Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) is seeking proposals for projects that provide new or expanded public access to open space, such as parks, preserves, trails, greenways, outdoor classrooms, beaches, and boat launches, as well as projects that protect exceptional natural and cultural resources for the benefit of the Commonwealth.
Donor Name: Virginia Outdoors Foundation
County: All Counties
Type of Grant: Grant
Size of the Grant: $100,000 to $500,000
Grant Duration: Grant Duration Not Mentioned
Established by the Virginia General Assembly in 1997 and administered by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF), the Open-Space Lands Preservation Trust Fund (PTF) provides grants for acquisitions, easements, rights of way, and other methods of protecting open space for farming, forestry, recreation, wildlife, water quality, and more. In most cases, a right, privilege, or interest in real estate must be conveyed to either VOF or a locality, pursuant to Virginia’s Open-Space Land Act, to be eligible for PTF funding.
There is approximately $1.7 million available for the second grant round of fiscal year 2024. In recent cycles, grant awards have averaged $150,000 per project. However, there is no absolute cap and exceptional projects as well as those with substantiated need have been funded at higher amounts. Applicants are encouraged to request the amount of funding that would allow the project to be fully implemented. Partial funding is possible. Funds may be disbursed only when a real estate interest has been conveyed to VOF, a locality, or an approved eligible holder under the Open-Space Land Act.
- While VOF is offering grant awards for both public access and exceptional natural and cultural resource protection projects, VOF is prioritizing those projects in which the interest in real estate includes a provision to provide access to the property by the public. Successful proposals will protect and preserve open green space.
- Funding for resource protection easements will be prioritized for those projects that show exceptional characteristics in the following categories: historic and cultural, water quality, scenic and open space, habitat, agriculture and forestry, and policy alignment. Deed restrictions will protect the highest conservation values of a property.
PTF grants may pay for any costs that are associated with the conveyance of an interest, right, or privilege in open space to VOF, a locality, or an approved eligible holder under the Open-Space Land Act including fee-simple acquisition, development rights, public access rights of way, leases, legal costs, and survey costs. Components critical for public use of the land may also be included in the grant request such as infrastructure and the associated necessary engineering, design, and planning. While infrastructure is an eligible cost, impervious surface will be capped, and project sites that are currently predominantly hardscape or are intended to be predominately hardscape are not good candidates for PTF funding.
PTF grants may be awarded to any person, organization, or locality with a real estate interest to convey on either public or private land. In most cases, the real estate interest must be conveyed to VOF or a locality. Land already under locality ownership may be eligible for PTF funding as long as the parcel is not already protected through certain existing deed restrictions.
For more information, visit VOF.