Looking for funding for community garden

Naomi MilsteinJanuary 23, 2002


I'm a student at the University of Michigan who is involved in a community gardens project in downtown Detroit. I'm looking for funding/grants available to buy materials for the garden. Also, there is a plot of land next to the garden site that is for sale. We're currnetly searching for money to help purchase this land so we can expand the community garden and transform the building on the property into a resource center. Does anyone have thoughts about funding opportunities available or where I should look? Does anyone have any fundraising ideas?



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Carrie B(6B/7A)

Before trying to find money, make sure you've got a really clear plan. Exactly what is it you want to do? What do you want to do first? How much money will you need? If you only get some of the money, what will you do with it? Who will maintain the property/land when you graduate and move away? How will the garden benefit the City/community/uiversity/students/the poor etc.? How will taxes be paid following the initial purchase of the land? etc.

As far as getting some start-up materials goes, a good place to start is sometimes places like Home Depot. Get a short letter/proposal together once you've got the land, and if it doesn't rub you the wrong way, offer to put a sign up at the garden with "this city gardening project made possible by the generosity of Home Depot" or something like that.

You didn't mention if the community garden you are involved with has a 501C3 or is registered with the State as a not for profit. Any documentation will be VERY helpful, and absolutely neccessary in most cases if you are seeking foundation or corporate funding. 501C3 is also probably required by Home Depot, Walmart, or any big retailer who might consider donating supplies.

Obtaining land is a bigger challenge, but contact your local agricultural extention office (it may very well be part of the U. of Michigan, a websearch will find it for you) they are often a great resource, as well as the City's offices of land management/urban renewal/park services, etc.
You could also try to get the University involved (will your improvements/expansion improve the immediate neighborhood of the University?). Does the Univ. have an environmental science/agricultural/bio etc department?

A good place to start for grant information is The Foundation Center, they are probably the most comprehensive list of US foundations, they have some free resources on-line, and can lead you in the right direction. See the below link.

Also, the Council of Michigan Foundations. Cut and paste the below link and check out the list of foundations, go to some of those websites to see what they fund. http://www.cmif.org/visit.html

You've got some big companies out there that could probably use some positive "giving back to the community" PR. Though the individual grant amounts are sometimes not as big from companies as from foundations, their application and reporting processes tend to not be quite as cumbersome.

A general websearch for "detroit foundations" or "michigan foundations" will probably also turn up useful info.

Keep playing with ideas, brainstorm. Sorry about the length of this post. I'm going to submit it now so that I'm not tempted to keep adding to it. Good luck, finding money is always lots of work, but it is out there!


Here is a link that might be useful: Foundation Center

    Bookmark   January 23, 2002 at 4:22PM
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Rain Bird just announced that it is giving over $50,000 to water conservation projects. Anyone with Internet access can submit their project to one of three funding categories ($1500, $5000, and $10,000) and then share it in social media. Users can then vote and the projects with the most votes are awarded the grant on World Water Day, March 22, 2011.


Here is a link that might be useful: Intelligent Use of Water Awards

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:04PM
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Carrieb, Thanks for all the info. I will use this info for one we want to start in my small city.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2011 at 12:24AM
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