Green Acres Program: Nonprofit Assistance - Acquisition & Park Development Grants

State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Anticipated deadline: Jan 30, 2019

Applicant type: Nonprofit Elementary / Secondary School College / University

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, Capital Project

Location of project: New Jersey

Location of residency: New Jersey

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Purpose of Funding

  • To acquire open space for recreation and conservation purposes statewide 
  • To develop outdoor recreational facilities in certain urban or densely populated municipalities and counties.

The Green Acres Program assists qualifying tax exempt nonprofit organizations in the acquisition of open space for recreation and conservation purposes and the development of outdoor recreation facilities. Funding is provided in the form of 50% matching grants. 

Project Eligibility - Acquisition Projects

The nonprofit may purchase land in fee simple or it may acquire a perpetual conservation easement or historic preservation easement on the property, as long as meaningful public access is provided to the project area. Meaningful public access must be provided to every project funded under this program. Eligible acquisition projects include, but are not limited to, the purchase of water reserves, natural areas, unique land types, historic sites, conservation areas, and open space for active or passive outdoor recreation purposes. 

A nonprofit may undertake an acquisition project that implements or assists in the implementation of an Open Space and Recreation Plan developed by a local government that is collecting an open space tax. We will provide a more streamlined application package for these types of projects, which must be undertaken with the approval of and in cooperation with the local government. The plan must be prepared according to Green Acres guidelines and must be submitted for approval as part of the nonprofit’s application. Since this is a relatively new nonprofit category, it is critical that you discuss your project with Green Acres prior to preparing your application. In fact, it is recommended that all jointly sponsored proposals be discussed with Green Acres staff prior to the preparation of the application.

Project eligibility - Development Projects

Nonprofit organizations are also eligible to receive matching grants for the development of outdoor recreation and conservation facilities. Funding for development projects is dedicated to projects in designated Urban Aid municipalities (P.L. 1978 (c. 52:27D-178 et seq.), ( (see list of eligible municipalities here), in Densely or Highly Populated Municipalities, or in Densely Populated Counties . Or, if you can demonstrate that the supermajority (at least two-thirds) of users of the proposed development project live in the above-mentioned municipalities or counties, the development project is eligible for funding. 

Recreational facilities that may be funded include, but are not limited to, facilities that provide boating, fishing, swimming, outdoor games and sports, biking, picnicking, camping, or nature interpretation. Projects that will have a significant negative impact on the site’s natural resources (such as excessive tree clearing) are ineligible. To be eligible, the nonprofit applicant must either own the land to be developed or must have a 25-year irrevocable lease or use agreement (which must be reviewed and approved by Green Acres in advance, if possible). 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Who is Eligible:
    • Any tax-exempt, non-profit organization that qualifies as a "charitable conservancy" as defined in N.J.S.A. 13:8B-1 et seq.
  • Funding to nonprofits is provided in the form of 50% matching grants.
  • All land funded under this program must be open to the public.