Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO)
Grants to Washington nonprofits and agencies to purchase land and restore and refurbish outside athletic facilities such as ball fields, courts, swimming pools, BMX tracks, and skate parks. The program focuses on serving youth through the age of 18. However, applicants are strongly encouraged to design facilities to serve all ages and multiple activities.
YAF has the following two categories:
- Small Grants: For small communities with projects where the total project cost does not
exceed $150,000 and the grant request is not larger than $75,000.
- Large Grants: Grant requests from $25,000 to $350,000.
I(n order to provide fields, sports courts, and other athletic facilities to meet the needs of Washingtonians, the Youth Athletic Facilities grant program was created to offer grants to acquire, develop, and improve community athletic facilities.
Typical projects include:
- Adding lights to a field to allow evening games
- Changing an underused tennis court to a high-demand basketball court
- Changing the field surface, such as installing artificial turf, to allow more games per season or extend the number of seasons the field is in use
- Expanding a youth-sized softball field to accommodate broader community uses
- Reorienting a softball field so it can accommodate another athletic activity such as soccer.
- Land acquisition with renovation of existing facilities
- Outdoor athletic fields, such as baseball, field hockey, football, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and softball
- Outdoor sport courts such as tennis, basketball, handball, bocce, and ice hockey
- Pools for competitive events
- Areas associated with track and field events
- “In bounds” items such as playing surfaces, goals, nets, bases, pitching mounds, fences and backstops for softball and baseball, irrigation, drainage, and field lighting
- Support elements such as landscaping, restrooms, drinking fountains, bleachers, bike racks, scoreboards, signs, roads, driveways, fire lanes, and parking lots
- Architectural and engineering costs.
GrantWatch ID#: 147288
- Small Grants: Up to $75,000 (total project cost must be no greater than $150,000)
- Large Grants: $25,000 - $350,000
Who can apply?
Large Grants Category:
- Park districts
- Native American tribes
- Non-profit organizations active in youth or community athletic activities for at least 3 years
Small Grants Category:
- Cities, towns, and park districts with a population of 10,000 residents or fewer.
- Counties with 60,000 residents or fewer. The project must be in an unincorporated area.
- Native American tribes
- For nonprofit organizations, the population of the jurisdiction where the project lies will apply.
A “qualified nonprofit organization” is one that meets each of the following criteria:
- Is registered with the Washington Secretary of State as a nonprofit corporation
- Has been active in youth or community athletic activities for a minimum of 3 years
- Does not exclusively use the facilities paid for through this program. The organization must allow public access to the facility funded.
- Does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, gender, disability, or income. For example, “boys only” or “girls only” organizations would not be eligible to apply for a grant.
The Recreation and Conservation Funding Board requires all organizations wishing to apply for a grant for the first time to submit a legal opinion that the applicant is eligible to do all of the following:
- Receive and expend public funds, including funds from the Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.
- Contract with the State of Washington and the United States of America.
- Meet any statutory definitions required for Recreation and Conservation Funding Board grant programs.
- Acquire and manage interests in real property for public outdoor recreation purposes.
- Develop and provide stewardship for structures or facilities eligible under Recreation and Conservation Funding Board rules or policies.
- Undertake planning activities incidental thereto.
- Commit the applicant to statements made in any grant proposal.
The legal opinion is required only once to establish eligibility in the YAF program.
The following project elements are examples of ineligible elements for funding consideration:
- Indoor facilities (gyms, courts, pools, ice rinks, etc.)
- Mobile surface irrigation systems or supplies
- Operation and maintenance costs
- Projects that include only “out of bounds” elements
- Any facility intended primarily for professional sport
- Any project intended to only benefit a school district’s or nonprofit organization’s facility needs
- Consumable supplies (paint, chalk, light bulbs, fertilizer, toilet paper, etc.)
- Concession buildings
- Elements that cannot be defined as fixtures or capital items (balls, cones,
- Costs not directly related to implementing the project such as indirect and
overhead charges, or unrelated mitigation
- Purchase of maintenance equipment, tools, or supplies
- Stand-alone acquisitions
- Acquisition or combination projects in the Small Grants Category
- Multiple Small Grants Category applications at the same facility or location in the same biennium
- A Small Grants Category project that is part of a larger athletic facility
development or renovation project
- Properties acquired via a condemnation action of any kind
RCO offers grants in even-numbered years, in conjunction with the state budget. RCO pays grants through reimbursement. You may request reimbursement only after you have paid your employees and vendors. RCO does not provide money before vendors are paid.
To apply, follow the instructions at https://rco.wa.gov/grants/apply_for_grant.shtml.
Applications Due: May 1, 2018
Technical Review: May 1-31, 2018
Technical Completion Deadline: July 13, 2018
Project Evaluation (written): August 3-24, 2018
Board Meeting – Lists Approved: October 17-18, 2018
Board Meeting - Grants Awarded: July 2019
In general, RCO does not limit the number of grant proposals from a single applicant during the biennial grant cycle. However, each application must be for only one park location or site. Each application may contain one or more eligible activities.
Land acquired with these grants must be kept available forever for outdoor recreation purposes. Land or facilities renovated with these grants must be available for public youth or community athletic use for at least 20 years after RCO accepts the project as complete.
Long term obligations:
A grant applicant must contribute match that equals the amount of the grant request. This is called providing a 50 percent matching share. At least 10 percent of the total project cost (grant amount plus match) must be from a non-state, non-federal contribution. Match may include, but is not limited to:
- Appropriations or cash
- Donations of cash, and, labor, equipment, and materials
- Federal, state, local, and private grants
- Applicant’s labor, equipment, and materials
Some local agencies may reduce their match if they meet any of the criteria below:
- Communities in need
- Underserved populations
- Counties in need
- Federal disaster area
Matching shares of more than an amount equal to the amount requested are encouraged. Applicants can earn more points in the evaluations if they demonstrate matching shares that are 55 percent or more of the total project costs.
Grant application materials:
Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.
Recreation and Conservation Office
1111 Washington Street SE
P.O. Box 40917
Olympia, Washington 98504-0917
TDD (360) 902-1996
Karl Jacobs, Grants Manager