Small Grant Recipient

The Small Grants for Community Partnering (SGCP) program is an inherent part of Larimer County Department of Natural Resources' Open Lands Program, which gives back a portion of the Help Preserve Open Spaces 1/4-cent sales tax funds annually and directly to communities throughout Larimer County. Since 2008, Larimer County has awarded $329,171 for 207 community and neighborhood projects that connect people to the land.

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

2021 Small Grants Program Webinar (Recorded) - Watch on YouTube
The recorded webinar provides information about Larimer County's Small Grants for Community Partnering program and covers important changes and updates, and other tips.


Apply for a Small Grant

Applications for the 2021 grant cycle are now closed. 

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.
  4. *New for 2021*Applicants leasing property from a private property owner must submit a letter from the owner outlining the terms of the lease and renewal date and 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 $3,000 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.

Review the application instructions first, which will guide you through the rest of the application requirements.

  • Application Instructions
  • Grant Proposal Components
    • General Information
    • Narrative Sections
      • Organizational History and Background
      • Project Description
      • Need
      • Public access and Volunteer Information
      • Budget Narrative
      • Maintenance
      • Evaluation
  • Attachments (upload through the online form)
    • Budget Worksheet (Required)
    • Project Maps/Drawings/Photos (Required)
    • Letters of Support (2) (Required) *NEW for 2021*
    • Property Owner Consent (If applicable)
    •  IRS Determination Letter (If applicable)

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

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: Due to COVID-19, no site visits will be conducted for the 2021 cycle.  However, phone calls may be warranted with the applicant, Open Lands Program staff and citizen advisory board committee members.

January – March: Present funding recommendations to Open Lands Advisory Board. The board ultimately makes the final selection of grant awards. Finalize contracts and declarations.

  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
Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero Demonstration Gardens Enhancement Project $3,000 Northern Colorado

To provide landscape-related enhancements at several existing Habitat Hero public demonstration gardens through five volunteer events. To increase awareness about the gardens through public garden tours, social media platforms, and printed brochures at visitor centers and at the garden sites.

Colorado Youth Outdoors Bridge reconstruction for trails programming at Swift Ponds $3,000


To repair an existing unstable wooden bridge and to construct a new bridge for improved trail access and connectivity for recreational users at Swift Ponds.
The Growing Project FOCO Commons Garden Beds Seasonal Extension $2,880 Fort Collins

To provide garden enhancements to extend the growing season for an abundant food producing space and educational supplies to offer more opportunities for youth to get involved and participate.

Hearts and Horses Trail of Discovery Interactive Extension $3,000 Loveland To construct a new quarter-mile of equestrian trail which includes four new stations/obstacles for program participants to encounter and overcome. This trail expansion will provide new experiences and challenges for their riders along with the opportunity to learn about native plants and connecting with the natural world. 
Raisin’ Roots Farm Soil Health & Production Improvements $2,940 Fort Collins Rehab the soils with additional minerals and install a shade cloth system to better protect the soil and enhance nutrient profiles over existing fields. Additionally, new underground piping and facet will help to expand the capacity of the produce washing station. 
Traut Elementary - Poudre School District Outdoor Classroom $3,000 Fort Collins To complete landscape-related improvements to an existing outdoor classroom that will both enhance academic learning and provide an enjoyable, unique outdoor learning environment for the school and community.
Wildlands Restoration Volunteers Planting the Seeds of Stewardship in Larimer County $2,974 Northern Colorado To engage Fort Collins high school students to participate in experiential learning and hands-on stewardship of public lands. Students will collect seeds from public lands, bring the seeds back to their schools to grow, and then return the plants to various project restoration sites throughout the county.