Grant Guidelines

About Unity Gardens

Unity Gardens, Inc. is a non-profit organization providing grants of up to $1,000 to community associations, PTAs, religious congregations, and other non-profit organizations. Grants are given to promote community partnerships through greening projects, environmental enhancement, and education.  Grant funds may be used in community areas, neighborhoods, and on school grounds in Anne Arundel County. Funds may be used for trees and plants (primarily native) and limited materials (i.e. mulch, soil, gator bags, educational signage) to support these projects. Grants are awarded in the Spring and Fall of each year.

Eligibility

  • Projects must be located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
  • Projects must be organized by a community-based community association, PTA, religious congregations or other non-profit organization and have a strong volunteer component. 

  • Projects must be located on organization-owned property, public property (e.g., school 
grounds, storm water management area, etc.) with the community having documented permission
from the public owner of the property, or on property owned by the nonprofit. 

  • 70% of the funding must be used for plant material. 
 Projects with a minimum of 80% of the plant material consisting of native plants are preferred. Annuals* and invasive species will not be funded.
 Visit the “How to Choose & Find Native Plants” page on unitygardens.org for information on selecting and locally sourcing native plants.
  • Native plants must be listed in the online guides provided in order for Unity Gardens to count them toward the native plant percentage.

  • Projects that may not meet the native plants percentage but do offer significant community or educational value may still be considered for funding should there be sufficient funds available during a particular funding cycle. *
  • Community grantees must have a community association. 

  • Grantees must have a bank account in the name of the Grantee. 


Requirements Following Approval:

  • Each Grantee will be required to:
    • Confirm a start date for the project.
    • Notify Unity Gardens of any changes to the original proposal (e.g., dates, plants, etc.).
    • 
Inform Unity Gardens, Inc. of any press releases planned for the project.
    • Acknowledge Unity Gardens in all promotional material.
  • If permits are required, the permit must be obtained before the project begins. The applicant is responsible for checking with the appropriate local jurisdiction (City of Annapolis or Anne Arundel County) to determine if any permits are required.
  • Projects are to be completed within the grant cycle for which the grant is awarded (Spring or Fall) unless an extension has been granted. 

  • A final report will be due by February 15 for Fall grants and by August 1 for Spring grants. It must include: 

    • A complete and accurate spreadsheet of the funds received and expenses incurred under the grant, plus receipts for expenses.
    • A summary of the project as implemented.
    • Copies of news releases and photos, including before and after photos.
    • The project lead is responsible for both informing participants that photos may be utilized by Unity Gardens on our website and in promotional materials, and ensuring verbal or written permission from individuals depicted in submitted photos as described in the grant agreement.
    • Outline of a plan on project site maintenance after installation, including designation of a maintenance supervisor. After project completion, the Grantee agrees to maintain the project in good condition and repair or replace damaged or dead plants. 

  • Upon approval of the Final Report, Grantee will provide recognition to Unity Gardens by 
installing a Unity Gardens plaque or including the Unity Gardens logo on educational signage 
at the project site. 

  • The proposal funded by Unity Gardens belongs to the organization requesting the grant and 
not any individual member or volunteer of the organization.

Selection Criteria

Selection will be based on the following criteria:

  • Level of volunteer participation and development of community leadership.
  • Potential benefit to the community and the environment.

  • Feasibility of project plan, including goals, time line, budget, and breakdown of plant and other 
materials.
  • Preference for projects using a minimum of 80% native plants.
  • Annuals and invasive species will not be funded.
  • Detailed budget, proof of fiscal responsibility, and financial need.
  • Soundness of long term plan for maintenance and sustainability.

 Funding Restrictions

  • Unity Gardens’ grant funds may not be used for hardscape, equipment including tools or fixtures (hoses are acceptable for funding). Some items may be considered for approval based on funding availability and the items’ impact on the sustainability, use or effectiveness of the project (e.g., tree stakes, deer exclosures, plant educational signs, outdoor classroom items, etc.).
  • Grant funds may not be used on private property (other than private property owned by a nonprofit or community association).
  • Unity Gardens will require a refund for the cost of materials not covered in our Guidelines.
  • First priority is given to first-time grantees meeting or exceeding all eligibility requirements. Second priority is given to repeat grantees as funds allow.

Award Notification

All applicants will receive an email notice of Unity Gardens’ decision. An application may be declined, partially awarded, or fully awarded. If approved, Unity Gardens will email a grant agreement with grant conditions. Grantees must print the agreement and have it signed by the head of the organization, then scan, and upload the signed grant agreement with original signatures to Unity Gardens. Unity Gardens will mail the check to the Grantee following Unity Gardens’ receipt of the signed grant agreement.

Applications are accepted in good faith. Unity Gardens Inc. shall be held harmless in the event of changes in leadership or structure of organizations receiving grants.

 Unity Gardens, Inc. is a 501(c)3) not for profit organization