Urban Space Open Program
Urban Space Open Program

Urban Open Space Grant Program
Community garden

The Urban Open Space Grant Program is funded by Measure Q and offers grants that will benefit communities and neighborhoods within the Authority’s jurisdiction. The jurisdiction includes the cities of San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Campbell, Morgan Hill and unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County.

The grants are open to Public Agencies, Schools and School Districts, and Nonprofits and are awarded in these four categories:

  • Environmental Stewardship and Restoration
  • Parks, Trails, and Public Access
  • Environmental Education
  • Urban Agriculture/Food Systems

This is an annual grant program; information on the FY 17-18 grant cycle will be posted here when available.

November 10, 2016: The Board of Directors for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has awarded $1,553,077 in the initial grant cycle for the Measure Q Urban Open Space competitive grant program.

Volunteering at Pumpkins in the Park
Outdoor leaders training in Rancho Canada
del Oro Open Space Preserve
(Photo credit: Bay Area Wilderness Training)

Fifteen organizations serving Santa Clara County residents, including nonprofits, schools, cities and the County, received grant funds for community gardens, outdoor leaders training, environmental education, homeless stream stewards, sustainable food systems and more. The $1.5 million in grant awards leverages more than $1.1 million in matching funds from the grantee organizations and other sources for total urban open space investment in these projects of more than $2.6 million.

In this inaugural grant cycle, the Authority received twenty-seven eligible applications requesting a total of $3.3 million. The Authority’s staff evaluated the proposals and held a special Citizens Advisory Committee meeting for further review and public comment that was attended by over forty community members.

The Authority awarded grants in each of its seven districts, bringing benefits to communities throughout the jurisdiction, which includes Milpitas, San Jose, Santa Clara, Campbell, Morgan Hill and unincorporated parts of the county. Many projects are site-specific such as the Morgan Hill Community Garden and the City of Campbell-Nido Neighborhood Reforestation, while others such as the wayfinding and interpretive project of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council are broader in scope and reach.

2016 Measure Q Urban Open Space Program Grantees and Projects

Organization Project Grant Award
Bay Area Ridge Trail Council Gateway to Trails and Parks: Ridge Trail Interpretive, Wayfinding and Outings Project at Berryessa BART
This project will combine transit and trails for countywide recreation and transportation through wayfinding signs near the Berryessa BART station, interpretive panels with an overview map, brochures, trail maps and hosted trail outings.
Bay Area Wilderness Training South Bay Capacity Building Project (Getting Underserved Youth Outside)
This project will increase the number of program partners and environmental educators in Santa Clara County and boost the number of outdoor trips and diverse youth visiting OSA land and other area parks.
City of Campbell Nido Neighborhood Reforestation
The project will plant 116 drought tolerant trees and increase the quality of life, decrease crime, and reduce traffic speeds. These trees will also help decrease storm water runoff, remove pollution from the air, and reduce urban heat.
City of Morgan Hill Morgan Hill Community Garden Expansion and Relocation
The Morgan Hill Community Garden will be relocated and expanded to a new site that doubles the number of garden plots, includes a restroom, new native habitat, and enhanced accessibility for members with limited mobility.
Friends of Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County The Master Gardener Community Education Center at Martial Cottle Park: Supporting the Environment at Your Own Home
This project will create a multi‐generational Community Educational Center that will help individuals and families to become stewards of nature and to grow healthy food year‐round using environmentally sound gardening practices.
Guadalupe River Park Conservancy Environmental education for Title One students and Boys & Girls Club members
The project supports use of the Guadalupe River park as an outdoor lab to help familiarize children with the outdoors, instill a sense of environmental stewardship, and to teach hands‐on, standards‐based science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) lessons, with a special emphasis on serving students from Title One schools.
Joseph George Middle School/Citizen Schools Joseph George Learning Lab/Community Garden
The project will improve student academic outcomes, increase knowledge of gardening and the environment, beautify the school campus and introduce freshly‐grown produce into the diets of several families living in a park‐poor neighborhood a food desert section of San Jose.
Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful Coyote Meadows Park Community Planning and Concept Project
This project will help transform Coyote Meadows, a nearly 50‐acre parcel along Coyote Creek, into an urban open space park with native plants, passive recreational uses. and a strong stewardship infrastructure.
Latinos United for a New America (LUNA) Nuestro Lugar
This project will develop an open space area along Midfield Avenue in East San Jose, where there is currently no open space, and provide residents with space to walk, garden, engage in sports activities, play, climb, and engage in artistic activity with other neighbors.
San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory Coyote Creek Field Station Environmental Education Program
The project will develop a place and inquiry‐based education module for students to participate in citizen science with both classroom and field learning activities.
San Jose State University Research Foundation CommUniverCity: Growing Sustainably
The project will promote healthy, fresh foods and environmental stewardship among low‐income children and their families with a garden education program for 3rd to 6th grade students, along with a garden club, nutrition and cooking workshops and an annual environmental education festival.
Santa Clara County Creeks Coalition Coyote Creek Homeless Stream Stewards Trash Free Coyote Creek
The Stream Stewards will work with the Friends of Coyote Creek Watershed, volunteer groups and public agencies to achieve a trash free creek on a 10-mile stretch of Coyote Creek.
Santa Clara County Public Health Department Park and Play Initiative
The project will address health equity related to park utilization by underserved communities in Milpitas and East San Jose—with more families visiting Santa Clara County Parks, participating in park programs and becoming comfortable utilizing parks on an ongoing basis to increase their physical activity and overall understanding of environmental stewardship.
The Regents of the University of California/UCCE Santa Clara County Development of a Small and Urban Beginning Farmer Learning Hub at Martial Cottle Park
The project will offer workshops, fields days and facilitate farmer to farmer networking. Participants will increase agricultural skills, knowledge of sustainable farming practices, farm business planning, and marketing—leading to long term farm economic and environmental viability, agricultural awareness within the local community, and organic waste diversion from landfills for sustainable soil management.
The Santa Clara County Food System Alliance Small-Scale Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Santa Clara County
This project will explore economic and social viability of small‐scale urban and peri‐urban agricultural operations. The Alliance will produce a report with potential models for successful small‐scale agricultural operations and marketing and distribution systems that expand healthy food access by linking a viable urban and peri‐urban agricultural system to underserved communities.

To sign up for email updates about the Urban Open Space Grant Program, click here.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Megan Dreger, Grants Administrator.

Grant Review/Awards

Preliminary Staff Recommendations—Citizens’ Advisory Committee Meeting

Grant Materials

Measure Q UOS Grant Guidelines

Grant Eligibility Map (includes Deep Engagement Communities)

Measure Q Grant Application

ZoomGrants Tutorial for Grant Application

Measure Q Grant Questions & Answers

Grant Workshop Presentation (slides)

Grant Workshop Presentation (38MB recording)


Community garden
Martial Cottle Biking




20% Funding Program

In a separate urban open space program, referred to as “20% Funding,” the Open Space Authority has been setting aside 20% of its capital expenditures annually for urban open space projects since 1997. Once a year, funds are allocated to participating cities and the County of Santa Clara based on each jurisdiction’s percentage of parcels within the OSA’s benefit assessment district. Member cities include Milpitas, Campbell, San Jose, Santa Clara and Morgan Hill.

Projects that qualify for funding include land acquisition, environmental restoration, and improvements that provide or enhance open space. This includes projects that increase public appreciation of open space, such as trails, overlooks, and interpretive signage and projects that convert surplus or abandoned lands.

Requests for open space project funding originate with the participating jurisdictions. City and county staff apply for funds to support specific projects that meet their own and the Authority’s open space requirements and goals.

20% Funding Policy and Procedures

20% Funding Application

Examples of past 20% Funding projects:

Morgan Hill
San Jose
Santa Clara
Santa Clara County