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Partnerships Grants   

The goal of the Partnerships Grant Program is to advance collaborative multi-municipal or large-landscape recreation, conservation, and heritage projects.

Funding is available for partnerships projects that help build local, county, regional, and statewide capacity to better develop and manage resources through the creation and implementation of public planning processes.

Eligible applicants include:

  • Single municipalities intending to establish multi-municipal partnerships
  • Statewide and regional nonprofit recreation, conservation, and greenways organizations
  • Regional municipal entities
  • Pennsylvania’s 12 state-designated Heritage Areas

More information on State and Regional Partnerships grants can be found at the DCNR grants portal.

A brief overview of Partnerships Program project types follows.

Convening, Education, and Training Project Funding

Convening, education, and training projects foster public engagement in our natural and cultural resources though the provision of forums, training, and education programs.

Example projects include:

  • Educational conferences
  • Workshops
  • Publication development
  • Public forums
  • Other direct engagements

Special Purpose Planning Project Funding

Special purpose planning projects develop strategic plans through public planning processes.

Example projects include:

  • Creation of publicly vetted management action plans
  • Economic assessments
  • Marketing plans
  • Preservation plans
  • Special feasibility studies

Implementation Projects

Implementation projects are non-planning projects that implement recommendations of previously completed plans. Examples include:

  • Construction activities
  • Public outreach
  • Program facilitation

Mini-Grant Project Funding

Partners may request mini-grant funding to develop small grant programs that empower grassroots organizations.

Projects should advance priorities identified through previously completed plans and be consistent with the Partnerships Program Guidance Document and mini-grant management process.

Examples of mini-grant programs include:

  • Making funds available to implement recommendations of the State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan
  • Conservation landscape work plan
  • Heritage Area management action plan

Peer and Circuit Rider: Local Capacity Building Project Funding

Partners may apply for grant funding to help build municipal, multi-municipal, or county capacity to better develop, manage, and promote:

  • Recreation, park, or trail facilities
  • Installation and maintenance of green infrastructure
  • Conservation of our natural resources
  • Other projects deemed appropriate by DCNR
More information on Peer and Circuit Rider Grants can be found at the DCNR grants portal.

Two types of local capacity building programs are offered -- the Peer and Circuit Rider programs.

Peer Program

The Peer Program is available to assist municipal entities with hiring a professional consultant to study specialized small-scale issues. 

Up to $18,000 can be made available to hire a peer -- typically a park and recreation professional -- to work in close collaboration with community leaders to develop an action plan.

Circuit Rider Program

This Circuit Rider Program provides grant funds for county or regional organizations to hire a professional, full-time staff person.

The circuit rider’s purpose is to initiate new regional programs and services that position sponsoring entities to more efficiently and effectively meet their recreation, park, greenways, open space, and/or natural resource and community conservation needs.

The annual grant funding decreases over a period of four years with the understanding and intention that the sponsoring organization.