Community Matching Fund

Page updated on May 5, 2021 at 8:22 PM

Matching Fund Graphic

The City of Alexandria wants to partner with you and provide funding to help beautify, conserve, and enhance its parks, gardens, trails, and recreational facilities. We’ve approved Community Matching Fund partnerships to upgrade athletic fields, plant community gardens, beautify parks, expand community composting, develop a teen center, renovate playgrounds to provide better equipment and accessibility, expand outdoor exercise opportunities for seniors, and more. How could you use it to improve you community?

A total of $100,000 in City matching funds is approved in the FY 2022 budget. RPCA will give 1:1 matching awards in an amount up to $25,000, which allows a minimum of four selected proposals. Groups may count in-kind physical labor. We welcome projects that connect our community, invest in the environment, or improve well-being. We specifically look for projects that bring together Alexandria’s diverse population at our parks and facilities; enhance and conserve the City’s natural spaces; and promote healthy and active lifestyles for all ages and levels of ability.

We want to make it easy for anyone to apply. We’re happy to work with your group to help you correctly submit a proposal and get prepared to present your idea to the City’s Park and Recreation Commission. We encourage advance consultations with RPCA on the type of expenses the Community Matching Fund will help cover. For example, we’ll help with spending on tangible property, like fitness or play equipment a nonprofit group is using in City parks to encourage outdoor exercise, but not for the pay of instructors leading the free fitness classes.

We want to help neighborhoods all over Alexandria, especially the ones that may need it most. The information below will guide you through how to partner with us and use our matching funds to give adults and children in your community better places to socialize, relax, play, exercise, and recharge. 

Fiscal Year 2022 Application Process

The FY 2022 Application period will open on May 6.  Proposals are due June 25, no later than 5:00 p.m. 

Click here to view the application

To learn about the process you can click here to view a recorded online information session held on Monday, March 5, 2018 or contact

FY 2022 Community Matching Fund Schedule:

  • May 6–June 25, 2021:  Application submission period
  • July -- August, 2021: Application review period 
  • September 16, 2021: Park and Recreation Commission staff presentation 
  • October 21, 2021: Park and Recreation Commission public hearing    

How Does the Matching Fund Work?

Following closure of the application process, RPCA staff will evaluate the proposals and recommend specific projects to proceed based on qualifications and the rating criteria below. Staff will present the proposals to the Park and Recreation Commission (PRC) in a Public Hearing at their September meeting. At this meeting, the applicants will have an opportunity to speak to the PRC about their project and answer questions. The PRC will provide approval or request additional information at their October meeting. Groups may proceed with fundraising efforts once given PRC approval. City matching funds will be available on November 1. Following approval, the City and the community group will enter into a formal agreement that outlines both the City and the group’s responsibilities.

The community group must raise their funds within one year of the award. Awardees must provide quarterly financial updates throughout the year. Upon reaching the goal, the City and organization will work collaboratively to implement the project. 

What Types of Projects are Eligible?

 Since 2016, the Community Matching Fund has supported a wide range of projects that typically fall under these project categories:

  • Neighborhood and Pocket Park Improvements. There may be several needs in your neighborhood park that can use your financial support and volunteerism. The neighborhood and pocket park improvement plans identify a wide range recommendations for your neighborhood park.  We encourage you to use these plans as a guide, and to support these parks through the Community Matching Fund. 

  • Athletic Facility Improvements such as water bottle fillers, batting cages, sports goals, and other improvements to City sports facilities 

  • Resources, materials, and supplies for Environmental, Educational, and Recreational Programming.  Past projects have included a teen center, nature trail signage and equipment to support fitness programs.  Resources and materials should go back into the community to support healthy and active lifestyles, and/or educational programming. Associated programming must be offered free at least 4 times a year in partnership with the City of Alexandria’s Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities Department. 

  • Tree Planting and Horticultural Gardens 

  • Environmental Sustainability Initiatives such as compost bins, rain gardens, community gardens, pollinator gardens, solar panels, and other ideas that reduce our impacts to the environment and and help to conserve our natural resources 

  • Other innovative ideas to support community health and well being in our City parks and Recreation facilities  

  • Projects must be located in a  City owned Park  or Recreational Facility

How Many Community Groups Will RPCA Select and How Much Money Will They Award?

Beginning July 1, 2020 there will be a total of $25,000 in City matching funds. RPCA will give 1:1 matching award in an amount up to $25,000, which allows a minimum of one selected proposal. Awards may be given in any amount between $5,000 (for project totals of $10,000) to $25,000 (for project totals for $50,000).  

Who Can Apply?

Any community group that lives and/or works in the City of Alexandria can apply for the matching fund. The group must demonstrate in their proposal a capacity to build a stronger and healthier community through park and recreation facility improvements. Proposals must show that the project will:

• Provide a public benefit, available to all members of the public;
• Be located on City owned parks property or recreational facility;
• Emphasize self-help, with project ideas initiated, planned and implemented by the neighbors and community members impacted by the project; and
• Demonstrate the ability to raise the community match within one year.

A successful proposal will include completed and detailed sections that demonstrate the group has planned well, is able to organize broad community support, and knows how to secure the resources needed to complete the project.  

Rating criteria will include: 

Proposed Idea (up to 30 points)
Applicants must demonstrate the project’s alignment to the RPCA Strategic Plan. The proposal must include a detailed work plan, explain how the project will:

  • Connect the community: Our parks and facilities are the public’s common ground that equitably bring together our vibrant and diverse community.
  • Invest in the Environment: Our commitment to natural spaces provides physical, mental, and community benefits, while offering opportunities to engage with and conserve our natural resources.
  • Improve Well-being: Our programs and facilities motivate the community to make healthy choices and live active lifestyles through all stages of life and at all levels of ability

If applicable to the project site location, projects should also show consistency with the Citywide Park Improvement Plan (2014), the Neighborhood Park Improvement Plan (2016), or other City planning documents.

Neighborhood Involvement/Community Building (up to 30 Points)
Applicants must demonstrate the project’s effectiveness by including as many diverse groups and individuals as possible and should reflect the demographics of the neighborhood/community, including youth, seniors, renters, homeowners, and business organizations. Documentation of support from community associations and/or stakeholders is encouraged.

Project Resources & Readiness (up to 30 points) 
Applicants must demonstrate the ability to obtain widespread and diverse match contributions of cash, volunteer labor, donated professional services, and donated materials as indicators of community support. Community groups must show that they can raise their matching funds within 12 months. They must also show a project timeline. Proposals that demonstrate a maintenance assistance plan will receive higher consideration. 

Outcomes (up to 10 points) 
Applicants should provide goals and objectives must identify how they will measure project success with specific outcomes, both tangible and/or intangible results.

Community Matching Fund Requirements

  • Awards will not be made to government agencies, political groups, district councils, school districts, newspapers, organizations outside the City of Alexandria, or applicants who have failed to successfully carry out projects awarded in the two preceding years. 
  • Awards will not be made to duplicate an existing public or private program, support programs or services, pay for operating expenses not directly related to the awarded project, or to purchase land or buildings.
  • Community groups can have only one match award at a time. Proposals not accepted one year can be submitted again the following year if it meets all requirements.
  • All design and capital projects must provide readily accessible facilities per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • The organization must sign a commitment agreement by December 1.
  • If the project includes purchases that have a life span of under five years, the organization must be prepared to pay the maintenance costs.
  • Projects funds must be used toward the project, as identified in the project agreement, within three years of the award. Any remaining City funds after project completion will be used towards other future community matching fund projects. Remaining fundraised balances will be returned to the organization.


Cash donations can come from fundraising events, individuals, foundations, businesses, and/or community groups. Community groups may seek grants to fulfill their 50% portion of the project; however, these grants may not come from other City funded resources. If the organization seeks grants, they must provide grant documentation requirements for City staff review to ensure eligibility.

Groups may count in-kind physical labor and professional services towards the match, but must be fully explain their strategy in the proposal. In-Kind professional services cannot exceed 15% of the total project budget. Donated professional services must be relevant to the project and proportionate to its needs.  The group must document and submit to the City all volunteer hours, whether labor or professional services. 

All donated materials and supplies are valued at their retail prices. Donors of the materials and supplies must provide documentation on their letterhead of the value of the match.

An applicant does not need to be an IRS-recognized charitable organization (known as a 501(c) (3) agency) to receive Matching funds. However, the group must have a fiscal sponsor or designated person to manage the project’s funds, and assumes financial responsibilities related to successful completion of the project.  Applicants must to be aware of and in compliance with the state requirements to register for charitable solicitation:


Upon completion of fundraising the City and Organization will discuss the following two procurement options and determine the best approach for the particular project:

  1. The Organization will provide the City with a check for their full fund-raised amount. The City will then assume responsibility for procurement of all project contractors and/or consultants and will serve as the project manager.
  2. The Organization makes all of the purchases and provides the City with an invoice for reimbursement. This option assumes that the Organization can pay the full amount up front. If this method is used and there is work expected on City property, City staff must review and approve all plans. NOTE: Organizations cannot use the community match funds towards architectural and engineering services (A&E). If the project involves A&E services, the City must the procure the services OR the Organization may procure the services using private funding above and beyond the matching fund amount.

The two parties will document the procurement method in a signed agreement.

Project Progression

All award recipients must submit progress reports, documentation of community match, and invoices, as appropriate, throughout project, as will be documented in the City and organization agreement upon award.

If a community group determines by the following calendar year from signing their commitment letter that it cannot meet their matching goals, the City will rescind the award and the City's matching funds will be used for another community group award in the upcoming fiscal year. 


The approved projects shall have a recognition sign, dedication, or some other recognition signifying the project is part of the City's RPCA PARKnership Program Community Matching Fund. 

What Type of Projects Have Previously Been Awarded Matching Funds?

Past Community Matching Fund Awardees

Contact Information