Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson
> Departments > Natural Resources > Open Lands Program > Small Grants for Community Partnering

Small Grants for Community Partnering

Up to $3,000 per project per year

Initiated in 1997, today the Small Grants for Community Partnering (SGCP) program is an inherent part of the Natural Resources Open Lands Program as a way to give back a portion of the Help Preserve Open Spaces 1/4-cent sales tax funds directly to communities throughout Larimer County. Since 2008, through 2017, Larimer County has awarded $267,453 to 181 community and neighborhood projects that connect people to the land.

Application deadline is Thursday, September 7 by 4:00 p.m.

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply, with just a few exceptions and parameters:

  1. Government agencies already receiving Help Preserve Open Spaces tax dollars may not apply directly.
  2. For projects on public lands and for government agencies — excluding educational institutions — the applicant must be a 501c3 non-profit or other non-governmental entity with an active, leadership role in the project.
  3. Together with the grant application, all affected landowners must agree in writing with the project. Homeowners' and Property Owners' Associations must submit a copy of board meeting minutes approving the project. Educational institutions must provide a letter from the appropriate facilities director agreeing to the specific project.

How to apply

A completed application will be a combination of our documents and yours. Review the instructions first, which will walk you through the rest of the application requirements.

  1. Application Instructions
  2. Application Cover Sheet
  3. Budget Worksheet:

Please contact Jennifer Almstead at or (970) 619-4569 with any questions.


  1. Proposed projects must be in accordance with the mission of the Larimer County Open Lands Program and fall into one or more of the five Small Grants for Community Partnering categories listed below:

    1. Provides or enhances natural areas, including wildlife habitat, river areas, and wetlands.
    2. Provides public linkages with existing open lands. Linkages may be either trails or wildlife habitat.
    3. Provides opportunities for environmental education, outdoor recreation, or nature interpretation.
    4. Provides opportunities for people to connect with the land via (1) agriculture or (2) increased access to open spaces and natural areas.*
    5. Provides research on Larimer County open spaces.*
  2. Projects must be in Larimer County (unincorporated or city/town limits.) Grant dollars can only be distributed in Larimer County and to the extent possible, throughout the entire county. more
  3. Projects must have a minimum match of 50% of the requested dollar amount more
  4. Projects that include planting and/or habitat improvement must use native and/or non-invasive, drought-resistant plant species appropriate for the selected environment, except for projects categorized as "Agriculture."
  5. If applicable, a long-term maintenance plan may be required and should be included in the application.

*Downloadable Criteria List

Funding limitations

We fund:

  • Project expenditures such as costs associated with project implementation, materials, supplies, etc.
  • Tools and equipment (e.g. GPS units, weed sprayers, etc.) may be funded to 501c3 non-profit organizations only, with acceptable justification of why they are required for implementation of the project.

We do not fund:

  • Salaries and/or project planning expenses, except for category "E" projects
  • Transportation expenses; except for categories "D (2)" and "E" projects

Grant cycle


  • Initial review of applications.

4th Quarter

  • Pre-Site visits with the applicant, Open Lands program staff & citizen advisory board committee members.
    • This is the opportunity for the applicant to discuss why their project is a great candidate for funding. Partners of the project are also welcome to attend the site visit.
  • Review site visit evaluations, request any follow-up information and formulate recommendations.
  • Present funding recommendations to Open Lands Advisory Board (The Board makes the final selection of grant awards.)
  • Notify awardees, prepare contracts.

1st Quarter

  • Finalize contracts and declarations.
  • Awards presentation at an Open Lands Advisory Board meeting, typically the last Thursday of the month.
  • Final reports due for prior year grants.

Requirements if you are awarded a grant

  1. If selected to receive a small grant, a Contract and Declaration between Larimer County and the grant recipient is required prior to receiving the award. The contract will include the amount of the grant award, specific items funded, the timeline for project completion, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other conditions. You can also download a pdf version of the Requirements.
  2. Awards will be presented at an Open Lands Advisory Board meeting during the first quarter of the year, typically the 4th Thursday of a month. The Larimer County Board of County Commissioners present the awards.
  3. If a funded project changes from the initial application and budget, a written change request is required before any dollars are spent. The applicant may be asked to resubmit for another grant year if the project changed enough to affect how it would have been rated when in competition with that year's other applications.
  4. Award recipients must keep track of all project expenditures (including in-kind services and donations) and submit receipts for all items purchased with small grant funds.
  5. A Final Report is due upon project completion. Failure to submit the Final Report will result in automatic disqualification for future awards.
  6. Following project completion, Larimer County staff and/or Open Lands Advisory Board members will conduct a site visit. Further visits may be necessary in subsequent years depending on the level of monitoring required for a particular project.

2017 Small Grants for Community Partnering Awardees

photo of 2016 Larimer County Small Grants Award Recipients
Project ApplicantProject NameAmount FundedProject LocationProject Description
Audubon Rockies - Habitat Hero Audubon Rockies-Habitat Hero $2,000 Loveland/I25 Install a Healthy Hero Demonstration Garden at the Loveland Visitor's Center
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Larimer County Bluebird Project $1,200 Devil's Backbone, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and other locations throughout Larimer County To recruit volunteers and provide supplies to expand artificial nest sites for suitable habitat to increase Mountain Bluebird and Western Bluebird populations
Colorado Youth Outdoors Charitable Trust Swift Ponds Invasive Weed Project $1,000 Fort Collins/Windsor Noxious weed mitigation, roughly 36 acres, primarily along waterways at Swift Ponds
Estes Land Stewardship Assoc Estes Land Stewardship Assoc (ELSA) Weed Booklet $1,300 Estes Valley Weed identification and management guide to help promote awareness of invasive plans and their impacts, through education and outreach efforts in the Estes Valley.
Estes Valley Community Garden Estes Valley Community Garden Gathering Area $1,300 Estes Park The creation of a gathering area at the community garden to host educational workshops and provide a rest area for community gardners
Glacier View Meadows Subdivision Crellin Canyon Weed Mitigation Project $423.29 Livermore Noxious weed mitigation at Greenbelt #20 within Crellin natural area at Glacier View Meadows Subdivision
Kate Wilkins Effects of Bison reintroduction to grassland birds, manmmals & vegetation in the Laramie Foothills $1,994 north Larimer County - Red Mountain Open Space & Soapstone Prairie Natural Area Evaluate the effects of bison reintroduction to Red Mountain Open Space and Soapstone Natural Area on Colorado grassland bird and mammal habitat use, species interactions and vegetation composition and structure.
Overland Mountain Bike Club Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol $2,000 Throughout Northern Larimer County Provide First Aid/Wilderness trainings for more Diamond Peaks Mountain Bike Patrol volunteers and to support Overland's general outreach and patrol supplies needed to assist, inform and educate trail users on public open lands trails.
Red Feather Lakes Community Library Library in the Landscape $2,000 Red Feather Lakes Provide mountain ecosystem interpretive graphics and signage that will be displayed year-round in the new garden and natural play area adjacent to the library.
Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy Communities, Cameras, and Conservation $1,000 Hermit Park & Chimney Hollow Continuation of camera wildlife monitoring at Chimney Hollow and Hermit Park and summary report including the comparisons between 2016 and 2017 monitoring data.
The Growing Project Young Farmer Training Program $2,000 northern Fort Collins To support the new Youth Farmers Training Program to provide 8 teens, ages 14-17, with part-time work at The Growing Project's Educational Garden for two months in the summer.
Trails at Vista Bonita Homeowners Association Baker Lake Improved Access Project $1,000 northeast Fort Collins Regrade the slope and add mason sand to the northern access point of Baker Lake to improve recreational safetly and minimize flooding
Wildland Restoration Volunteers North Fork Big Thompson River Revegetaion Project $2,000 County Road 43 (between Drake & Glen Haven) To support a site reabilitation and restoration project along a section of the North Fork Big Thompson River to help restore and ehance the river's fishery, water quality, physical stability and aesthetic value. Specifically, to provide two different types of soil amendments, crucial to the sucess of the project, in an area completely devoid of organic matter and nutrients
Background Image: Cirque Meadows by Adam Johnson. All rights reserved.