Small Grant Recipient

Since 1997, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources has offered Small Grants for Community Partnering, giving back a portion of the Help Preserve Open Spaces 1/4-cent sales tax funds directly to communities throughout Larimer County through this grant program. Since 2008, Larimer County has awarded $308,503 for 200 community and neighborhood projects that connect people to the land. The Help Preserve Open Spaces sales tax initiative was initially approved by Larimer County citizens in 1995 and extended by the citizens in 1999 and again in 2014.

Individual grant awards are available up to $3,000 per project, limited to one application per applicant.

Apply for a Small Grant

All applications must be received through the online form by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13, 2019. No mailed applications will be accepted.

Review the application instructions first, which will guide you through the rest of the application requirements. The online application form cannot be saved while filling it out. Therefore, it is highly recommended that all components of the application be ready-to-go before starting it.

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

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. This includes but is not limited to City of Fort Collins, City of Loveland, Town of Estes Park, Town of Berthoud, Town of Wellington and Town of Timnath.
  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.

Sign up to receive updates

The Larimer County Small Grants Program is an initiative of the Larimer County Open Lands Program to disburse Help Preserve Open Spaces Sales Tax dollars throughout the County for projects related to conservation and enhancement of, and recreation and/or education on, open space on public and private lands. Initiated in 1997 with a trial project (Ptarmigan Run), the program funded six projects the following year.

In 2001, the program was formalized in the Open Lands Master Plan, adopted by the Larimer County Open Lands Advisory Board and the Board of County Commissioners and subsequently incorporated into the Larimer County Land Use Code. In 2006, the small grants subcommittee of the Open Lands Advisory Board formalized grant selection criteria, procedures, and a project score card to help the subcommittee objectively select projects for funding.

In 2009, the Open Lands Program focus was to connect people and communities to the lands that had been successfully conserved and protected: People who are connected to the land care about what happens to it. The Open Lands Advisory Board approved expansion of the Small Grants Program into new areas which promote land connections: "agriculture," "increased access to open spaces and natural areas," and "research on Larimer County open spaces." These were in addition to the original grant category, "protection or enhancement of open space, trails, natural areas, wildlife habitat, river areas, and wetlands on private or public land." The Small Grants Program was renamed to Small Grants for Community Partnering. Funding was increased from $10,000 to $20,000 annually to be awarded for grants up to $2,000 each.

In 2012, the intent of the program was reaffirmed: to provide citizens with direct access to open spaces sales tax dollars; to allow citizens to leverage dollars with seed money for project implementation; to encourage citizen partnerships; to reach communities with which the program has not historically interacted; and to increase visibility, support, and appreciation for the Open Lands Program.

We fund:

  • Project expenditures such as costs associated with project implementation, materials, supplies, etc. Delivery or shipment of project materials is permitted but cannot exceed more than 5% of the total grant request.
  • 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

September: Initial review of applications.

October – December: If warranted, pre-visit with the applicant, Open Lands Program staff and citizen advisory board committee members. (This is the opportunity for the applicant to discuss why his or her project is a great candidate for funding. Project partners are welcome to attend the site visit as well.) Review site visit evaluations and request any follow-up information and formulate recommendations.

January – March: Present funding recommendations to Open Lands Advisory Board. The board ultimately makes the final selection of grant awards. Notify awardees; prepare contracts. Finalize contracts and declarations. Host awards presentation at an Open Lands Advisory Board meeting, typically the last Thursday of the month.

  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. See full 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. Following project completion, Larimer County staff and/or Open Lands Advisory Board members may conduct a site visit. Further visits may be necessary in subsequent years depending on the level of monitoring required for a particular project.
  6. Award recipients must complete the project and submit a final report within 12 months from the grant award date. Any unused funds past this date will need to be returned back to Larimer County. Failure to submit the final report will result in disqualification for future awards.
Project Applicant Project Name Amount Funded Project Location Project Description
Colorado Native Plant Society Native Plant Restoration at River's Edge Natural Area $3,000 Loveland Restore two barren, weedy areas at River's Edge Natural Area by reintroducing a wide range of native shrubs, forbs and grasses. Interpretive signs will cover plant identification and the role native species play in balanced ecosystems.
Colorado Youth Outdoors Colorado Youth Outdoors Outdoor Education and Team Building Trail $3,000


Install a 1.5-mile mulch hiking/nature loop trail at CYO for improved youth curriculum and access to unexplored natural areas on the property
The Growing Project The Growing Project Community Garden at FoCo Café $3,000 Fort Collins Build a large community garden surrounding the FoCo Café as a space for educational programming and hosting volunteer opportunities in the community
Ivy Stockwell PTO Ivy Stockwell Outdoor Classroom, Phase Four, Meadow Installation $2,024 Berthoud Implement a native short grass prairie at the Ivy Stockwell Outdoor Classroom by installing grass seed, meadow plants, seating boulders, crushed limestone and native shrubs
Oakridge 7 HOA Oakridge Ash-Shadow Tree Planting Party with Xeric Education $2,987.24 Fort Collins Plant drought tolerant tree species at the Oakridge detention area, as many of the trees in the outlying areas of its parkland are ash trees, which are facing the imminent threat of the emerald ash borer
Raisin' Roots Farm Extension of Growing Season for Provision of Fresh Produce to Larimer County $2,996.17 Fort Collins Re-skin existing 12-foot tunnels and hoop houses along with the construction of a new 12-foot x 100-foot tunnel to help extend Raisin' Roots Farms' growing season and increase production capacity to be able to provide fresh produce at Larimer County's weekly winter market
Rocky Mountain Raptor Program Rocky Mountain Raptor Program Educational Outreach $1,500 Northern Colorado Provide teaching materials and avian food and supplies for interpretive education presentations for K-12 classrooms and community groups
Sproutin' Up Corporation Sproutin' Up Farm Expansion $2,275 Fort Collins Expand the current CSA farm to reach more youth and families in the northern Colorado community, which will include fruit trees, row crops and a perennial flower bed complete with underground irrigation for these areas