In May 2020, a coalition of national, family, and community foundations launched the NYC Green Relief & Recovery Fund to support stewardship organizations that care for New York City’s parks and open spaces. The Fund is intended to respond to the most urgent needs facing the City’s parks and open spaces, while spurring policy-makers to address ongoing systemic challenges, and provide adequate funding to maintain and improve them. The Fund was launched in response to the efforts of the Parks and Open Space Partners – NYC coalition to raise awareness of the financial impacts of the pandemic on open spaces. 


In the first year, the NYC Green Fund awarded $3.6M via 202 grants. This included 194 grants to stewardship organizations that provide essential maintenance, public programming, and management of parks and open spaces. At the request of the NYC Green Fund, the Central Park Conservancy’s Institute for Urban Parks looked closely at the major challenges facing parks and open spaces in NYC and released the NYC Green Fund Literature Review. Following this report, the Fund awarded 8 grants to support innovation and systemic changes, enabling NYC to manage open space more effectively, equitably, efficiently, and collaboratively. 


The NYC Green Fund will continue grantmaking to support stewardship organizations and systemic change and transformation in the parks and open space sector. The NYC Green Fund will release three rounds of grant funding in 2021. Application details and grant guidelines can be found below. 


The NYC Green Relief & Recovery Fund is intended to grow, and we encourage those interested in supporting this work to donate now or contact for more information.


Sign up for more information on the NYC Green Relief and Recovery Fund.



2021 Relief Grant

  • Open to organizations with demonstrated experience working in NYC’s open space arena and annual operating budgets of more than $15,000
  • Apply for grants of $10,000 to $50,000
  • Application to open in early May 2021
  • Grant Guidelines
  • Deadline and Timeline

    The application deadline is 12PM noon on Friday, May 28, 2021. In fairness to all applicants, late or incomplete applications will not be considered.

    Applications will be reviewed and applicants will be notified of status by the end of June. Grant funds must be spent by June 30, 2022 at the latest, with required reporting at 6 months and at completion.

  • Eligibility

    Organizations with demonstrated experience working in NYC’s open space arena and annual operating budgets of more than $15,000 are eligible to apply to the NYC Green Fund Round 1 opportunity. An applicant may only be the lead on a single application, but may participate as a partner in other submissions. Joint applications from two or more organizations (with one identified as the lead recipient of funds) that propose to share services and/or solve problems jointly are welcomed. Organizations that received emergency funding from the NYC Green Fund in summer 2020 that still have open grants are eligible to apply, but 2020 funds must be spent and the final report received prior to receiving the next grant. 501(c)3 status is not required, applicants may utilize a fiscal sponsor. 

    Examples of eligible applicants include:

    • Park conservancies and alliances
    • Park programming organizations
    • NYC-based and focused park/open space advocacy organizations
    • Friends of groups with budgets larger than $15k
    • Organizations stewarding open spaces (including gardens, public plazas, water bodies, etc.)
  • Amount and Types of Support

    Grants of $10,000 to $50,000 will be awarded. Grant funds may be used to support spaces that are open to the public the majority of the time. This includes funding for:

    • organizational operations that help keep spaces open, provide adequate maintenance and care of the public space, and retain jobs
    • volunteer or service project coordination and supplies 
    • programs that employ vulnerable youth (Summer Youth Employment Program) and/or volunteers 
    • adapting to new health and safety guidelines and post-pandemic planning

    Eligible expenses include:

    • Staffing (full time/ part time/ seasonal/ internships/ apprenticeships/ etc.)  
    • Consultants, contractors, or professional fees 
    • Equipment and supplies 
    • Office expenses/ occupancy/ rent/ utilities 

    We do not fund: Electioneering, lobbying, or litigation.

  • Criteria

    Funding decisions will be based on: 

    • Equity and community served: Neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic, environmental justice communities, lower income communities, proposals that incorporate equity as a core value, and applicant organizations led by people of color will be prioritized. Priority will be given to applicants that are from and reflect the communities that the proposal serves.
    • Strategic alignment: The project aligns with the priorities of the grant as outlined. The proposal demonstrates clear and pressing need. Proposals that support open space maintenance and stewardship directly will be prioritized.
    • Feasibility: The intended outcomes or results of the proposal are feasible considering the activities and resources. The applicant is well-positioned to deliver on intended results and objectives and they have the relevant relationships needed to execute the proposed project. If a partnership application, the proposal demonstrates that the partnership is mutually beneficial to all parties involved. 
    • Budget: The project budget is reasonable considering the activities of the proposal and the applicant’s annual operating budget. The proposal demonstrates a clear and pressing funding need. Organizations with budgets less than $10M will be prioritized.
  • Grants Management

    City Parks Foundation (CPF) manages the day-to-day administration of the NYC Green Fund, which is governed by a steering committee of funders. Grants will be made from City Parks Foundation and all reporting information will be submitted to CPF.


2021 Grassroots Support

  • Open to organizations with demonstrated experience working in NYC’s open space arena and annual operating budgets of less than $15,000
  • Application opens in June for grants of $500 to $2000
  • Grant guidelines and application to be released in mid-June 2021


2021 Systemic Change Grants

  • Grant guidelines and application to be released in fall 2021


Generous private support is provided by the Albert Giving Fund in memory of Jean Albert, Altman Foundation,
Booth Ferris Foundation, Charina Endowment Fund, Con Edison, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The J.M. Kaplan Fund,
The JPB Foundation, Leon Levy Foundation, The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, Libra Fund,
Lily Auchincloss Foundation, The New York Community Trust, Prospect Hill Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fund,
Stavros Niarchos Foundation, The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, The Thompson Family Foundation,
& many philanthropic individuals.