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Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program

Grants to Santa Clara County, California Nonprofits,
Schools, and Agencies to Promote Parks and Open Spaces

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

01/12/18 11:59 PM Receipt


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Grants starting at $25,000 to Santa Clara County, California nonprofit organizations, schools and school districts, and government agencies to promote park areas and open spaces within the funding source's service area. Eligible projects involve environmental restoration and stewardship; trails, parks, and public access; environmental education; and urban agriculture and food systems.

This program provides funding for open space protection in the Cities of Campbell, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Clara and unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. Projects must take place within the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s boundaries.

The purpose of this Grant Program is to create healthy and safe open space and park areas in cities and unincorporated urban areas within the Authority’s boundaries by:

-Creating or improving parks
-Preserving open space and maintaining or creating trails
-Enhancing and restoring habitat, natural resources and water resources
-Enhancing access to healthy food through urban farms and gardens
-Developing environmental education programs or facilities

The Grant Program is also intended to promote investments in underserved, disadvantaged, and park-poor neighborhoods and to more equitably distribute the benefits of nature throughout the diverse communities and neighborhoods within the Authority’s jurisdiction. Through the Understanding Our Community assessment project, the Authority identified several priority “Deep Engagement Communities,” which are areas with the greatest barriers to access of open space (due to, for example, language barriers and lack of personal vehicles) and the greatest environmental burdens (such as air pollution levels). Projects that address open space needs of Deep Engagement Communities or sensitive populations will be awarded bonus points.

Grant Project Categories:

The Santa Clara Valley Greenprint and the Measure Q Expenditure Plan include numerous examples of projects that are eligible for funding through the Grants Program, which can be characterized by elements that fall within the four Project Categories shown below. Examples of the types of project elements that could be considered for funding within each of the Project Categories are provided for illustrative purposes only. Proposed projects must demonstrate elements within one or more of these Categories to qualify for the Program.

Environmental Stewardship and Restoration:

In general, this broad category includes green infrastructure and natural resources projects. Some examples include:
-Planning, design, and/or implementation of habitat restoration and enhancement projects
-Restoration of wetlands, floodplains, riparian areas
-Urban forestry, canopy census, and tree planting projects
-Integrating open space with stormwater management using rain gardens, bioswales, permeable pavement, green roofs, etc.

Parks, Trails, and Public Access:

This includes parks and trails projects as well as projects which add to the connectivity between existing open space areas. Some examples include:
-Planning, design and construction of new parks, trails, and open space facilities
-Conversion of brownfields or vacant lots into parks or preserves
-Conversion of underutilized parking, street width, or public right of way into pocket parks, parklets, or linear parks
-Trails, bike lanes, and bicycle transit programs including bike share programs
-Trail sections which close gaps in the existing trail network
-Public nature-themed art that inspires understanding and appreciation of nature

Environmental Education:

This includes both education facilities and educational programs. Some examples include:
-Nature centers and environmental education facilities
-Life labs, gardens, and school greening projects
-Transportation and access to Authority preserves
-Job training related to protection and stewardship of the natural environment, wildlife, water resources and agricultural lands
-Citizen science programs
-Nature-based learning through field tours and hands-on stewardship projects
-Nature-based playgrounds for unstructured outdoor play

Urban Agriculture / Food Systems:

This includes projects related to cultivating, and distributing food grown within the urban areas. Some examples include:
-Planning, design and implementation of urban farms and community gardens
-Farm education and access programs such as farm trails
-On-farm research and demonstration projects that balance agricultural production with
environmental protection and enhancement

Grant Project Types:

Three broad project types that are eligible in the grant program are below. Grant projects can combine two or more project types if desired (e.g. building a new community garden AND creating an environmental education program on site).

Capital Improvement:
-Improvements to real property, including, but not limited to: improvements, rehabilitation, restoration, and enhancement.
-Land acquisition is not eligible under this grant program.

-A project that includes planning activities only. This might include community outreach, needs assessments, coordination with stakeholders, or site analysis.
-Planning projects generally result in a final report.

-Social and educational programs, such as classes, training, or special events (e.g. creek clean-up day).

Eligible Projects:

Eligible projects must achieve at least one of the purposes established in the Measure Q Expenditure Plan:
-Protect and enhance open space, wildlife habitat and wildlife corridors, and develop land for nature-based parks, open space preserves, trails and greenbelts.
-Create, develop and implement pedestrian and bicycle trail connections to connect urban communities to local and regional parks, Open Space Preserves, creeks and flood control channels, to improve public health.
-Implement urban tree planting and tree protection/maintenance.
-Create and expand urban farms and community gardens to support public health and local agriculture.
-Expand nature and science-based environmental education programs and hands-on youth engagement projects.

Additionally, eligible projects must:
-Be consistent with the Authority’s enabling legislation [Division 26, Sections 35100-35174 of the Public Resources Code].
-Support the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint goals and objectives
-Comply with all applicable California laws, including California law concerning prevailing wages
-Meet all Grant Project Requirements outlined in the guidelines document

Highly Desired Project Elements:
-Projects with multiple benefits (i.e. provides benefits in more than one area: wildlife, habitat, water quality, education, social justice, etc.)
-Projects featuring sustainable materials and practices
-Projects benefitting underserved communities
-Projects implemented through partnerships with other agencies and groups
-Projects with strong public support
-Projects with emphasis on community building
-Projects in more than one category (e.g. Environmental Education and Urban Agriculture)
-Projects that provide opportunities for free public access

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182466

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Anticipated grants awarded: 5 - 10 grants

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Fiscal Year 2017-2018 grants range from $25,000 to $100,000.

Term of Contract:

The grant period begins when the grant agreement is fully executed (signed and dated by all parties) and extends for three years. Expenses incurred before or after the grant period cannot be billed to the grant.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants for Measure Q grant funding are:
-Local public agencies, including the Cities of Campbell, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, Santa Clara and San Jose, Santa Clara County, and special districts. State and Federal agencies are not eligible.
-Private, nonprofit organizations that qualify under Section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. The Authority will accept applications from nonprofit organizations headquartered outside of its boundaries, but all projects and programs funded through Measure Q must be located within the Authority’s boundaries.
-Local schools and school districts located within the Authority’s boundaries.

Fiscal Sponsor:
If your organization does not have a tax-exempt ruling from the IRS, you can apply for a grant through a qualified fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that agrees to accept and be responsible for grant funds on behalf of another organization. If a fiscal sponsor is used, the fiscal sponsor is considered the legal applicant and therefore is responsible for all legal aspects of the grant.

Ineligible Elements:
-Projects may NOT include long term maintenance or any practices that are required as mitigation of any kind.
-Projects by public agencies CANNOT be related to ongoing maintenance or repair of City or County parkland, open space, or facilities.
-Projects by public agencies CANNOT be projects for which public funds have previously been allocated.
-Developed facilities (structures, parking lots, etc.) may be included but will be evaluated to ensure that the developed footprint is balanced with the overall benefits.
-Land acquisition.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Authority will hold two public information workshops to provide an overview of the grant and the application process. Participation is recommended but not mandatory.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 5:30 - 7:00 PM, Tully Branch Library, 880 Tully Rd, San Jose
-If you would like a real-time Spanish or Vietnamese translator at the December 5 meeting, please register by November 21 and select the Spanish Translation or Vietnamese Translation when registering.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 1:00 - 2:30 PM
-This workshop is online only. Please register to receive the link and access code.

Pre-Application Information:

The total funding available for Measure Q Urban Open Space awards in FY 17-18 is $400,000. The Authority expects to award between 5-10 grants, aiming for a diversity of project types. The Authority will also have a second Measure Q grant program focused on Environmental Education. Details will be available online once they are finalized.

A minimum match of 33% of the grant request is required. This can be through a cash match and/or an in-kind match.

All applications for funding must be received by 11:59 PM on January 12, 2018.

Estimated Grant Timeline:
-November 1, 2017: Grant application packet released
-December 5 and 6, 2017: Public Workshops
-January 12, 2018: Grant applications due by 11:59 PM
-January 15 - February 2, 2018: Staff screens applications
-February 5 - February 9, 2018: Staff shares eligible applications with Review Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for review
-February 5 - February 23, 2018: Review Committee prepares preliminary award recommendations
-February 26, 2018: Review Committee preliminary award recommendations shared with the CAC in public meeting materials
-March 19, 2018: CAC meeting to review all eligible applications (Applicants strongly encouraged to attend)
-March 20 - April 13, 2018: CAC prepares written recommendations for the Board
-March 20 - April 13, 2018: Review Committee makes final award recommendations
-April 19, 2018: CAC and Review Committee recommendations shared with the Board in public meeting materials Award decisions.
-May 10, 2018: Staff recommendations and CAC feedback presented to the Board of Directors for award decisions

Application information:

Grant Eligibility Map:

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Board District Map

Contact Information:

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

Register for the December 5 workshop:

Register for the December 6 workshop:

Apply Online:

Megan Dreger, Grants Administrator
(408) 224-7476

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Cities of Campbell, Milpitas, Morgan Hill, San Jose, Santa Clara and unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County. Projects must take place within the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s boundaries.