Community Matching Fund

The Fund is part of RPCA's PARKnership Program, a program that oversees partnerships for the development, design, construction and operation of recreational and park facilities and/or programs.

Page updated on Jun 27, 2018 at 2:43 PM

Matching Fund GraphicThe Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities (RPCA) established the Community Matching Fund (Fund) in 2016. The Fund promotes collaborative partnerships among City of Alexandria community organizations by providing matching 1:1 dollars for groups that propose fundraising for park and recreation improvement projects. The Fund fosters public/private partnerships and cultivates innovative ways for residents to have a greater stake in improving the park and recreation facilities that they use. These partnerships will also provide opportunities for developing positive relationships between the City and the community. 

Fiscal Year 2019 Application Process

The FY19 Application is now open through April 5, 2018. To view the application or apply click here.

Click here to view a recorded online information session held on Monday, March 5.

How Does the Matching Fund Work?

Following closure of the application process, RPCA staff will evaluate the proposals and recommend specific projects to proceed (see rating criteria below). Staff will present the proposals to the Park and Recreation Commission (PRC) in a Public Hearing at their May meeting. The PRC will provide approval or request additional information at their June meeting. Groups may proceed with fundraising efforts once given PRC approval. City matching funds will be available at the start of the fiscal year on July 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. Upon reaching the goal, the City and organization will work collaboratively to implement the project.  

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

Beginning July 1, 2018 there will be a total of $100,000 in City matching funds. RPCA will give 1:1 matching award in an amount up to $25,000, which allows a minimum of four selected proposals. 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, free and open 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 effectiveness in creating a stronger, more connected, and vibrant neighborhood and community. The proposal must include a detailed work plan, explain how the project will benefit the broader community, and why they want to do this project. 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.
  • 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 and have the project started 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 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 individual persons, individual businesses, government agencies, political groups, district councils, universities, hospitals, 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, supplement existing projects, 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 July 1, 2018.
  • If the project includes purchases that have a life span of under five years, the organization must be prepared to pay the maintenance costs.


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 ought 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-fundraised 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 June 1 of the following calendar year 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?


View the FY19 Applications
View the FY19 Presentation to the Park and Recreation Commission

  1. Project: Powhatan Park Improvements
    Applicant: Northeast Old Town Civic Association
    Description: This project will replace the thorny shrubs with a low maintenance, hardy shrubs. The new shrubs will not only beautify the Park and remove the safety hazard, it will make the Park more likely to be used for social gatherings and safe play. Per community feedback, removing the thorny shrubs is consistent with the Neighborhood Park Improvement Plan (2016), NECA will work with the Sheriff's Department to remove the existing shrubs and volunteers in the community plant new shrubs. The City match will include purchase and installation of two picnic tables, a water meter and fountain, and two park benches.
    Requested amount from city: $22,500
    Amount from organization: $5,000 +16+ 2,000 volunteer hours
    Project Total: $45,000
  2. Project: Monticello Park Improvements
    Applicant: Alexandria Country Day School
    Description: Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS) proposes to work with the City of Alexandria to inventory the tree and plant species, add educational signage regarding trees and birds, clean the stream bed, and make improvements to the picnic area, such as additional seating, at Monticello Park by involving current ACDS students, alumni, local birders, and the neighboring community. ACDS’ science department would direct the research portions of the project as part of its middle school science curriculum. Second grade students study habitats and biomes, and they spend a unit focusing on birds and can expand their focus to the birds in Monticello Park. Working with guidelines from the City, the lower school and middle school students will design signage identifying the trees and describing their role in the ecosystem. 
    Requested amount from city: $5,000
    Amount from organization: $4,000 + 40 hours of volunteer time
    Project Total: $10,000
  3. Project: Simpson Triangle
    Applicant: Del Ray Citizens Association
    Description: This project will improve the vacant parcel at the corner of Bellefonte and Route One by adding trees, meadow plantings, wildflowers, paths, and group boulders for seating. The objective is to experience nature and enjoy relaxing outdoor activities as passive addition to Simpson Park, provide a natural habitat for wildlife, and create a more pleasant walk for commuters from the Route One bus to Del Ray. It is consistent with the 2014 Simpson Park Improvement Plan.
    Requested amount from city: $22,500
    Amount from organization: $22,500
    Project Total: $45,000
  4. Project: Lee Center Playground Improvements
    Applicant: Kelley Cares
    Description: The playground has not been updated since it was built in 2004 and lacks many features that would make it truly accessible for people of all abilities to use, especially for those in wheelchairs. This project proposes the addition of tactile walls, a refreshed play surface, widened walkways, wheelchair ramps, and new playground equipment that would help to modernize the space, making it more useful for participants of the Therapeutic Recreation Program and beyond. The refreshed playground would also help tie in the Ruthanne Lodato Memorial Playground which was put into place in 2015, making it a larger and fuller playground experience.
    Requested amount from city: $22,500
    Amount from organization: $22,500
    Project Total: $45,000
  5. Project: Ramsay House Garden Renovation
    Applicant: The Garden Club of Alexandria
    Description: The Ramsay House Visitor Center for the City of Alexandria welcomes many tourists and residents at the house and garden daily, and is the gathering place for tours in Old Town. The 1956 garden design is in need of renovation and has fallen into disrepair. Ramsay House employees approached The Garden Club of Alexandria asking for assistance in renovating the garden. The plan creates an accessible pathway from the North Fairfax Street entrance and brick terraces with additional seating, including five benches and a stone seat wall. These improvements, along with new plantings, a water fountain, cell phone charging station, and historical well marker, will better serve the functional needs of the thousands of people who use the Visitors Center each year, and will create an oasis for residents of Alexandria and an educational opportunity for Alexandria school students.
    Requested amount from city: $22,500
    Amount from organization: $84,000
    Project Total: $106,500
  6. Project: Hunter/Miller Park Improvements
    Applicant: Hopkins House
    Description: This project would retrofit the playground to include play equipment for children ages 2-5. This would allow the Hopkins House Helen Day Preschool Academy students as well as young kids in the neighborhood to safely use the park. 
    Requested amount from city: $6,618
    Amount from organization: $6,618
    Project Total: $13,237

Fiscal Year 2018 AwardeEs: 

View the FY18 applications 
View the FY18 presentation to the Parks and Recreation Commission (May 2017)

Compost Processing Centers
Organization: Compost Alex
Project Description: This project will construct pilot processing sites that can process food waste material locally. These sites also act as a demonstration of the community's ability to properly compost food waste. As the number of food waste drop-off contributors continues to grow, they will be bettered informed and able to be involved in the community composting system that they directly influence.
Matching Fund Contribution: $12,000 | Total Project Cost: $26,000

Witter Softball Field Upgrades
Organization: TC Williams High School Softball Boosters
Project Description: This project will enhance Witter fields to respond to growing softball program and site use. Enhancements include: dugout gutters installation, press box purchase and installation, permanent fencing for bullpens, bleacher canopies, and dugout fencing.
Matching Fund Contribution: $15,000 | Total Project Cost: $55,000

Ben Brenman Ballfield Enhancements
Organization: Alexandria Little League
Project Description: The project includes the construction of a new scoreboard and the addition of a linear split batting cage on the first base side of the diamond outside of the fields fence line. Currently, Alexandria Little league has access to only one City owned field with a scoreboard and working batting cages.
Matching Fund Contribution: $25,000 | Total Project Cost: $50,000

Nancy Dunning Garden
Applicant: Patricia and Kate Moran
Project Description: The Nancy Dunning Garden, located at the corner of Mt. Vernon Ave and Commonwealth, will be a place for peace and reflection amidst the bustle and prosperity of the neighborhood. Site improvements will include new paving and seating.
Matching Fund Contribution: $24,000 | Total Project Cost: $48,000

Colasanto Pool Site Improvements
Applicant: Del Ray Gateway Project
Project Description: The old Colasanto pool has been closed since 2010. Since then, the old pool has remained a visual eyesore and dead space at the intersection that welcomes people into Del Ray. The matching fund will provide money for site activation including a ping pong table, bollard removal, fence realignment, chairs/hammock, shade structure, and tricycle track. The City and Applicant are working towards a long-term project that aims to convert the pool to a sprayground. The items purchased through the matching fund project will not preclude future site re-development and can remain on the site after the spray ground conversion is complete.
Matching Fund Contribution: $24,000 | Total Project Cost: $48,000

Fiscal Year 2017 Awardees: 

The Charles Houston Advisory Council: $25,000
To develop a model teen center within existing space at the Charles Houston Recreation Center.
Teen Center Grand Opening Information for November 18, 2017

Alexandria Soccer Association: $15,000
To provide existing court enhancements to upgrade and support community Futsal program at Four Mile Run Park.

Four Mile Run Conservatory Foundation: $5,000
To install water-bottle and jug filling stations at the two highest-use fields in the City, those at Simpson Stadium Park and Witter Recreational Fields where there is currently no outdoor access to drinkable water; wall-mounted ADA-accessible stations installed on the existing built facilities.

PKMove: $5,000
To  purchase a Pop-up Playground and two portable mats to expand and increase participation in free weekly Parkour lessons for senior citizens and other special populations in our city parks. 

View the 2017 applications 
View the presentation to the Park and Recreation Commission on September 15, 2016

Contact Information