Grants and Fundraising
The resources below are compiled by IMBA to help you identify funding sources for trail projects and related work. Check back frequently, as we update this page with new opportunities on a regular basis. If you have questions related to trail planning, design or construction, please contact IMBA's Trail Solutions director, chris [dot] bernhardt [at] imba [dot] com (Chris Bernhardt) or Development Director, rich [dot] cook [at] imba [dot] com (Rich Cook).
Many local mountain bike organizations have become skilled at hosting events that combine riders’ desires to have fun with supporting a good cause. Consider adding a "fun-raising" component to your trailwork events, group rides and festivals. Here's an example of a successful event run by MORE, the MOCO Epic.
REI and IMBA Teaming for Trails: Set up your clubs free webpage on IMBA.com and market your events via Teaming for Trails--the portal for club information, benefits, cash grants, CLIF bars for Trail work days and volunteer rewards. Registered clubs will receive perqs for your volunteers and nationwide promotion of your work days on a calendar and map. +Read More
CLIF Bars for Trailwork Days: CLIF Bar generously supports IMBA clubs and chapters volunteer work days with donated CLIF Bars. Register your organization with Teaming for Trails to gain eligibility and help us engage communities in volunteerism. To order bars for your next volunteer day click here.
IMBA Grants: IMBA offers several grant programs (see menu at right). Other avenues for funding volunteer projects are outlined below:
NEW! The North Face Explore Fund: The categories in which applicants will fall, are Access to front and back country recreation, Connection, of more people to the outdoors, and Education for personal and environmental health. Visit www.explorefund.org to learn more and apply!
The National Environmental Education Foundation offers Every Day Grants to strengthen the capacity of non-profit volunteer groups focused on serving public lands and the improvement and responsible use of those sites. These $5,000 capacity building grants are offered two times per year. Visit http://www.neefusa.org/grants/every_day_grants.htm
Kodak American Greenways Awards. Eastman Kodak Company, The Conservation Fund, and the National Geographic Society team up each year to present the Kodak American Greenways Awards Program. One major element of the Program involves "seed" grant awards to organizations that are growing our nation's network of greenways, blueways, trails, and natural areas. Organizations can receive up to $2,500 in grant funds. See details and application form...
Bikes Belong Coalition: The bicycle industry is well served by Bikes Belong, a non-profit organization with the goal of "putting more people on bikes, more often."
Bike Industry Grants: Many companies in the cycling industry offer grants for mountain bike clubs and other volunteer-based organizations. One outstanding example is the Specialized Dealer Grants program.
Corporate Grants: Be certain you connect your project to the targeted corporation's business objectives. REI's grant program provides a great example: Each store has the discretion to award grants for worthy local projects, and they also do a great job of inspiring their employees to get out and volunteer.
Foundations: Writing a winning pitch is time consuming, so study the targeted foundation's grant-making criteria before diving into the process. Foundations are just like people — they deserve personalized attention. Never broadcast a boilerplate, standardized proposal to multiple foundations. Visit the Foundation Center for a directory and resources. Most states also have a foundation center or non-profit center with a directory of regional grantmakers, such as the Community Resource Center (CO) and Georgia Foundation Center.
The Grantsmanship Center is another excellent resource to locate:
Government Grants: Government grants require a comprehensive application and reporting process. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Recreational Trails Program (RTP) is a key source for trails projects. Funds are administered at the State government level and require matching funds. Grants made at the county and municipal level are often more straightforward than federal programs, and may be a good match for trails projects that are connected to public recreation.
2012 PEP Grants (U.S. Dept of Education, Carol M. White Physical Education Program): Do you work in the realm of K-12 physical education and want to start a mountain biking program? This grant has been approved for 2012 with $78 Million in funding for programs to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education programs, including after-school programs, for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Grant recipients must implement programs that help students make progress toward meeting state standards. Funds may be used to provide equipment and support to enable students to participate actively in physical education activities. Funds also may support staff and teacher training and education. Read More to apply...
Grant Resource SPARK: SPARK is a resource and directory for grants, useful in developing funds for youth programs.
BLM Grants and Programs: IMBA clubs that cooperate with their Bureau of Land Management (BLM) field office are advised to discuss possible grant opportunities with local BLM staff under the BLM's "Take it Outside" initiative to get more kids active on BLM trails.
National Park Service: Every year, the National Park Service helps hundreds of locally-driven projects that create opportunities for healthy outdoor recreation, connect youth with the outdoors, and connect communities to parks. Rivers, Trails, & Conservation Assistance from the National Park Service provides no funding, but experienced staff can help communities plan for success. Applications for technical assistance will be accepted until August 1, 2011. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their project ideas with a staff member in your area before preparing an application. Visit www.nps.gov/rtca for complete information and application.
U.S. Forest Service Programs: IMBA clubs that cooperate with their local Forest Service district are advised to discuss possible Challenge Cost Share Agreements with their local district staff under the Forest Service USDA. The US Forest Service has a partnership resource center describing other opportunities.
The National Forest Foundation (NFF) provides financial support to qualified non-profit organizations and raises funds to enhance contributions to local conservation initiatives. Opportunities exist throughout the year for non-profit organizations to receive funding for stewardship projects or start-up costs.
IMBA is a National Organization partner of the National Trails Training Partnership and helps support a resource library on grants and fundraising with dozens of leads, articles and ideas. Here you'll find resources on grant programs, funding ideas, grant writing, federal funding, project case studies and tips for organizing volunteers.
If you have questions about funding a trail project, contact an IMBA Regional Director or IMBA Development Director, rich [dot] cook [at] imba [dot] com (Rich Cook).
IMBA Regional Directors
- Patrick Kell, Southwest Regional Director, patrick [dot] kell [at] imiba [dot] com">patrick [dot] kell [at] imba [dot] com
- Adam Coppola, North East Regional Director, adam [dot] coppola [at] imba [dot] com>">adam [dot] coppola [at] imba [dot] com
- Hansi Johnson, Midwest Regional Director, hansi [dot] johnson [at] imba [dot] com
- Anna Laxague, Pacific Northwest Regional Director, anna [dot] laxague [at] imba [dot] com
- Frank Maguire, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, frank [dot] maguire [at] imba [dot] com
- Tom Sauret, Southeast/SORBA Regional Director, tom [dot] sauret [at] imba [dot] com
- Andy Williamson, Great Lakes Regional Director, andy [dot] williamson [at] imba [dot] com">andy [dot] williamson [at] imba [dot] com
- Tom Ward, Northern California Regional Director, tom [at] imba [dot] com">tom [at] imba [dot] com