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 Director of Trail Solutions, james [dot] clark [at] imba [dot] com (James Clark.)
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.
Show Your Trail Love, Spread The Word, Grow the Movement!
We’re making it easy for IMBA chapters and supporting partners to get the word out and grow the movement for more great places to ride. Everyone who rides on fat tires can join their voice with thousands of others for a mountain bike friendly world — start by linking IMBA’s Trail Love campaign to your site or Facebook page. Download banners, logos and graphics here: http://www.imba.com/resources/logos. Need something custom? Co-branded cards and banners are available for retailers and chapters. Trail Love pledge sheets are available for use at festivals and events. Contact membership [at] imba [dot] com for custom requests.
PeopleForBikes: The PeopleForBikes Community Grant Program provides funding for important and influential projects that leverage funding and build momentum for bicycling in communities across the U.S. These projects include bike paths and rail trails, as well as mountain bike trails, bike parks, BMX facilities, and large-scale bicycle advocacy initiatives.
REI and IMBA Teaming for Trails: Set up your organization's free webpage on IMBA.com and market your events via Teaming for Trails—the portal for your group's information, benefits, cash grants, CLIF bars for Trail work days and volunteer rewards. Registered groups will receive perks for your volunteers and nationwide promotion of your work days on a calendar and map. Read More on Teaming for Trails.
CLIF Bars for Trailwork Days: CLIF Bar generously supports IMBA chapters and supporting groups' 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 the menu at right). Other avenues for funding projects are outlined below:
1% for the Planet's mission is to build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet. They actively seek non-profit organizations to help them reach this goal. More information here.
The KEEN Effect supports projects and initiatives around the world that result in an increase of responsible outdoor participation. They define outdoor as any place without a ceiling. Approximately 25 non-profit organizations around the world will be granted a total of $100,000 to bring their projects to life. Applications are only being accepted from tax-exempt, not for profit organizations. More information here.
Specialized Dealer Grants: Specialized believes cycling advocacy starts local. Since bike shops are our ears and eyes in local communities, Specialized offers a Grant Program to help them make their communities better through cycling. If you are a registered non-profit and would like to work with one of Specialized's dealers in this regard, please read the information here.
The North Face Explore Fund: The Explore Fund grant cycle opens each spring and seeks to inspire and enable the next generation of outdoor explorers and conservationists. Since its founding in 2010, the Explore Fund has supported more than 350 grassroots organizations serving well over 100,000 young people in communities around the country. More information here.
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. More information here.
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. Never broadcast a boilerplate, standardized proposal to multiple foundations; each pitch should receive personalized attention. 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:
- Top Grantmaking Foundations by State
- Community Foundations by State
- Corporate Giving Programs by State
- State Government homepages
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 supports programs to initiate, expand, or enhance physical education, 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 supporters 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. 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 supporting groups 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 the IMBA Development team at development [at] imba [dot] com.
IMBA Regional Directors
- Anthony Duncan, Atlantic Regional Director, anthony [dot] duncan [at] imba [dot] com
- Tom Sauret, Southeast Regional Director, tom [dot] sauret [at] imba [dot] com
- Andy Williamson, Great Lakes Regional Director, andy [dot] williamson [at] imba [dot] com
- Michelle Barker, Midwest Regional Director, michelle [dot] barker [at] imba [dot] com
- Steve Schnieder, South Central Regional Director, steve [dot] schneider [at] imba [dot] com
- Patrick Kell, Southwest Regional Director, patrick [dot] kell [at] imba [dot] com
- Colorado/Wyoming, info [at] imba [dot] com
- Laurel Harkness, California/Hawaii Regional Director, laurel [dot] harkness [at] imba [dot] com (l)laurel [dot] harkness [at] imba [dot] com
- Michelle Barker, Pacific Regional Director, michelle [dot] barker [at] imba [dot] com
- Patrick Kell, Alaska Director, patrick [dot] kell [at] imba [dot] com