Applying for a Design Grant

Note: We are currently offering new design grants only through December 15, 2023. We encourage you to review our updated design grant information.

The design grant covers up to 100% of the costs of moving from a preliminary sketch of a dog park to bid-ready documents for a contractor. Design grants equal 10% of the estimated hard construction costs of a proposed project. In order to obtain the design grant from the Stanton Foundation, a municipality must submit a package consisting of:

1.) an assurance letter stating that it has completed an internal municipal review and can fulfill the Foundation’s expectations;

2.) a completed assurance letter checklist (available on the Resource tab).

3.) a preliminary sketch;

4.) a draft budget.

Feel free to borrow the language below when drafting your assurance letter to meet the Foundation's minimum application requirements.

1.The assurance letter should include the following:

  • The chosen site (or sites, if a final decision has not been made) is on city/town-owned land.

  • The plan to use the site(s) for a dog park has been well communicated to relevant city/town bodies and residents/abutters.

  • The city/town can meet a commitment of 10% of the hard construction costs.

  • The city/town must name a “point person” and provide their contact information. This person will be the Foundation’s point of contact throughout the process. This person is responsible for submitting monthly status reports until the park opens.

  • The design grant will be applied to costs including the preparation of schematics, preliminary drawings, bid documents, construction observation and, if necessary, an initial site survey. Any funds not required for these purposes will be reserved for the park’s ongoing capital needs.

  • The city/town will select a landscape architect to prepare technical specifications and drawings that has previously designed at least one dog park (preferred) or has extensive outdoor public space design experience.

  • Once the city/town has a final bid on construction costs, it will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) reasonably similar to the example available on the Resource page of the website. The assurance letter must be signed by the senior town administrator or elected official.

Also include one of the following (whichever applies to your city/town):

  • A list of all financial contributors and any commitments the city/town has made to them (e.g. naming, signage)

  • A commitment that the city/town will make best efforts to avoid permanent donor or sponsorship signage , and in the event it is financial imprudent to do so, will use a sign template provided by the Foundation to create the signage.

  • Please note that we make a distinction between signage that recognizes the current year's donors that will be annually edited/updated and "permanent donor or sponsorship signage," but will provide sign templates for both.

2.The preliminary sketch should include:

  • Estimated size (sq. ft.) of the parcel of land to be dedicated to the dog park
  • Proposed perimeter of the dog park within the parcel
  • Layout of the dog park within perimeter fencing
  • Sufficient architectural detail to prove park feasibility and inform necessary construction in the draft budget

3.A draft budget. See the check list on the Resource page for suggested budget items. The purpose of the checklist is to ensure that all relevant costs are considered. Precise estimates are not required at this point. Our Dog Park Guide also suggests park elements to be considered.

Please note that grant funds may not be used to purchase agility equipment or finance "soft" construction costs, including bond, overhead, profit, insurance, or other miscellaneous items. Additionally, grant funds may not be used to extend a water line to a park parcel, but may be used to tap into an existing line and install above-ground water features.

If the assurance letter, assurance letter checklist, preliminary sketch, and draft budget are reviewed and approved by the Foundation, the Foundation will provide a design grant. The dollar amount of the design grant will be equal to 10% of hard construction costs as detailed in the draft budget.

Step 2: Construction Grant