People, Parks, and Power: A National Initiative for Green Space, Health Equity, and Racial Justice

Funding Agency:
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Urban parks and green spaces—playgrounds, pocket parks, outdoor recreation facilities, open spaces, trails, gardens, and green infrastructure—are crucial for community health and well-being, a fact made clear during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite widespread appreciation for the health and environmental benefits of urban parks and green spaces, evidence shows persistent inequities in access, availability, quality of facilities, and programming, by race, place, and income. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is working to build a Culture of Health where everyone in America has a fair and just opportunity to live the healthiest life possible. Park equity is a key component of this vision. This call for proposals seeks especially small and mid-sized urban communities most impacted by park and green space inequities to participate in People, Parks, and Power: A National Initiative for Green Space, Health Equity, and Racial Justice (P3)—a joint effort of RWJF and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, led and managed by Prevention Institute.

The People, Parks, and Power initiative comes at a critical moment. Imbalances in political and economic power and a legacy of racial discrimination in the conservation movement have excluded groups led by people of color from full participation in park and green space work or have tokenized their involvement. The P3 initiative is grounded in the premise that urban parks are essential community infrastructure that should serve every neighborhood in a fair, just, and safe manner, without displacing longtime residents or community-serving businesses. P3 will support community-based organizations and base-building groups working in urban, low-income communities of color across the United States to increase park equity through local policy and systems change. The geographic focus of the P3 initiative is urban areas—with a particular interest in small and midsized cities (under 500,000 population).

African Americans, Latinos, and people living in low-income urban areas across the United States have disproportionately been denied the health, social, and environmental benefits of vital public spaces—inequities born from historical and current day policies, systems, and norms. We strongly encourage community-based organizations to apply, especially those led by people of color working to build community power at the citywide, countywide, or districtwide level. Until the policies, institutional practices, power dynamics, and problematic narratives that produced these inequities in the first place are transformed, park inequities will persist or worsen. Therefore, the “north star” of the P3 initiative is upstream policy and systems change, not planning, building, or operating individual, on-the-ground projects. We are interested in funding a spectrum of eligible organizations across the United States that either are in later or early stages of policy advocacy and systems change efforts to advance park equity.

LOI Deadline: Nov. 4, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant organizations must be either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or nonfunctionally integrated Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.
  • Awards will be made to organizations, not to individuals.
  • Organizations that are fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) entity that meet all other eligibility criteria are eligible.
  • Coalitions are eligible if the lead applicant organization meets all other eligibility criteria. In the case of a coalition, one organization must be the lead applicant and will be responsible for administrative oversight of the grant. Universities or academic institutions are not eligible to be the lead applicant, but they may serve as a coalition partner to the lead applicant.
  • Applicant organizations must demonstrate the capacity to manage awards of this size, either directly or with the benefit of technical assistance.
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.



Amount Description

  • RWJF expects to award grants up to $500,000 each (up to $250,000 per year). Grants will be 24 months in duration, beginning in May 2022.
  • Awards will be made to up to 14 sites (RWJF reserves the right to make more awards should additional funding be made available).
  • The grant opportunity outlined in this CFP is contingent upon final funding confirmation from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Environmental & Life Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

November 4, 2021