Grants for Friends Groups
Wisconsin State Park System
Several grant programs are available to Friends Groups projects that support the mission and activities at Wisconsin State Park System properties.
Knowles Nelson Stewardship Grant
The Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program provides grants for Friends Groups and nonprofit conservation organizations (NCOs) up to $20,000 to improve facilities, build new recreation projects and restore habitat on state properties. The program recognizes the important role Friends Groups play in meeting the development and restoration needs of state properties. Deadline: Nov. 15.
Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a federal program administered nationwide. Municipal governments and incorporated organizations are eligible to receive reimbursement for the development and maintenance of recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both motorized and non-motorized recreational trail uses. Funds may be used in conjunction with funds from the state snowmobile or ATV grant programs and Knowles-Nelson Stewardship development projects. Eligible projects include: Existing trail maintenance and restoration; Development and rehabilitation of trailside and trailhead facilities and trail linkages; Construction of new trails (some restrictions apply); and Acquisition of easements and fee simple title to property for recreational trails or recreational trail corridors (some restrictions apply). Deadline: May 1.
Heritage Trust Fund
The Wisconsin Legislature created the State Park and Forest Heritage Trust Fund to provide grants to Friends Groups for the maintenance and operations of state parks, southern state forests, state trails or state recreation areas. A Friends Group must have established an endowment fund for the benefit of the property. Only interest generated by the endowment fund can be used as the applicant’s match. Deadline: Nov. 15.
Foundation Directory Online
Foundation Directory Online contains in-depth profiles of grantmakers, plus their histories of grantmaking. An effective way to find potential funders. Some Wisconsin library systems carry the directory. A subscription is required to obtain online access. Deadline: Varies by grant.
Foundations of Wisconsin
Foundations of Wisconsin is a directory of various foundations available in a book format or an online searchable catalog. Some Wisconsin library systems carry the directory. Fees are required to purchase the book or access the online version. Deadline: Varies by grant.
Friends of Wisconsin State Parks
The Friends of Wisconsin State Parks (FWSP) provides two grant programs for Friends Groups.
This fund supports naturalist projects and programs at parks, forests, trails and recreation areas. Deadline: Spring
Trees and Flowers Grant
Designed for tree/plant beautification projects at parks, forests, trails and recreation areas. Deadline: Spring.
National Park Service
The National Park Service's Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program supports community-led natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation initiatives. Guidance is provided to develop plans to preserve open space and develop trails and greenways. Deadline: June 30.
Natural Resources Foundation (NRF) of Wisconsin
The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin supports efforts that protect Wisconsin's natural resources through several grantmaking programs.
Norma and Stanley DeBoer Quiet Trails Fund
The fund provides grants ranging from $500 to $1,000 to support the creation and maintenance of quiet trails (e.g. hiking, skiing, paddling, biking) in Wisconsin. Deadline: March 1.
David and Joyce Weizenicker Endowment Fund for State Parks
The David and Joyce Weizenicker Endowment Fund [exit DNR] provides grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 to Wisconsin State Park System Friends Groups for the primary purpose of supporting projects that facilitate accessibility for senior citizens, especially trail development, maintenance and restoration, rest stops including benches, overlooks, and interpretive signage. Applicants must match the gift with cash or in-kind support on a 1:1 basis. Contact NRF directly for details. Deadline: March 1.
Teachers' Outdoor Environmental Education Fund
Grants up to $1,000 are awarded annually to public school teachers (K-12) for outdoor environmental education learning experiences that occur on state property. Deadline: May 1.
C.D. Besadny Conservation Fund
Grants up to $1,000 are awarded to projects for projects that benefit Wisconsin’s lands, waters, and wildlife and that connect people to Wisconsin’s natural resources. Deadline: Sept. 1.
Go Outside Fund
Grants up to $500 for projects that connect students and teachers with outdoor nature-based learning experiences. Deadline: Rolling - March 31, June 30, Sept. 30, Dec. 31.