Each year, the Foundation for Dane County Parks awards grants to organizations and partner groups that support education, interpretation and volunteerism within the Dane County Parks system. These grants are supported from the earnings from the Friends of Dane County Parks Endowment, managed by the Madison Community Foundation. In 2021, ten applications were received, eight from friends groups in the parks and two from partner organizations, and the Foundation was pleased to fund all ten applications. This year's projects were:
- Prairie Moraine Friends - $2,000 for the "Bluebirds in the Park" project that will include purchase of two interpretive signs and cedar boards for constructing bluebird houses, to support community education about the bluebirds that live in the park.
- Friends of Pheasant Branch Conservancy - $1,800 for their continued programming for underserved populations, to fund programming assistance, rental of all-terrain wheel chairs, art supplies, stipend for musicians, and other supplies.
- Friends of McCarthy Park - $2,000 for purchase of a for a snow roller/compactor, large trail mower and signage to groom and maintain the park's cross country ski trails, snowshoe trails and sledding hill. MadNorski Ski Group, Prairie Riders Snowmobile Club, and Friends of McCarthy Park are also contributing to these purchases.
- Friends of Schumacher Farm Park - $2,000 for purchasing specialty prairie seed for their "Ag to Prairie Conversion project.
- Friends of Silverwood Park - $2,000 to develop a curriculum for "Silverwood Healthy Soils Workshop" that will educate adult learners about regenerative soil practices in cooperation with Dane County, UW-Extension and others.
- Friends of Stewart Park - $2,000 to rent timber harvesting equipment, purchase interpretive signage, and provide educational opportunities for an Operation Fresh Start Crew.
- Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area - $1,769 for signage, binoculars and other outreach event expenses as part of their collaboration with the Ho-Chunk Nation.
- Access Ability Wisconsin - $2,000 to fund a part time staff person to manage reservations and use of the all-terrain wheelchair house at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, and to train and educate volunteers.
- Dane County Council of Snowmobile Clubs - $1,000 to purchase new signs for snowmobile trail intersections that will help emergency services locate riders more easily.
- Friends of Anderson Park - $1,750 to install an irrigation system for the park's food pantry and community gardens that serve food pantries in Oregon, Belleville and Verona.
Thank you to all of our Friends and Partner groups who do so much good for our parks, and thank you to all of the Allocations Committee members who helped review this year's grants. The Foundation looks forward to supporting education, interpretation and volunteerism in the parks for many years to come.