Free money? Almost! Think about applying for a National Garden Club (NGC) Plant America Community Project Grant. This grant program is offering up to $1,000 to an NGC garden club or “near clubs” (two or more clubs in the same community) for potential 2022 Plant America projects. This is almost like “free money.” Almost because there are some restrictions, but just a few.
One restriction is that the project must be a recognized “garden club” project, either new or ongoing. Funds cannot be used for salaries, hiring workers, scholarships, Scout projects, or projects completed in 2021. Grants are not to be used for “pass-thru” to another organization. Potential projects include tree planting, school projects involving youth, community landscaping/beautification projects, foodbank gardens, renovation of existing public gardens, memorial gardens, etc. Other ideas are listed on the application form. The key is community benefit.
To make it easy to apply, there is a 2-page (and no more!) application form on the NGC website. This is a fillable PDF which means you enter the information in the form online and then e-mail the completed form. No postal applications will be accepted. Nothing else is required, not even photos. In fact, do not send photos.
On the first page of the form, there are three broad areas to complete: the intended project, how the funds will be used, and any in-kind or volunteer services. Focus on what will be done and not so much about the history of the project. Be specific about what will be done but be succinct. Explain broadly the types of plants, hardscape, etc., that will be used. Be specific about the club’s contribution, whether it is monetary and/or physical involvement. Also, focus on what the community or other organizations will provide. Remember, this is a community-benefit project, so this part is important.
On the second page of the form is the budget. Prices can vary so provide a good estimate. However, the income must match the expenses; that is an absolute. Don’t forget there is a cost to donated labor and services; be realistic but include those estimates. There is room underneath some of the headings to be specific as to the types of plants and other materials. An applicant can apply for $1,000 at the most but if a project costs less, for example $450, just apply for the $450. Apply for what is needed but no more than $1,000.
Typically, the reviewers of the grant applications would like to see that the club has some “skin in the game.” They would like to see that the club is involved in the proposed project beyond, or more than the monetary assistance received through the Plant America Grant Funds.
The deadline to submit the application is October 15, 2021. The funds will be awarded by January 31, 2022. The project must be completed by February 28, 2023.
The Plant America Community Project Grants Program is funded on an annual basis. For the 2022 calendar year, $50,000 has been set aside to fund the grants but the number of grant applications may exceed the budgeted amount. For the 2021 year, the grant program received requests totaling more than $150,000. Therefore, some applicants did not receive grants. It is important to follow the requirements and supply the requested information. If you have questions, contact David Robson, chairman, Plant America Community Project Grants Program, at PlantAmericaGrants@gardenclub.org