ESSER Funds and Other Ways to Find School Playground Funding
It is estimated that 20% of schools in America lack playgrounds. In some cities, like Philadelphia, the number of schools without playgrounds is closer to 70%. Whether your school lacks a playground or needs new or additional playground equipment, you’re likely looking for ways to fund the purchase of school playground equipment.
This article will look at eight sources of funding for school playground equipment, how to apply for them, and the best way to put school playground funds to use.
1. ESSER Funds for School Playgrounds
In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three stimulus bills that provided nearly $190.5 billion to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. These funds can be applied to playground funding and help the next generation of students stay active and healthy.
2. Service Clubs and Local Philanthropic Organizations
Most cities have organizations that actively give back to their community. Research the local service organizations in your community and ask them to present at their next meeting. Include specific information about how new playground equipment will benefit your students.
If you need some help with statistics and information, request a free copy of the Play On! Summary Publication. It includes information on how school playgrounds can improve physical health and academic performance.
3. Local and National Businesses
Some businesses might be persuaded to sponsor a new playground if it includes the company’s branding. For help planning a branded playground, visit Impact Parks for more information.
An often overlooked resource for grants and funding opportunities is the grants.gov website. Enter “school playgrounds” in the search bar at the top to see available grants - all in one convenient location!
5. American Heart Association
The AHA Voices for Healthy Kids initiative was founded to bring “healthy, affordable foods, safe drinking water, high-quality early childhood development, and family-friendly places for physical activity” across the United States to bridge accessibility issues. The AHA annually provides funding for play and recreation spaces across the country. You can apply for playground funding for your school directly through their website.
6. Good Sports
Good Sports is dedicated to donating playground equipment to schools lacking the needed funds. Want to know the best part? Applications are accepted on a rolling basis!
7. American Academy of Dermatology Association
The AAD issues funding as part of its Shade Structure Grant Program. The AAD knows the risk of extended periods of UV exposure better than anyone else- and they want to help your school get the shade it needs!
8. Local Fundraising
Fundraising efforts are a great way to gather the necessary funding while giving back to your community. Bake sales, talent shows, or even a silent auction are great ways to get your students involved in raising money for the new playground. We have some specific tips to make your school playground fundraising effective.
A New School Playground is Within Your Reach
Raising funds to purchase new playground equipment for your school is easier than you might think. ESSER funds are a great way to build a new playground or update an existing space. Many other grant sources and funding organizations are available to help you achieve your goal.