Dog Park Grants

Note: This program is now open and accepting applications from communities in Massachusetts.

As part of its mission of encouraging positive dog/human relationships, the Stanton Foundation supports the development of enclosed dog parks in Massachusetts cities and towns.

This support takes the form of a series of grants to support park design, park construction, and capital improvements in parks supported by the Foundation. Access to these grants requires community contributions as detailed below.

Foundation contributions include:

Design grants: Design grants typically range from $10,000 to $25,000 and are intended to cover up to 100% of the costs of taking a dog park from initial concept to bid-ready construction documents. Expenses covered by a design grant include: preparation of schematics, preliminary drawings, bid documents, construction observation and, if necessary, an initial site survey.

Construction grants: Construction grants will fund 90% of the park’s “hard” construction costs. Hard construction costs include labor and materials. They exclude contingency allowances, insurance, permits, bonds, overhead, or other miscellaneous expenses. Construction grants have ranged from $100,000 to $225,000 and are capped at $225,000.

Capital improvement grants: Capital improvement grants fund the purchase of new equipment and landscape or repair and replacement of items that were included in the original construction grant. A community is eligible for capital improvement grants at 12, 18, and 24 months after the park opens. Each grant is equal to 5% of the hard construction costs and require an application from the community. They may not be used for routine maintenance.

Required community contributions include:

Land and infrastructure. The community must identify a town owned site or sites(s) prior to the award of the design grant and provide water lines and other basic infrastructure, if applicable (e.g. if the proposed plan includes lighting, an electricity source).

10% match on hard construction costs. This contribution must be in cash, not in-kind services. The source of the cash may be the town budget or contributions.

All "soft costs" associated with park building, including bond, contingency, overhead, insurance, and other miscellaneous items not fairly categorized as "labor and materials."

Ongoing park maintenance. The community is responsible for all ongoing maintenance costs.

Application Logistics

The Stanton Foundation will fund 10 design grants each calendar year. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until all 10 design grants are disbursed, at which point the application period will close for the year and re-open on January 1 of the following calendar year. Since many design grant applications require edits after review, merely submitting a design grant application does not reserve community's position as one of the 10 grantees. Instead, receiving confirmation from the Foundation that a community's design grant application has been approved will secure their spot as a design grant grantee. This website will be updated to reflect when the application period has opened and closed each year.

If a community submits an application after the application period has closed, the Foundation will notify the community accordingly but will nonetheless provide feedback on its application so it is best postured to re-apply when the next period opens. If a community submits an application that requires edits while the application period is open and, during the editing process, the 10 grants are disbursed, it's re-application eligibility will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

While the decision to build a dog park has the potential for enormous benefit for the community, it also requires a major commitment of time and energy from the town as a whole. If your town is enthusiastic about bringing a dog park to the community and is willing to commit to the process, the Stanton Foundation encourages you to apply.

Please be aware that the Foundation works exclusively with one contact person, employed by the city/town, to discuss grant opportunities and requirements. Volunteer committee members, group organizers, or other community members involved in dog park design or construction should contact their local officials and encourage them to contact the Foundation, but should not themselves contact the Foundation.