Park Foundation Grants: Sustainable Ithaca & Community Needs

Park Foundation, Inc.

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Grant amount: US $2,000 - US $600,000

Next deadline: Mar 27, 2020 (Full proposal)

Later deadlines: Jul 10, 2020 (Full proposal), Sep 25, 2020 (Full proposal), Jan 10, 2021 (Full proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit College / University Elementary / Secondary School

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Tompkins County, New York

Location of residency: Tompkins County, New York

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About this funder:



The Park Foundation was formed in 1966. Its original focus was on education and grant-making in communities where Park Communications had interests. When he died in 1993, Mr. Park bequeathed more than 70 percent of his holdings to the Foundation.

The Foundation is dedicated to the aid and support of education, public broadcasting, environment, and other selected areas of interest to the Park family. Scholarship programs have been established in Mr. Park’s name at the two institutions with which he was so close — Ithaca College and North Carolina State University.

The two scholarship programs emphasize academic excellence, leadership, and community service — in keeping with Mr. Park’s values. Public broadcasting is a particularly meaningful recipient of funding because the Foundation had its origin in the world of communications. More recently, the Foundation’s interest in environmental causes has been refined to focus on issues of freshwater, particularly in the eastern United States.

Program Interests for Tompkins County, NY 

Sustainable Ithaca

The vision of the Sustainable Ithaca program is that Ithaca and Tompkins County become a fully sustainable community – environmentally, socially and economically.  Accordingly, grantmaking addresses a spectrum of topics with emphasis on integration of systems and cross-sectoral collaboration. A special interest is on projects that enable low-income and the community of color access to and participation in sustainability measures.

  • Ecosystem Conservation includes both terrestrial an aquatic systems conservation and restoration. Primary emphasis of aquatic systems is Cayuga Lake and its tributaries. Overall goal is to maintain an intact, functional ecosystems in Tompkins County. Projects and programs that address toxic threats to humans and natural systems will also be considered.
  • Energy and Climate Change includes addressing climate change by reducing energy use via efficiency measures and increasing use of renewable energy sources. Overall goal is to assist the residents of Tompkins County in meeting greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • Environmental Education includes an emphasis on informal K-12 programs and adult education to encourage individual and organizational sustainability practices.
  • Smart Growth includes support for smart growth planning, zoning reform, alternative transportation modes, and vehicle mile reduction.

Community Needs

The Community Needs program concentrates on opportunities for low-income residents of Tompkins County, NY. An important value of the Foundation is equity and the Foundation places a strong emphasis on equity in human service grants and efforts which lead to good outcomes for all.

The Foundation believes that it is better for everybody when it is better for everybody. As a result, a social justice lens for Community Needs grant making will be employed. For the purposes of grantmaking, social justice is defined as understanding and interrupting the traditional patterns of exclusion which prevent equal opportunity for all. The emphasis is on addressing the needs and barriers to success faced by the most disenfranchised members of our community.

The Foundation has historically funded projects within the categories of health and human services, youth services and education, social justice and equity, and capacity building and philanthropy within its Community Needs program. It is anticipated that programs within these broad categories will continue to be funded along with proposals that advance social justice in other human service fields locally.

Other Interests: Grants for advocacy and community organizing around critical issues in Tompkins County will be considered. Technical assistance, capacity building and planning grants are also available and interested parties are encouraged to discuss these needs with program staff before making an application.

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


  • Eligible organizations must be classified under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Grants are limited to organizations serving residents of Tompkins County, NY and  projects and programs that impact sustainabiliy in Tompkins County, NY. 


  • Community Needs:
    • Youth populations are given higher priority
    • Priority will be given to low-income and historically disenfranchised populations. A strong preference will be given to proposals that:
      • Develop interventions in partnership with the populations the project is intended to serve.
      • Include relevant data for subpopulations within the target audience and tailor programs to meet the needs of those people who are most impacted by the issue being addressed.
      • Identify barriers to success and facilitate initiatives that will surmount those obstacles.
      • Describe how the proposed project will be implemented and evaluated in order to ensure that the intended beneficiaries are most effectively reached.


  • The Foundation does not make grants to individuals, for-profit entities, endowments or for debt reduction. 
  • Community Needs: Generally, the Foundation does not support disease-specific programs or capital requests.