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> Departments > Natural Resources > Open Lands Program > Small Grants for Community Partnering

Small Grants for Community Partnering

Up to $2,000 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 2016, Larimer County has awarded $227,981 to 155 community and neighborhood projects that connect people to the land.

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: PDF version or Excel version
    Budget Worksheet Example: PDF version

Unable to download the documents?

  • You can also pick up an application packet at the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources' Administrative Offices at 1800 S. County Road 31, Loveland, Colorado.
  • If you need further assistance, contact Jennifer Almstead at or (970) 619-4569.

The application deadline for 2017 will be posted later this spring.


  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 four Small Grants for Community Partnering categories listed below:

    1. Provides or enhances natural areas, including wildlife habitat, river areas, and wetlands
    2. Provides 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 parks, agriculture*, increased access to open spaces and natural areas*, or research on Larimer County open spaces*
  2. Projects must be in Larimer County (unincorporated or city/town limits). Grant dollars will be distributed in Larimer County only, 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

  • Small grant funds are for project implementation only and may not be used for salaries and/or project planning expenses, except for projects categorized as "Research on Larimer County Open Spaces."
  • Funding for transportation expenses is only available for projects categorized as "Increased Access to Open Spaces and Natural Areas" or "Research on Larimer County Open Spaces."
  • Tools and other equipment (e.g. GPS units, weed sprayers, etc.) may be funded with an acceptable justification of why they are required for implementation of the project. The SGCP program requires a disposition plan following use of the equipment. Requests for funds for tools or equipment that will be donated to a public agency or organization after the intended use will be looked upon more favorably.
  • A multi-phased project may be funded over multiple years and requests for new funding will be partially dependent on past project accomplishments. A complete, new application is required during each grant cycle that funds are being requested. more

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.

2016 Small Grants for Community Partnering Awards

photo of 2016 Larimer County Small Grants Award Recipients
Photo by Charlie Johnson
Project ApplicantProject NameAmount FundedProject LocationProject Description
Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero $2,000.00 Fort Collins Install a Habitat Hero demonstration garden at Creekside Park that offers both environmental benefits and is aesthetically pleasing.
Bird Conservancy of the Rockies Colorado Bluebird Project $1,586.80 Devil's Backbone Open Space Provide artificial nest sites in sutiable habitat to increase Moutnain Bluebird and Western Bluebird populations.
Bruns Estates Homeowner Association Bruns Estates Open Space Project $399.00 East Loveland Enhance and improve habitat for aesthetically attractive and wildlife friendly area.
Colorado Foundation for Agriculture Understanding Water for Classrooms $2,000.00 Poudre School District Promote agriculture literacy in Colorado
Colorado Youth Outdoors CYO Swift Ponds Interpretive Signage $2,000.00 Eastern Larimer county Create, purchase and install directional and educational signs
Dean Acres HOA Lee Lake Health $1,500.00 NW Fort Collins Improve lake health by pulling, cutting & treating pond weeds
Estes Valley Community Garden Irrigation Component of Estes Valley Community Garden $1,372.00 Estes Park Promote gardening enjoyment and provide greater understanding of high altitude gardening
Grayhawk Knolls HOA Grayhawk Knolls Trail $1,890.00 North of Fort Collins Develop a walking trail that will create a loop for exercise and appreciation of surrounding open space
Kate Wilkins Bison Research $2,000.00 Soapstone & Red Mtn Open Space Evaluate the effects of bison reintrodution to RMOS & SPNA on bird and mammal habitat use, species interactions and vegetation composition and structure.
The Growing Project The Growing Project Educational Garden/Teens for Food Justice $2,000.00 Fort Collins Expansion of The Growing Project Educational Garden/Teens for Food Justice
Soaring Eagle Ecology Center Little Observatory at Soaring Eagle Ecology Center $2,000.00 Red Feather Lakes Little Observatory at Soaring Eagle Ecology Center to house telescopes
The Springs at Mariana Homeowners Association Enhancing Common Area with native plants and birdhouses $2,000.00 South Loveland Enhance and improve common areas for attractiveness, interest, sustain
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