5 Funding Sources to Help Sustain Your Greening Projects

Quick recap on the steps to implement a vacant lot project:

1. Use Lots to Love to select your lot and guide you through gaining access to the space.

2. Gather community input and support for your project.

3. Implement your project.

4. Sustain the project by holding events, maintaining and enhancing the space.

In this blog, we explore step #4. Below are 5+ potential funding sources to help sustain your vacant lot greening projects. 

Love Your Block

Love Your Block is a City of Pittsburgh program that provides up to $1000 in support for neighborhood beautification projects such as creating green spaces, removing graffiti, improving parks and more. Applications are typically accepted in the Spring and Fall of each year. Each applicant must be a non-profit organization. If your group is not an official non-profit, a community organization in your neighborhood can act as the fiscal sponsor.

Neighborhood Allies’ Small & Simple Grants

Neighborhood Allies‘ Small & Simple Program (S&S) is designed to support a wide variety of strategic, small-scale, community-serving initiatives. This grant is likely more suitable for programming and events in your space. The program is intentionally flexible and meant to be reactive to short term immediate needs for an existing project or program and proactive for new or pilot projects. Applicants may apply for up to $15,000 in S&S funding per year.

Sprout Fund Seed Awards

The Sprout Fund has a variety of funding programs. Seed Awards are modest awards ($500–$10,000) that provide critical financial support for projects and programs in the early stages of development—when just a small amount of investment has the potential to yield big results in the community. In 2016, Sprout plans to offer seed awards in the amount of up to $1000 under their Grand Ideas funding initiative. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to be notified when applications are open for the 2016 Grand Ideas funding. 


ioby stands for In Our Backyard. It is a crowdfunding platform that focuses specifically on community-based projects. This is a way to raise funds from individuals and organizations that want to support your project. The process differs from applying for a grant in that it requires outreach and the promotion of your project in order to let people know they should donate. GTECH partnered with Ioby in 2015 to raise additional funds for Ambassador projects. We look forward to partnering with them again in the future.

National Mini Grants

A little bit of internet research can reveal a variety of mini-grants for your project. Projects such as community gardens, fruit tree planting and youth gardens have many funding opportunities. A few examples are outlined below:

  • Community gardens – GRO1000 provides up to $1500 for edible gardens, green spaces and pollinator habitats. The application period for 2016 is currently open (January 1-February 22, 2016). Other funding options can be found here.
  • Fruit Tree Planting – The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation offers funding for community fruit orchards. There is no deadline to apply.
  • Youth gardens – This website lists over 15 grants for gardening with kids. The possibilities are endless.

2 thoughts on “5 Funding Sources to Help Sustain Your Greening Projects

  1. Great information,
    I just talked with the mayor of Carnegie, and we would like to do a vacant lot/fruit tree project here with the Carlynton elementary school and the borough.

    1. That sounds like a great project! Lotstolove.org is a great starting point for figuring out who owns the lot and other useful information. Best of luck!

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