Kids need to play.
The Skatepark Project believes encouraging free play and providing youth with opportunities to develop active, healthy lifestyles are key to ensuring their well being. With childhood obesity rates more than tripling since 1980*, access to parks is no longer a luxury—it’s essential to the health of our children.
Children in low-income families are particularly at risk, in part because they have fewer opportunities to participate in organized sports leagues and activities. Fighting obesity has become a critical national priority, with long-term health risks including—but not limited to—heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, and even cancer**. More importantly, healthier kids are happier.
Two of the nation’s most prominent advocates for youth have joined together to address this issue. The Skatepark Project has partnered with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to promote the creation of free, public skateparks in the 16 counties of Southeast Michigan and Western New York served by RCWJRF.
With grant funds of up to $250,000, the Built to Play Skatepark Program supports community groups and municipalities seeking to create free, public skateparks that serve low-income communities. Built to Play Skatepark Grants also include an additional $50,000 to fund processes and design features that lessen the environmental impact of the skatepark. The Built to Play Skatepark Program also provides advisory services and advocacy training to assist groups in organizing and managing their efforts.
Only organizations seeking to build free, public skateparks in the 16 counties listed below are eligible to apply for the Built to Play Skatepark Grant:
Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
Communities outside of these counties may be eligible to apply for The Skatepark Project’s national Skatepark Grant program. More information about The Skatepark Project’s Skatepark Grant program can be found here.
While we realize that not every community can afford to build a world-class skatepark, we believe that every community deserves a quality facility created by experienced skatepark contractors. We believe that a small, excellent skatepark is better than a large, flawed one. We also believe that local officials should treat public skateparks the same way they treat public basketball courts or tennis courts, meaning that anyone may show up and use them during regular park hours, unsupervised. We know that kids everywhere love their local skateparks and that more skateparks will result in even more healthier, happier kids.
The Built to Play Skatepark Program primarily considers skatepark projects that:
- are designed and built from durable, low-maintenance materials by qualified and experienced skatepark contractors.
- include local skaters in leadership and volunteer roles throughout the planning, fundraising, and design process.
- will serve low- to middle-income areas and/or areas with a high population of “at-risk” youth.
- can demonstrate a strong grassroots commitment to the project.
- encourage skaters to look after their own safety and the safety of others without restricting their access to the park or over-regulating their use of it.
- are open during daylight hours, 365 days a year.
- don’t charge an entrance fee or require registration.
- are in areas that currently have no accessible skateboarding facilities .
- are committed to a process that minimizes the environmental impact of the skatepark.
SUPPLY VS. DEMAND
As the benefits of skateparks are felt within a community, the demand for grants from the Built to Play Skatepark Program will become increasingly competitive across the region. If your proposed skatepark does not reflect the priorities outlined above, your project is unlikely to receive a grant through this program.
Before beginning the Grant Application process, you should review these eligibility requirements. If you have questions and would like clarification of the qualities we seek, or would simply like to review your project with Built to Play Skatepark Program staff, contact us.
GRANT APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY
Can we apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant?
- If your project is not located in one of the 16 counties listed above, you are not eligible to apply for the Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If your organization is not a public charity (organized under IRC Sec. 501c3, and qualified under IRC Sec. 170b1A, or does not have an eligible fiscal sponsor, and does not have a Federal ID# number and an IRS Determination Letter to confirm your tax-exempt status) or your organization is not a state or local agency, including public school systems or public projects, you are not eligible to apply for the Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If your organization is not prepared to sign a Grant Agreement document absolving The Skatepark Project, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, the Community Foundation Of Greater Buffalo, and the Community Foundation Of Southeast Michigan from any and all liability claims resulting from use of your skatepark, you are not eligible to apply for the Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If your organization plans to build a skatepark from steel or wood ramps it is not eligible to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant. Your project must be a permanent, concrete skatepark.
- If your organization seeks funds for anything other than the construction of a new skatepark, adding to an existing skatepark, or replacing temporary skate elements with concrete, it is not eligible for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If the Median Household Income in the city, town, or neighborhood where the skatepark will be located in is significantly higher than your State’s Median Household Income (using U.S. Census 2010 data from www.census.gov), your organization may not be eligible to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If you plan to charge a fee, or require waivers, registration, or a membership to use the skatepark, your organization is not eligible to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- Aside from daylight hours, city curfew, or city park hours, if you plan to limit the hours of access to the skatepark, your organization is not eligible to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If your finished skatepark will not be located on public property, you are not eligible to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
- If you are not prepared to work with The Skatepark Project’s designated environmental-impact specialist to develop a planning process and skatepark design that minimizes the environmental impact of your skatepark, you are not eligible to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant.
FOCUS OF BUILT TO PLAY SKATEPARK GRANTS
The principal focus of Built to Play Skatepark Grants is to encourage and facilitate the design, development, and construction of new quality skateboard parks and facilities, located in eligible communities in the 16 counties served by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. Skatepark projects in communities outside this service area or those seeking funds for anything other than the construction of a skateboard park may not apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant. Built to Play-funded skatepark projects must also incorporate processes and design features that minimize the environmental impact of the skatepark.
The Built to Play Skatepark Grant Program provides matching funds up to $250,000, and in some cases, funding that does not require a match from the municipality or community. These Grants are to be used for the construction of public skateparks in eligible communities within the 16-county service area. An additional $50,000 will be added to each grant to fund processes and skatepark-design features that minimize the skatepark’s environmental impact (for a total grant of up to $300,000).
The Skatepark Project will advise and assist Built to Play Skatepark Grant recipients in every way possible, including community and civic engagement, site selection criteria, technical assistance on design and construction, promotional materials, and other information. TSP’s environmental-impact specialist will also consult with your approved skatepark designer to develop environmentally sensitive processes and design features. TSP may also facilitate other support from vendors, suppliers, and community leaders.
Grants are based on a one-time, single-year award. The Built to Play Skatepark Program does not provide sustaining funds or multi-year grants.
Applicant must be a public charity (ad hoc community groups may enlist a nonprofit fiscal sponsor to apply on their behalf), organized under IRC Sec. 501(C)(3), and qualified under IRC Sec. 170(B)(1)(A), or a state or local agency, including public school systems or public projects. For organizations that are not municipalities or state or local agencies, proof of federal tax-exempt status is required with the grant application. A photocopy or scan of the organization’s IRS Determination Letter, showing its tax-exempt status, will satisfy this requirement. The Skatepark Project is legally prohibited from providing grants to private, for-profit entities.
APPLICATION PROCEDURE AND PROCESS
We strongly encourage anyone who is planning to apply for a Built to Play Skatepark Grant to contact TSP staff for an initial discussion about your skatepark project before taking the steps outlined below.
To be invited to apply for a grant, interested parties must register their skatepark project and submit a Letter of Inquiry through our grant management software.
Click here to register your project
If you have questions at any point during the application process, please contact TSP staff for guidance.
Once your LOI is received, you will be contacted by TSP staff. If approved, you will be invited to complete the online Built to Play Skatepark Grant application.
The final step in the application process is an online interview with TSP staff. This is where we can get clarification on anything not covered in your project’s LOI and Grant application, and determine the likelihood of your application being successful.
Built to Play Skatepark Grants are awarded quarterly. Your Letter of Inquiry can be submitted at any time.
* National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, NCHS Health E-Stat, Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963-1965 Through 2007-2008, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (cdc.gov).
** Source: “Overweight And Obesity: Health Consequences,” United States Department Of Health And Human Services (surgeongeneral.gov).
The Skatepark Project
The The Skatepark Project helps underserved communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth. In the U.S., the Organization supports the creation of public skateboard parks that promote healthy, active lifestyles.
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation
Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. believed effective change should make an impact from the start, yet carry long into the future. To do both, he earmarked a portion of his estate and the eventual sale of his beloved Buffalo Bills to fund his namesake foundation. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation began operations in 2015 to continue his legacy—one of generosity and innovation, healthy risk-taking and collaboration, and an unshakeable community focus.
We Want To Hear From You!
Questions or comments regarding the Built to Play Skatepark Program can be sent to BTP@skatepark.org.
Does Your Community Need A Playground?
The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and KaBOOM! have partnered to launch the Built to Play Unique Playground Builds program and Play Everywhere Challenge to create innovative opportunities for play. KaBOOM! is the national nonprofit dedicated to giving all kids the childhood they deserve through great, safe places to play.