For 26 years, the Small Grants for Community Partnering Program has awarded grants to communities throughout Larimer County using a portion of the Help Preserve Open Spaces sales tax for outdoor neighborhood and community-based projects. 

The program was created by Larimer County's Department of Natural Resources (LCDNR) to provide the community with direct access to open spaces sales tax dollars to support outdoor community projects and to nurture community partnerships for lasting impacts across the region. 

LCDNR invites new and returning non-profit organizations, HOAs, K-12 schools, and community-based organizations to apply for seed or capacity-building funding to develop and enhance natural landscapes, provide nature-based environmental education opportunities, provide access to nature for those experiencing barriers, provide opportunities for people to connect with the land through local agricultural food production, or conduct research on county open spaces. 

The program supports a wide range of community-based projects including but not limited to xeriscape gardens, outdoor classrooms, wetland restoration and/or improvements, removal of invasive species, community garden improvements, environmental education signage, lake/pond shoreline improvements, nature-based workshops, and trainings, and so much more! To view all the projects awarded by the program (238 and counting!), click here

2025 Grant Program will open this summer.

Thank you for your interest in the Small Grants for Community Partnering Program.  Applications for the 2025 grant cycle will open in early August 2024. Sign up to receive updates by clicking the link below! 

    Sign up to receive updates

    For questions please contact Jenn Almstead, Small Grants Program Coordinator, at


    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:

    • Annual operating expenses of a non-profit or other organization.
    • Salaries and/or project planning expenses, except for research projects.
    • Transportation expenses; except for provision of access to open spaces for those experiencing barriers and research projects. 

    August - October: The grant cycle opens in August and a grant webinar is provided. The application deadline varies each year, but is generally by the first Friday in October.

    Late October:  The Program Coordinator will conduct an initial review of the applications and verify project eligibility.

    November – 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 Coordinator will notify awardees and finalize contracts and declarations.

    March: All grant contracts must be signed and returned to the Program Coordinator 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
    Colorado Early Colleges Fort Collins Farm to School Garden Improvements $3,500 Fort Collins
    CSU Collective for Nature, Immersion, Science & Practice Facilitating Community Collaboration on Nature and Health $3,450 Larimer County
    Friends of Lory State Park Homestead Accessible Trail Interpretive Signage $2,450 Fort Collins
    Red Feather Lakes Community Library Nature Workshops for Underserved Families and Older Adults $3,500 Red Feather Lakes
    Streamside Community HOA Habitat Restoration and Improvement Project along Spring Creek $3,500 Fort Collins
    Vibe Tribe Adventures #Adventure for Everyone Larimer County $3,300 Loveland