The Making the Shade program provides grant funding to create healthier, shaded playground areas on elementary school campuses. This funding (up to $5,000) is available to elementary schools, PTAs, neighborhood associations, and community groups. In addition, GFC’s Community Foresters help with species selection, location, planting, and maintenance education.

Many elementary schools do not have enough trees on the school’s campus, especially in the playground area. Strategically planted trees provide many benefits.

Trees keep children healthy by:
  • Reducing surface temperatures on playground equipment
  • Reducing UV radiation which can cause skin cancer
  • Reducing ground-level ozone through cooling
  • Decreasing temperatures
  • Improving air quality, thereby lessening the risk for children with asthma
Tree benefits in school settings:
  • Shade from trees encourages activities in green recess settings, reducing AD/HD and improving test scores.
  • Children gather in the shade of trees and seek them out for respite from overactive minds’
  • Trees improve campus aesthetics.
  • Trees provide shady gathering areas for teachers, administrators, and students.
  • Trees conserve energy by shading air conditioning equipment, windows, and buildings.
The Making the Shade program enlivens and activates communities for years to come.
  • Students and parents can serve as the primary planters. This allows them to take ownership and responsibility for watering and mulching.
  • Pre-planned classroom activities can also be coordinated around events such as Arbor Day.

Apply to Making the Shade Program

Making the Shade grant applications are accepted year-round. Steps to Apply:

  1. View Grant Application and Guidelines
  2. Contact a U&CF Forester in your area to schedule an appointment.
  3. Download an application form and bring it with you to the appointment for further assistance.

View Grant Application and Guidelines

The Program Objectives of Making the Shade are:

  • A reduction in surface temperatures of schoolyards and playground equipment
  • A reduction in children’s skin damage
  • A reduction in respiratory problems caused by elevated temperatures
  • A reduction in air temperatures around playgrounds
  • An increase in green learning environments and incorporation of the environmental benefits of trees into school curriculum
  • An increase in energy conservation through shading of air conditioning equipment and school buildings

Eligible Recipients
Educational institutions, parent-teacher organizations, community tree volunteer groups, and neighborhood associations are eligible for funding. A working relationship with a local GFC Forester must be established before application and maintained during all project phases. Partnerships with school officials, the parent-teacher organization, a local tree board/ nonprofit, a volunteer landscape architect, a local nursery, and/or a corporate sponsor are strongly encouraged. At the time of grant award, applicants must demonstrate that they can contribute the required cash and/or in-kind match.

Available Funds
Making the Shade Grant Program funds are provided through the Urban and Community Forestry grant program. The maximum amount of the award is $5,000. Funding is for projects or activities not otherwise currently funded and cannot be used to substitute for existing funds. Funding is unavailable for entertainment, food and beverages, computers, or equipment purchases. The Georgia Forestry Commission reserves the right to reject all proposals or to approve partial funding for all proposals.

Match Requirements
Making the Shade Grant Program, funds must be matched equally (dollar for dollar) with non-federal funds. These non-federal funds cannot be used as a match for any other Federal cost-share project. The match may include in-kind contributions, volunteer assistance, and private and public (non-Federal) monetary contributions. All matching funds must be specifically related to the proposed project.

In-kind contributions include on-hand supplies, third-party donations of supplies or equipment, the value of time (including fringe benefits), professional services at the professional rate, or time spent by employees or volunteers on eligible project activities. Volunteer hours may be applied to the project at rates appropriate to the skill level of the volunteer and/or the nature of the work being performed. To determine the average value of adult volunteer labor, refer to the dollar amount specified by the Independent Sector by visiting their website. For children, use minimum wage as a standard.

Assistance provided by Federal employees or Georgia Forestry Commission staff may not be claimed as part of the match.

Cash purchases are direct, out-of-pocket expenditures for eligible project activities. If grant funds are awarded, please be prepared to document your match by providing copies of invoices, canceled checks, signed receipts, payroll records, volunteer sign-in sheets, utility bills, etc.

Funds expended before the grant agreement date cannot be used as a match. Funds expended for entertainment, food and beverages, computers, or equipment purchases can not be used as a match. Documentation of all matching funds must be provided before reimbursement of the grant award will be issued.

Grant Timeframe
Approved projects can begin only after the grantee and the State Forester sign a grant agreement. The recipient has one year to complete the project.

Final Report
A final report is required of the grantee after the project.

Payment Process
Payments will be made upon project completion and review of the Final Report or according to a payment schedule agreed to in advance. The Georgia Forestry Commission reserves the right to make partial payments subject to the completion of scheduled milestones.

Eligible Projects
Eligible Projects must meet program objectives. The Making the Shade program is intended to support new initiatives, programs, projects, or activities not currently being funded through other sources. Making the Shade is not intended for the beautification of tree plantings.

Ineligible Projects
Ineligible projects include, but are not limited to; trail design and maintenance, property acquisition and related costs, beautification projects, and tree removal and maintenance.

General Requirements
A copy of the completed application must be submitted to the U&CF forester and also by e-mail or mail to:

Making the Shade Program
Georgia Forestry Commission
1055 East Whitehall Road
Athens, GA 30605

A signed liability waiver and endorsement letter (form at the end of the application) must be submitted with each application.

Applicants must sign a grant agreement with the state forester before the project can begin.