Partners for Places Funding Program

The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network (USDN) co-founded the Partners for Places program (P4P). P4P is a matching grant program that supports initiatives with local government sustainability leaders and local funders to integrate climate preparedness, sustainability, and carbon reduction in U.S. and Canada communities.  The fund grants up to $1,000,000 annually; and grants range between $25,000 and $150,000. A 1:1 match is required from local place-based foundations. A P4P team of at least two partners must include a sustainability director of a city or county in the U.S. or Canada and a local funder.

Successful proposals are for projects that the local government sustainability office and local, place-based funder(s) consider important to the community. For eligibility, the project must advance a key aspect of at least one of the following:

  • A community-focused sustainability, climate action, or comprehensive plan provision that specifically addresses sustainability
  • Any plan endorsed by the mayor or city manager that states the goal of balancing economic development, environmental quality, and equity
  • An area identified for performance improvement or implementation for Certified STAR Communities
Through this program, P4P hopes to encourage a strong emphasis on projects that benefit and engage people of color, people with low incomes, and residents of immigrant and refugee communities in sustainability work. In a press release describing the 2016 grant recipients, P4P stresses the importance of equity considerations in each city. For example, Portland received funds to support equitable energy planning, Seattle to put environment decision-making in the hands of residents from neighborhoods of color, and Miami-Dade to increase shade protection at bus stops and in low-income neighborhoods.

P4P focuses on 6 key project priorities:

  1. integrating climate preparation into local government decisions;
  2. deep GHG reduction;
  3. integrating GHG reductions with climate preparedness;
  4. incorporating sustainability into economic development;
  5. mobilizing community action around sustainability or climate change; and/or
  6. comprehensive sustainable neighborhood planning.

This resource was featured in the July 14, 2017, ASAP Newsletter.

"Partners for Places is a matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties in the U.S. and Canada to create more prosperous, livable, and vibrant communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and the well-being of all residents. The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects, or $50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations."

According to USDN, between 2012 and 2016, Partners for Places adaptation grants shifted from broad adaptation planning and public engagement to specific actions to address climate change impacts. In 2016 there was a focus on green infrastructure projects - such as Bridgeport, Connecticut developing a community-led, neighborhood-scale Deep Greening Plan to guide investments in trees, open space, and green stormwater infrastructure. As another example, Burlington, Vermont is enhancing the City’s integrated stormwater management planning efforts by focusing on public space, including green infrastructure pilots on schoolyards.

The Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities launched the Local Sustainability Matching Fund in 2012. Now called Partners for Places, the program is managed by the Funders’ Network and supported by major national and regional foundations, including Bloomberg Philanthropies, JPB Foundation, Kendeda Fund, Kresge Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, New York Community Trust, Summit Foundation, and Surdna Foundation.


Publication Date: 2012

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