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Children at Play Grants

To encourage new efforts that explore free-play in nature, the Children at Play Initiative provides a limited number of start-up grants.  The first set of grants become available following the 2013 Children at Play Conference.  The 2013 grant deadline will be announced October 15th.   A second set of grants become available after the 2014 Children at Play Conference.

Who is eligible?
The 2013 grants are available to organizations, schools, childcare centers, and community groups.  Individuals may also apply for grants by partnering with a specific organization/group.

What size grants are available?
Children at Play grants are intended to assist with start-up efforts.  They are awarded to help an organization kick-start new thinking around free-play in nature.  Most grants will range from $1000 to $1500. Organizations and groups that are already exploring free-play in nature may use grants to add specific new dimensions to their efforts.

Is a match required?
A match is encouraged but not required.  When reviewing applications, more weight will be given to proposals that clearly demonstrate a strategy to use the CAP funds as leverage for more resources.

Stacking stones - loose parts play

Stacking stones – loose parts play

Are there restrictions on the funds?
Not many.  Funds can be used for:

• Planning efforts including resource people
• Equipment and supplies
• Purchase of “loose-part” play materials
• Meeting expenses
• Promotion and awareness raising efforts

Funds will be tied to a specific proposal and may not be used for salaries or general operating support. Proposals should include a simple budget indicating how the CAP grant funds will be applied.


What information is required in the proposal?
We can’t answer that question at this time.  We intend to explore the CAP grants during the 2013 Children at Play Conference.  Conference attendees will be given an opportunity to help determine the criteria and application process for the grants.  By October 15th the application process will be clearly outlined and added to this web page.

Will preference be given to organizations attending the 2013 Children at Play Conference?
Yes.  In part because they will have the benefit of learning about best practices in free-play from leaders in the field. We hope that organizations will apply the knowledge gained at the conference in their proposals. However, attendance at the CAP Conference is not required to submit a grant proposal.

CAP from Rusty Keeler 4

What’s the bigger picture for these grants?
Bernheim and the other partners of the Children at Play Initiative welcome the opportunity to work with grant applicants to:

• Put applicants in touch with regional and national resource people that might assist you in your efforts.

• Document your project so that your efforts become a “how to” lesson for the larger community.

• Find ways integrate proposals into the larger Children at Play Initiative.

• Help in other ways that will only become apparent during the application process.


What accountability is required of grant recipients?

A simple memorandum of agreement will be drafted and signed prior to any grant funding.  This memorandum will be tailored to the specifics of the project and will clearly articulate the accountability requirements.

Experimentation and New Ideas
The intent is for CAP grants to help the larger play community experiment with new ideas and new directions in play.  We encourage experimentation, risk taking, new ideas and out-of-the-ordinary concepts.  Essentially we are asking this question:  If someone gave you $1000 to make our community more playful, what would you do?

Grant Recipient Showcase
The Children at Play Initiative portion of the Bernheim web site will include a showcase of grant recipient projects after they are completed.  The Children at Play Blog portion of the web site will:

  • provide real-time project updates
  • create a forum for publicizing efforts and seeking assistance
  • record observations and musings of project leaders
  • support information sharing

More Information: Contact Claude Stephens, Bernheim Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design

Visit the Children at Play Blog as the CAP projects get started and find a way to become personally involved in our new play revolution.