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Pathways Program

2024 Grant Application and Guidelines


An equitable and resilient network of parks and open spaces to benefit the well-being of all New Yorkers.

Program Description 

The NYC Green Fund’s Pathways grants program supports efforts to build a more equitable and vibrant park and open space system in two main ways: 

(1) By enabling sustained funding for New York City’s parks and open spaces and their non-profit partners. 

(2) By implementing system-wide policies and programs that bring long-term sustainability for non-governmental partners. 

Among other things, success would entail the City's adoption of systemic tools which result in more funding for and greater power-sharing with less-resourced communities, parks and partners. To achieve that, the Pathways grants can also support efforts to build a broad coalition of civic and governmental support for objectives (1) and (2) above.

Projects may be proposed by individual organizations or entities working collaboratively (one lead applicant must be identified for grant and fiscal management purposes), may involve multi-year efforts, and may work with the NYC Green Fund throughout the grant cycle to make adjustments that support reaching the project’s target goal. Organizations need not be exclusively focused on parks or open spaces, but Pathways grant funds must support the parks and open space-related goals above. 

For organizations focused instead on activating and caring for publicly owned parks and open spaces, please review our Grants webpage to see upcoming funding opportunities.

Key Dates

This is a two-part application process:

  • A letter of inquiry (LOI) will be due by 12pm noon on Thursday, March 7, 2024, via City Parks Foundation’s Grant and Funding Opportunity Portal

  • After a panel review, if your proposed application is deemed eligible and aligned with program priorities, we may ask you to attend a meeting of applicants on April 2, 2024. Please save the date. If your organization or proposed poject does not meet our program’s eligibility and priorities, we will notify you as soon as possible.

  • For those invited to submit, a full proposal will be due by 12pm noon on Monday, May 6, 2024 (extended).


The NYC Green Fund has supported projects that help identify potential opportunities for open spaces to identify ways to make change and build a case for support. We encourage applicants to read through the following resources  and discuss ideas with others in the field.

Applicant Eligibility

The 2024 NYC Green Fund Pathways program is open to organizations, coalitions, or collaborations of organizations. The lead applicant must have a demonstrated history of advancing parks and open spaces in New York City, and of managing funds from foundations and/or government sources and follow both funder and nonprofit lobbying restrictions. Government agencies are not eligible to apply as a lead applicant, but may be a project partner. 

If you currently have an active grant from City Parks Foundation, please contact nycgreenfund@cityparksfoundation.org to determine your eligibility to apply for a Pathways grant. Past NYC Green Fund grant recipients must submit final reports before requesting additional funding. 

Project Eligibility

Projects must focus on at least one of the programmatic priorities set forth under the “Program Description” section above.

Examples of eligible activities include work to advance programmatic priorities by:

  • Identifying, developing, and piloting legal, contractual, and policy mechanisms.
  • Encouraging and deepening relationships with a multi-tiered, citywide constituency of park supporters and/or public space allies.
  • Developing and disseminating research, messaging, or communications strategies that resonate with the broader public.


The NYC Green Fund will award up to 8 grants between $50,000 to $150,000 per year, for up to two years, pending funding availability.  

The NYC Green Fund Pathways grant program focuses on supporting activities that would not be possible without additional funding. The average grant size in 2023 was $51,000, and the largest grant awarded was $85,000. 

Scoring Criteria and Priorities

Applications are scored by and grant decisions are made by a panel of experts in the field and funders of the NYC Green Fund. Applications will be scored based on the following: 

  • Strategic alignment: 

    • The extent to which the activities outlined in the proposal align with or support achieving one or both of the long-term goals of the Pathways program.

  • Communities Served: 

    • How your project serves an under-resourced community, or will help address systemic inequities in the public realm.

  • Feasibility:

    • The intended outcomes of the proposal are feasible considering the applicant’s resources, relationships, and experience. 
    • If a joint application, the proposal demonstrates meaningful collaboration between all parties involved. 
  • Budget: 

    • The proposal should demonstrate a clear and pressing funding need. Budgets should focus on expenses that support activities that would not be possible without additional funding.
    • For solo applicants, applications should request at most 25% of their annual operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year. 
    • For joint applicants, applications should request at most 25% of their combined operating budget for the most recently completed fiscal year.


The following considerations will be prioritized, but are not required for program eligibility. The inclusion of these priorities does not assure the applying applicant funding. 

  • Whether the project focuses on properties identified as NYC Parks property
  • Whether the applicant organization is led by individuals who identify as Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (e.g., BIPOC Executive Director, or 51% BIPOC Board, or 51% senior staff).

Types of Expenses

Eligible expenses include:

  • Staffing costs, including fringe benefits (full-time/part-time/ seasonal/ internships/ apprenticeships/ etc.)  
  • Consultants, contractors, or professional fees 
  • Equipment and supplies 
  • Marketing and outreach costs

Ineligible expenses include: 

  • Maintenance work
  • Public programming unrelated to policy change and/or project piloting
  • Electioneering
  • Lobbying
  • Litigation


Grant recipients will be required to submit interim and final narrative and financial reports and may be asked for periodic project updates to share with funders of the NYC Green Fund and/or with the NYC Parks and Open Space Partners coalition. Final reports must describe the work results, final budget, and deliverables and include photos of the project (if relevant).

Grants Management

Grants will be made by City Parks Foundation and all reporting information will be submitted to City Parks Foundation, which manages the day-to-day administration of the NYC Green Fund on behalf of a steering committee of funders. 

For more information

For more information, visit CityParksFoundation.org or email NYCGreenFund@cityparksfoundation.org