Who should apply for No Child Left Inside grants

Eligible applicants

A youth cross-country skiing education experienceApplicants must be a public entity or private nonprofit organization with a mission or educational purpose that supports natural resource education and/or outdoor recreation.

The 2023 grants will consist of two types of grant awards — mini grants and larger grants. Applicants must choose only one.

Mini grants

Mini grants, with awards between $500-$5,000, will include a simple application and projects with smaller scope. Eligible projects will be entered into a lottery, and awards granted randomly on a regionally-balanced statewide basis.

Larger grants

Larger grants have awards between $5,001-$25,000 and will include a more extensive application process and greater project scope. Eligible projects will be competitively reviewed and awarded statewide on a per capita basis.

Examples of eligible applicants

Examples of organizations that would qualify include:

  • Public entities (cities, counties, special purpose districts and public schools, including public colleges and higher education institutions);
  • Native American tribes, schools or governments;
  • Non-profit organizations, including:
    • Informal, after school and early childhood programs
    • Community-based youth programs

Private businesses, state and federal agencies, and other applicants who do not meet these criteria are not eligible for this grant program.

The DNR reserves the right to restrict awards to a maximum of one per program, project, site or facility.

Grant priorities

The 2021 Legislature established some specific requirements and priorities for the No Child Left Inside Grant Program. The DNR has established additional funding priorities in consultation with stakeholders. Priorities and requirements for past phases were as follows:

  • Programs that maximize the number of participants, especially from new and diverse audiences with limited opportunities.
  • Audience must be youth (under 18) – activities that include participant families are also eligible.
  • Applicants commit matching funds or in-kind resources.
  • Projects that are community-focused with an ongoing impact rather than one-time events.
  • New and innovative programming (if an existing program or project, applicant must demonstrate a significant expansion in scope or inclusion of new audiences).
  • Projects must provide students direct experiences and understanding of nature.
  • Provide opportunities for outdoor recreation or to learn new outdoor skills.
  • Use public parks and other natural resource venues and personnel as resources.
  • Education classes that are held outside and use established environmental, ecological, agricultural or natural-resource educational curriculum.
  • Other projects that support natural resource education and outdoor recreation as determined by the DNR.

A complete list of grant priorities, requirements and eligible activities and expenses can be found in this past request for proposals.

Data on participant free and reduced-price lunch eligibility

This grant program is designed to serve those with limited opportunities who don’t typically have the resources to access outdoor activities. Applicants are asked to provide the percentage of the project target audience that is eligible for free and reduced-price lunch (FRPL).

A searchable database of Minnesota student enrollment data, including FRPL numbers by school, district and county with data down to the grade level, is available on the Minnesota Department of Education website.

Matching dollars

Match is considered when evaluating grant applicants. No specific amount is required and in-kind support is allowed.

Ineligible activities

Activities for which grant dollars cannot be used include but are not limited to:

  • Purchase of hunting or fishing licenses, tags or stamps;
  • Group banquets, raffle prizes or other fundraising activities;
  • Hunting and fishing competitions with cash awards or prizes larger than nominal value;
  • Firearms and ammunition are not eligible (bows and arrows are eligible);
  • Gardening for food projects, unless combined with significant agricultural or environmental education programming, including the benefits of local, healthy food programs;
  • For-profit projects;
  • Shooting range fees and clay targets;
  • Annual field days or festivals;
  • Capital equipment and fixed assets  such as vehicles, motorized boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, large ice fishing houses, trailers, sheds, shelters, platforms, greenhouses, computer equipment and other larger capital equipment or items (small canoes, kayaks, portable ice shelters and bicycles are eligible);
  • Trail or nature area purchase, development, equipment or maintenance (related planning and training are eligible); and
  • Administrative costs, such as overhead, insurance or indirect costs.

The DNR extends its thanks to the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection for the use of "No Child Left Inside."

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