Park Pride matches grants for DeKalb parks

Parks in unincorporated DeKalb County, Atlanta, Brookhaven and Tucker have received matching funds from Park Pride for grants to enhance their parks as a part of Park Pride awarding nearly $1.4 million to Friends of the Park groups in Atlanta and DeKalb County.

Matching funds received for DeKalb County parks were given to Henderson Park, McKinley Peters Park and Kelley Cofer Park in Tucker; LaVista Park and Murphey Candler Park in Brookhaven; and Rehoboth Park and Sugar Creek golf and tennis center in unincorporated DeKalb County.

Park Pride works with individual Friends of the Park groups, which make improvements in their parks and work with local governments to have improvements and additions approved.

“We can’t just give the money to everybody,” said Park Pride Program Manager Elizabeth Bogue.

Instead, Park Pride pays the vendors who supply the material and reimburses the individual Friends of the Park groups.

Park Pride’s grants are funded privately, and they only give grants to Friends of the Park groups.

Friends of the Park groups also accept some funding from county commissioners.

“Those grants require matching funds to try to leverage new and additional investments,” Bogue said. “Matches can be from private sources, local fundraising, grants and they can also come from public sources. A lot of the county commissioners allocate some of their bond-funds to parks, and a lot of the Friends of the Park groups then use those funds to apply for matching grants from Park Pride.”

Park Pride also has different contracts with each jurisdiction to better serve them, according to Bogue.

Parks operated by Friends of the Park groups in Tucker and Brookhaven receive small change grants, and some parks in unincorporated DeKalb County are on the community building grant level.

Park Pride provides different levels of grants in different phases of development. These levels also determine the amount of funding the different parks can receive from Park Pride.

“First time applicants can only apply for grants of up to $10,000,” Bogue said. “The reason we do that is … the processes can be difficult to navigate … we really like the groups to learn the process with smaller grants and smaller stakes. We only pay out as groups spend their grants. Based on the rules for non-profits … we can’t just give the money to anybody.”

The difference in grant levels has to do with the amount of funds that will be matched, location of the park and the work the park has done with Park Pride in the past.

First time applicants usually fall into the small change grants category. This category matches funds up to $2,500 and only requires that parks have finished former Park Pride projects to stay eligible.

Community building grants will match funds between $2,500 and $50,000. In addition to having completed former Park Pride projects, this level requires the applying Friend of the Parks group to finish a webinar or seminar from Park Pride.

The legacy grant is only available to parks in the city of Atlanta and matches funds between $50,000 and $100,000.

In addition to providing funding and grants, Park Pride instructs Friends of the Park groups on how to apply for funding and grants on their own.

According to Bogue, providing financial counseling makes Park Pride different from many other park funding groups.


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