Planning Grant Awardees

Open Spaces Sacred Places: The Healing Power of Nature, National Awards Program for Integrated Research and Design Projects, announces the selection of $500,000 in planning grants to 11 cross-disciplinary teams funded through the TKF Foundation. Grantee Teams will develop proposals to conceptualize, plan, design and implement an open, sacred urban green space, conduct associated research study(ies), and communicate scientific findings.

‘In a time when people are more and more surrounded by the built world, beset by ever increasing stress, and overwhelmed by technology, the Foundation’s goal has been to create open, sacred places where people can be in nature and reconnect to themselves, to place, and to each other,’ said Tom Stoner, co-Founder of the TKF Foundation, a private nonprofit that funds publicly accessible urban green space. He continued, ‘We believe everyone needs to be in nature as nature both heals and unifies us.’

The planning grant awardees exhibit the potential to generate more complete knowledge about the benefits and impacts that result from user experiences of nature-based sacred spaces in cities. Selected projects embody potential to be replicable in their intent, and generalizable in the challenges they address, to serve as potential archetypes for urban areas across the U.S.

Planning Grant recipients were selected by the Foundation in a competitive review process based on a comprehensive “best value” evaluation.

Summary of Planning Grants

Announcements and news from our Planning Grantees

Note: Funding for the National Awards Program for Integrated Research and Design Projects is enacted in two phases. A prior planning grant award is not a criterion for eligibility to apply for the final funding phase of the National Awards, nor will planning grant recipients be automatically favored in the National Awards review process. The Awards Program is open to any project proposal that meets the eligibility criteria as specified in the request for proposals. The RFP for the final funding phase of the awards program will be released on 2/1/12.

The eleven teams are:

From Afar: Garden of Transitions
Utica, NY

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County
Cornell University: Dept. of Design and Environmental Analysis, College of Human Ecology
Empire State College, SUNY
Ringling College of Art and Design
Rust to Green NYS Action Research Project
Rust to Green Utica

The Green Road: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda
Bethesda, MD

Lead Grantee/Partners:
The Institute for Integrative Health
The Benson-Henry Institute of the Massachusetts General Hospital
CDM Federal Programs Corporation
The Fisher House Foundation
NIH/NIMH, Section on Neuroendocrinology, Immunology and Behavior
NIH Pain & Palliative Care Service Clinical Center
The Society of American Military Engineers, Northern Virginia Post
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) School of Nursing
Walter Reed Society

Intergenerational/Multicultural Community Garden
Malden, MA

Lead Grantee/Partners:
City of Malden Redevelopment Authority
Harvard University, Dept. of Psychology
Kadima Architects
Tova Speter, Community Artist

Landscapes of Resilience: Understanding the creation and stewardship of Open Spaces Sacred Places
Joplin, MO & Detroit, MI

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Cornell University Civic Ecology Lab
Forest ReLeaf Missouri
The Greening of Detroit
USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station

Mechanisms of Nature Restoration
Washington, DC & Baltimore, MD Metro Areas

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Rotman Research Institute
University of Michigan

Naval Hospital Cemetery Memorial Landscape
Brooklyn, NY

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
Columbia University, Quantitative Methods in Social Sciences Program
The Green School
The Horticultural Society of New York
Nelson, Byrd, Woltz Landscape Architects

An Open Space Sacred Place for Life Enhancement
Tucson, AZ & Bronx, NY

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Canyon Ranch Institute
El Rio Community Health Center (Tucson, AZ)
Marpa Landscape Design Studio
Rodale, Inc.
Urban Health Plan (Bronx, NY)

Reflections: People on the Waterfront
Seattle, WA

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Pomegranate Center
University of Washington, Green Futures Research and Design Lab

The Space Within
San Diego, CA

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Groundwork San Diego-Chollas Creek
Estrada Land Planning
Hubbell and Hubbell
Jackie Robinson YMCA
San Diego State University

Therapeutic Healing Garden
Portland, OR

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Emanuel Medical Center Foundation
Brian Bainnson, ASLA
Legacy Health Systems
March of Dimes, greater Oregon Chapter

Waukegan Area Sacred Spaces
Waukegan, IL

Lead Grantee/Partners:
Parkland College
First Baptist Church Waukegan
Lake County Forest Preserves
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana Landscape and Human Health Lab


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We are a private nonprofit that funds publicly accessible urban green space. We believe that everyone needs to “be in nature” as nature both heals and unifies us. The Foundation partners with organizations to create Open Spaces Sacred Places, which increase a sense of community and contribute to a deepening of human connections. These sacred places reawaken and reaffirm the powerful connection between nature, spirit and human wellbeing.

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