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Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums (ZBGA) Program

Grants to New York Nonprofits and Municipal Agencies
for the Operation of Zoos, Aquariums, and Botanical Gardens

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)

Deadline Date:

03/29/19 5:00 PM ET


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Grants to New York nonprofit and municipal zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens to support organizational operations and programming. Nonprofit applicants must prequalify in the online grants system prior to applying. The purpose of this program is to provide stable, annual funding to qualifying organizations. Applicants will be evaluated on fiscal and administrative strength, the quality of collections, and level of service to the public.

The Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program (ZBGA) is administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The ZBGA Program, which is funded through annual appropriations from the state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), provides the stimulus to develop educational, cultural and recreational programs interpreting our natural heritage as well as support for the permanent collections of eligible institutions, throughout the State of New York.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179142

Estimated Size of Grant:

New eligible institutions that enter the program in years four and five will be given an introductory grant of $15,000 until the next application cycle.

To accommodate new eligible institutions, as well as make adjustments if any organizations drop out of the program in years four and five of this grant cycle, grants may be further pro-rated; however, no eligible organization will receive less than the $35,000 minimum.

Regardless of the results of the grant award calculations, in no case will an institution receive an award more than one third of the organization’s total operating budget. In addition, there will be a maximum award to any applicant/parent organization of no more than one third of the annual appropriation.

Term of Contract:

This intake is for a two-year contract term: April 1, 2019 - March 31, 2021.

This grant application is for mid-cycle entrance into a five year grant program that began with SFY 2016-17.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:


Municipalities and not-for-profit organizations which own, house or care for living or systematically organized collections of objects of natural origin and which primarily provide such services to the general public on a regular and predictable basis are eligible for funding under the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program.

For narrative purposes within this application, such organizations are referred to as Natural Heritage Institutions, and the collections which they own, manage and interpret for the public are referred to as Natural Heritage Collections.

For definitions of these terms as they are applied to the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program, please see page 3 of the Guidelines in Supporting Documents.

In addition, each applicant must meet ALL of the following criteria in order to be eligible for the program:

-Be a municipality or a not-for-profit organization;
-Exist on a permanent basis to act as or for a Natural Heritage Institution;
-Have, as a primary purpose, an ongoing and robust education program that: services children and adults, utilizes the Natural Heritage Collection and, adhere to the Standards and Practices for Interpretive Methods as set forth by the National Association for Interpretation;
-Support a facility from which to operate these programs and interpret the collection that is:
-Open to the general public on a regular and predictable basis for at least seven consecutive months of the year,
-And has a continual full schedule of programs and services for the public during that time;
-Have well-defined program goals;
-Support an organized and systematic program for care of the collection, in accordance with State and Federal standards;
-Have proven financial, administrative and public service stability for a minimum of three years;
-Conduct all institutional operations in accordance with requirements of Title VI of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of the Rehabilitation Act of 1963, as amended, which bar discrimination on the basis of race, age, color, nationality, handicap or place of residence;
-Hold all captive animals and plants in accordance with State and Federal laws and maintain them in accordance with current professional standards of humane treatment and conservation;
-If affiliated with a larger organization, the applicant must have a separate budget; and
-Comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Minority and Women-Owned Business
Enterprise (M/WBE) requirements of Article 15A of the Executive Law.

Program Restrictions:

The following entities, programs and activities are not eligible for funding under the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Program:

Ineligible Entities and Programs:
-Natural history or history museums or collections;
-Art museums;
-Science-technology centers, museums or collections;
-For-profit organizations;
-Gardens and plantings which are primarily decorative, ornamental or commercial;
-Programs primarily concerned with horticulture (the culture of plants for food, comfort, or beauty);
-Programs which deal primarily with interpretation, utilization and/or maintenance of genetically
domesticated plants and/or animals;
-Public school districts or their components;
-Archeological or anthropological museums or collections;
-Federal agencies and their programs;
-New York State agencies and departments;

Ineligible Activities:
-Research projects;
-Land acquisitions;
-Program activities solely restricted to or directed towards an organization’s membership or clients;
-Lobbying or political activities;
-Fundraising activities;
-Collection acquisitions;
-Rescue and/or rehabilitation;
-Food services;
-Overhead and other indirect expenses.

Organizations with less than $45,000 in operating expenses are not eligible.

NOTE: Institutions with collections or programs which include both eligible and ineligible categories and otherwise meet all program eligibility criteria are eligible ONLY for assistance in areas relating to the natural heritage portions of their collections and public service programs.

Pre-Application Information:

Applications due by 5:00 p.m. ET on March 29, 2019

Grants Reform procedures require all applications to be developed and submitted online through the NYS Grants Gateway. For further information please see page 6 of the Guidelines in Supporting Documents below.

All NYS grant applicants must be registered in the NYS Grants Gateway. Registration is NOT an online process. Register now to allow time for processing. On the Grants Management Website at download a copy of the Registration Form for Administrator.

In addition to registering, not-for-profit organizations must also complete the Vendor Prequalification process in the Grants Gateway to be considered eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. Government entities and public authorities are currently not required to complete the Vendor Prequalification Process.

For a summary of the steps to complete the prequalification requirements please see page 7 of the Guidelines in the Supporting Documents below. The Vendor User Manual on the Grants Management website at provides additional information and instruction.

Refer to Section 2.2 of the “Vendor User Manual”, located on the Grants Management website at, for instructions on creating user roles in the Grants Gateway system. This step MUST be completed to submit an application in the Grants Gateway.

Additional registration and prequalification information, including a video tutorial, is available on the Grants Management website at

OPRHP will reimburse expenses on a quarterly or annual basis, dependent upon the award amount.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

The Grants Gateway can be accessed at:

For additional information contact:
Ian Benjamin
ZBGA Program Assistant

Funding or Pin Number:

Grant Opportunity ID: PRK01-ZBGA19-2019

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York