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Funding for School Playgrounds – Six Options


School is out, the sun is shining, and kids are itching to run around and play outside. And if they’re not, parents sure are excited to get them out of the house! Whether you’re a representative for a school district, public park, daycare, or homeowner’s association, the idea of adding a playground to your organization’s facilities probably sounds appealing. Having a play area is a great way to encourage outdoor activity in a creative and safe environment, but what if a park installation isn’t within your budget?

At River Valley Recreation, we’re not only about designing, installing, and supplying maintenance for commercial playgrounds. We also strive to provide our clients with ways to overcome park funding hurdles and make the process as easy as possible. In this post, we want to highlight a few generous funders and fundraising ideas we have for helping you create your park or playground.

Otis Spunkmeyer

When you’re looking for additional park funding money to expand your playground project, fundraising is a great option. Fundraising can seem intimidating, but that’s where companies like Otis Spunkmeyer come in.

Specializing in baked goods, Otis Spunkmeyer provides various flavors of cookie dough, muffins, brownies, and cakes to those looking to raise money. Your group is given the amount of materials needed for your cause, and then you re-sell the products to consumers. After the fundraiser is complete, Otis Spunkmeyer will keep a portion of the sales, while the rest will go towards your playground funds.


The FundingFactory is another fundraising company that is designed to help out your school or non-profit organization. By “fundraising through reuse,” FundingFactory takes used toner and inkjet cartridges and turns the donations into cash to help with organizational fundraising.

Not only is this an eco-friendly option for fundraising, it’s a simple way for you to raise money for your park. All you have to do is register, set your monetary goal, and get the donations started!

Grant Opportunities

If you’re a part of your local parks and recreation department, you may be able to receive grant funding for your park. Assuming the park you’re creating is public, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources builds connections between the community and the outdoors by providing funding opportunities. Grant funding is available to assist the following:

  • Community Recreating and Conservation
  • Park Rehabilitation and Development
  • Small Community Development

You can apply for grants easily through the DCNR’s online portal and read more about each possible grant on the DCNR website.


There are several organizations that River Valley Recreation partners with to help stretch out the funds for your project. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Cooperative Purchasing Program, or COSTARS, is one of those groups. COSTARS will work with you and Pennsylvania’s Department of General Services to efficiently and cost-effectively leverage contracts with suppliers so that you can get the funding you need. With this program, the goal is to “expand and facilitate” opportunities “through an interactive partnership with the Commonwealth.” To learn more, visit the COSTARS website.

Omnia Partners

Another business that River Valley Recreation partners with is OMNIA Partners, which is an experienced organization in procurement and supply chain management. With access to a large and diverse portfolio of goods and service suppliers, members of OMNIA are able to save money when it comes to purchases. As a result, any funds you already do have for your park can possibly be used much more efficiently than you originally anticipated.


IU13 Collaborative Services is another program that you can use to help you save money for your park project. Especially if you’re a school district, IU13 can offer added value and cost-saving solutions to assist in leveraging your purchasing power. For example, certain facilities can benefit from a wide range of line-item bids, catalog discount bids, and marketplace contracts that may be useful to your project. To learn more about the collaborative purchasing services that IU13 offers, contact them online.

Even if none of these programs seem to apply to you, we still recommend checking them out and inquiring about the services. We have a longer list of contracts and organizations that we partner with on our website, but you can also reach out to us for any help.

At the end of the day, all of us at River Valley Recreation want to bring a fun and inspiring outdoor recreation outlet to your establishment. All of our playground equipment is custom-designed and built to last for years to come. We’ll walk you through every step of the process, and also direct you to any funding assistance you might need to make your vision a reality. Get in touch with us to start discussing your next project!