the grants go to community gardens, half to school gardens.
SeedMoney, a program of Kitchen Gardeners International, is a crowdfunding site exclusively for food garden projects. During its 2015 grant cycle, SeedMoney also awarded challenge grants to motivate donors and merit grants for worthy projects without a base of individual donors.
United States Department of Agriculture
The USDA Farm to School Grant Program assists eligible entities in implementing farm to school programs that improve access to local foods in eligible schools. On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs.
Wells Fargo Foundation
Wells Fargo Foundation grants support organizations working to improve communities with low- to moderate-income. In particular, the Foundation strives to improve education, community development, and environmental health, ensure access to health and human services, and to bolster civic engagement.
The Wild Ones Seeds for Education grant program supports environmental education with small grants to help you build your schoolyard native plant teaching space.
NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation
NYC Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation grants provide $25,000 to community-based organizations for planning the development of vacant or underutilized sites. Contact Mark McIntyre at (212) 788-3015 or mmcintyre@
GrowNYC’s Fresh Food Box
Bring affordable fruits and vegetables to your community farm or garden!
What is the Fresh Food Box program?
Fresh Food Box brings fresh produce to neighborhoods all over New York year round and sells it at about half the price of regular grocery stores. Customers pay $12 for 10-15 pounds of fresh, seasonally available produce. Payment must be made one week in advance. Customers can use cash, credit, debit, SNAP/EBT, or Health Bucks.
Who runs Fresh Food Box?
Fresh Food Box is run by the not-for-profit GrowNYC. GrowNYC partners with community groups who serve as host sites for Fresh Food Box.
How can I bring Fresh Food Box to my community garden?
Fill out the application. GrowNYC staff will read the application and decide whether they want to partner with your group to create a Fresh Food Box site. They are looking for the following things in a strong candidate:
- At least 30 people interested in becoming customers
- An easily accessible outdoor location with good foot traffic
- Access to two tables that can be used as a part of the outdoor setup
- Capacity to store a tent (5 ft x 1.5 ft), a box of supplies (2 ft x 2 ft), and paper bags (2 ft x 2 ft) on site
- Other health and wellness programming happening on site
- A person or people who can commit 2-4 hours a week during the season to participate in outreach and other Fresh Food Box activities
These grants were not available as of the last time this list was updated. However it is worth checking if these organizations have any current opportunities relevant to your project:
The Aetna Foundation Local Roots program supports the creation and expansion of community gardens, urban farms, and farmers’ markets in underserved, low-income, and minority communities. To be eligible, all projects must include nutrition education or cooking classes focused on the health benefits of fresh produce; the growing or distribution of produce that reflects the food traditions of the target area; opportunities to learn job skills or entrepreneurship within the context of community gardens, urban farms, or farmers’ markets; and/or opportunities for community service or volunteer work. In 2015, grants of up to $50,000 will be awarded! To be eligible, applicants must be a non-profit organization with evidence of 501(c)(3) designation.
Brooklyn Community Foundation
The Brooklyn Community Foundation Micro Grants program accepts requests for $500 or less to help support smaller scale projects and organizations throughout Brooklyn. Our Micro Grants serve two purposes: to support grassroots, community efforts like beautification campaigns, Parent-Teacher Associations, youth sports teams, or community gardens and to serve as seed funding for start-up nonprofit groups to help support immediate needs as they build a rapport within the community members and among other funders. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
Department of Environmental Conservation
The New York State DEC’s Office of Environmental Justice offered two types of grants in 2013. DEC’s Community Impact Grants award $10,000 to $50,000 to fund projects that address exposure of the communities served by the applicant organizations to multiple environmental harms and risks. DEC also offers Green Gems Grants which award $2,500 to $10,000 for smaller scale projects that involve education, stewardship, or monitoring activities related to parks, open space, community gardens or green infrastructure. The projects must include a research and educational component that will be used to expand the knowledge or understanding of the affected community.
The Fund for Public Health in New York
Community organizations in Harlem, Canarsie and Brownsville have been invited to partner in starting new farms on NYCHA campuses! Organizations will get paid up to $50,000 per year for supporting the development of these new projects. Partners are NYCHA, Green City Force and the Fund for Public Health in NY.
Green Education Foundation
The Green Education Foundation Green in Action Awards makes grants to inspiring schools, classrooms, or youth groups awards for demonstration of commitment, creativity, or passion for sustainability.
National Recreation and Park Association
National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has grants for community gardens that benefit low-income families. They give $2,500 to $7,500 to be used to build/expand community garden facilities or programs that result in the donation of produce.
Outdoor Nation Grants support projects that increase participation in outdoor activities and create meaningful connections to the natural world.