The program is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2023! In 1998, Larimer County's Department of Natural Resources launched the Small Grants for Community Partnering Program (Small Grants Program) to support community-led projects in the county with a portion of the Help Preserve Open Spaces 1/4-cent sales tax funds.

The program was created to provide the community with direct access to open spaces sales tax dollars for seed money for community projects and to nurture community partnerships for lasting impacts across the region.  

Larimer County Natural Resources is honored to celebrate and recognize all of the exemplary projects awarded by the Small Grants Program over the past 25 years! Visit our Story Map! 

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The 2023 Grant Cycle has Closed

Information regarding the 2024 grant cycle will be announced in mid-summer 2023. Please check back!

The Small Grants Program Coordinator, Jennifer Almstead, can be reached at jalmstead@larimer.org with any questions.

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    The Larimer County Small Grants Program is an initiative of the Larimer County Open Lands Program to disburse Help Preserve Open Spaces Sales Tax dollars throughout the County for projects related to conservation and enhancement of, and recreation and/or education on, open space on public and private lands. Initiated in 1997 with a trial project (Ptarmigan Run), the program funded six projects the following year.

    In 2001, the program was formalized in the Open Lands Master Plan, adopted by the Larimer County Open Lands Advisory Board and the Board of County Commissioners and subsequently incorporated into the Larimer County Land Use Code. In 2006, the small grants subcommittee of the Open Lands Advisory Board formalized grant selection criteria, procedures, and a project score card to help the subcommittee objectively select projects for funding.

    In 2009, the Open Lands Program focus was to connect people and communities to the lands that had been successfully conserved and protected: People who are connected to the land care about what happens to it. The Open Lands Advisory Board approved expansion of the Small Grants Program into new areas which promote land connections: "agriculture," "increased access to open spaces and natural areas," and "research on Larimer County open spaces." These were in addition to the original grant category, "protection or enhancement of open space, trails, natural areas, wildlife habitat, river areas, and wetlands on private or public land." The Small Grants Program was renamed to Small Grants for Community Partnering. Funding was increased from $10,000 to $20,000 annually to be awarded for grants up to $3,000 each.

    In 2012, the intent of the program was reaffirmed: to provide citizens with direct access to open spaces sales tax dollars; to allow citizens to leverage dollars with seed money for project implementation; to encourage citizen partnerships; to reach communities with which the program has not historically interacted; and to increase visibility, support, and appreciation for the Open Lands Program.

    We fund:

    • Project expenditures such as costs associated with project implementation, materials, supplies, etc. Delivery or shipment of project materials is permitted but cannot exceed more than 5% of the total grant request.
    • Tools and equipment (e.g. GPS units, weed sprayers, etc.) may be funded to 501c3 non-profit organizations only, with acceptable justification of why they are required for implementation of the project.

    We do not fund:

    • Salaries and/or project planning expenses, except for category "E" projects
    • Transportation expenses; except for categories "D (2)" and "E" projects

    September:  The Program Officer will conduct an initial review of the applications and verify project eligibility.

    October – December:  Review undertaken by the Small Grants subcommittee, consisting of three (3) open land advisory board members and Larimer County staff.

    January – February:  The funding recommendations are presented by staff to the Open Lands Advisory Board. The board ultimately makes the final selection of grant awards. The Program Officer will notify awardees and finalize contracts and declarations.

    March: All grant contracts must be signed and returned to the Program Officer before expenditures for the project can be spent. 

    1. If selected to receive a small grant, a Contract and Declaration between Larimer County and the grant recipient is required prior to receiving the award. The contract will include the amount of the grant award, specific items funded, the timeline for project completion, monitoring and reporting requirements, and other conditions.
    2. If a funded project changes from the initial application and budget, a written change request is required before any dollars are spent. The applicant may be asked to resubmit for another grant year if the project changed enough to affect how it would have been rated when in competition with that year's other applications.
    3. Award recipients are required to submit progress photos and/or videos during the project which will be shared via the county's social media channels.
    4. Following project completion, Larimer County staff and/or Open Lands Advisory Board members may conduct a site visit. Further visits may be necessary in subsequent years depending on the level of monitoring required for a particular project.
    5. Award recipients must complete the project and submit a final report within 12 months from the grant award date. Any unused funds past this date will need to be returned back to Larimer County. Failure to submit the final report will result in disqualification for future awards.
    Project Applicant Project Name Amount Funded Project Location
    21st Century Gardens Supplies for Seed Starting $850.00 Fort Collins
    Colorado State University Native Wildflower and Pollinator Research Project  $2,215.60 Livermore
    Estes Valley Watershed Coalition Wandering Wildlife Society Programs and Talks $1,680.00 Estes Park Area
    Homeward Alliance Murphy Center Garden Beautification and Accessibility Project $674.00 Fort Collins
    Ivy Stockwell Elementary (PTO) Community Education and Engagement Project, Phase VI, Outdoor Classroom Project $3,000.00 Berthoud
    No Barriers USA  Fire Mitigation Project


    Northern Colorado Wildlife Center

    Increasing the Capacity of NCWC's Newly Acquired Environmental Education Classroom

    $3,500.00 Northern Colorado
    Red Feather Lakes Community Library Connecting Community Through Nature Workshops $3,500.00 Red Feather Lakes
    Sproutin' Up Solar Installation Project $3,200.00 Fort Collins
    Wolverine Farm Publick House Poudre River Pollinator Project $3,477.00 Fort Collins