Small Grant Recipient EVCG

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 $287,800 for 192 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

The application for the 2019 grant cycle is closed. The application for the 2020 grant cycle will open in summer of 2019.

Applications are accepted through an online form. 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.

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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. Final reports due for prior year's grants.

  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. 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 may conduct a site visit. Further visits may be necessary in subsequent years depending on the level of monitoring required for a particular project.
  7. 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 must be returned to Larimer County.
Project Applicant Project Name Amount Funded Project Location Project Description
Denver Museum of Nature & Science Mass Extinction in Larimer County Open Space Geology $3,000 Red Mountain Open Space

Conduct geologic fieldwork and laboratory analyses of the Lykins Formation at Red Mountain Open Space

Estes Land Stewardship Association (ELSA)

ELSA Weed Roundup & Monitored Weed Drop-off $2,988.50

Estes Park/Valley

Public event for area residents to properly dispose of noxious weeds and exotic and invasive plants within the Estes Valley region
Estes Land Stewardship Association (ELSA) ELSA 2018 Weed Booklet $755 Estes Valley Free booklet that informs the public about noxious weeds that threaten the Estes Valley
Kendall Brook Master Association HOA Restoring the Biological Diversity of Kendall Brook HOA Wetlands $500 Loveland Reduction of invasive populations of hairy willow-herb, Russian olive and Canada thistle to help restore the biological diversity of the HOA's wetlands
Loveland Youth Gardeners (LYG) Enhancing Garden Spaces $3,000 Loveland Expansion of several community gardens and construction of a greenhouse to enable LYG to grow more food, engage more people and become more financially sustainable
Mulberry Community Gardens Hoop-la: Hoop House Enhancement Project $1,143.90 Fort Collins Improve the existing on-site Hoop House for year-round use
Wellington Middle School Partnering with Our Environment: Compost is too Good to Waste $2,000 Wellington Further develop the school's sustainability curriculum with the purchase of an on-site composting unit
Ridgewood Hills HOA Raptor Perches & Kestrel Boxes $1,100 Fort Collins Further enhance the HOA's natural area by installing raptor perches and American kestrel boxes
Rocky Mountain Raptor Program Rocky Mountain Raptor Program Educational Outreach $3,000 Northern Colorado Provide interpretive education presentations to K-12 classrooms and community groups in northern Colorado
Soaring Eagle Ecology Center (SEEC) Technology to Enhance SEEC Environmental and STEM Learning $2,144 Red Feather Lakes Offer technological capabilities during SEEC's programs, presentations and labs
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado VOC Medicine Wheel Garden Construction and Planting at High Plains Environmental Center $1,014.50 Loveland Family friendly project in which volunteers will install a medicine wheel garden with native plants