OutClass™ Funding Opportunities

Whether it’s just a little more help, or an entire project that needs funding, there are always avenues to help get your project off the ground. Our goal with OutClass™ is to get your project funded and built as quickly as possible. The faster we’re able to install your classroom, the sooner your students get outside and experience the first-hand benefits of outdoor learning. Today, fundraising is more competitive than ever before and it requires a sophisticated, strategic approach. Having raised millions of dollars for hundreds of projects, we offer this guide as a companion to our fundraising workshop. We hope this helps to make your dream a reality. Remember the old proverb, “the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time”.

New Funding Opportunities

We’ve got our ear to the ground and constantly have our eyes peeled for new funding opportunities. Often, these are time sensitive, with application deadlines, or specifically geared towards a specific type of installation. We’ll keep our list of current, “live” grant and funding opportunities up-to-date on this page along with details on their coverage and application process.

Canada Healthy Communities Initiative

Location: Canada

Type: Community Improvement

Deadline: Opens May 14th

Link: https://tinyurl.com/ycj22hma

NC Schools GO Outside Grant 

Location: North Carolina

Type: School & Community

Deadline: Ongoing

Link: https://tinyurl.com/jjrye28h

Friends of Acadia Outdoor Classrooms

Location: Maine

Type: Outdoor Classroom

Deadline: Ongoing

Link: https://tinyurl.com/y6bdy7rn

Manitoba Child Care Sustainability Trust

Location: Manitoba

Type: Outdoor Space Equipment

Deadline: March 30th, 2021

Link: https://tinyurl.com/shndukk6

TD Friends of the Environment

Location: Canada

Type: Environmental Education

Deadline: July 15th, 2021

Link: https://tinyurl.com/y3ebnvjj

Building Communities Grant

Location: Calgary

Type: Outdoor Classroom/Playground

Deadline: May 1st, 2021

Link: https://tinyurl.com/4244zhz9

Eight Sources for Funding

Your project will increase property value for the owner and for the surrounding homes while reducing teacher absenteeism, bullying, and vandalism as well as enriching the health, intellect, and self-worth of students. This all adds value for them. Will your project fix existing drainage issues, repair surfacing, reduce maintenance costs, or improve curb appeal? Ask about their budget for property improvements. You will need their permission regardless of whether or not they contribute.

We know, it’s a lot of work; but this is as much about building buy-in from the community and potential funders as it is about the money. This is about building your credibility across all funding platforms. Why should they invest in your project if you aren’t?

There are loads of charitable organizations that have recognized the importance of connecting children and communities to the outdoors. From TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to Trillium, to Sobeys and Home Depot, these foundations provide millions in project funding every year. Local community foundations, Rotary, Civitan, Probus, Lions, and Optimists are always looking for projects to support.

Take your project labor list and start knocking on the doors of local contractors. You will be amazed at what they will contribute if you ask. Discounted materials are as good as cash. Call your local Landscape Trades Association; local chapters are always looking for projects to help their community.

It is better to ask for advice on whom else to go to for support rather than simply asking them for their money. Building a network of support helps with all of your funding channels.

All three levels (Municipal, Provincial and Federal) have something to gain by being involved in your project, and something to lose if they are not. Make sure they understand this. Ask them to match each others’ support. Start with your local councilor and then move up the chain from there.

This is the fun bit. Just make sure there is ample water, snacks, washrooms, Band-Aids, and meaningful work available for everyone. If you have someone with a military background available for build days, which helps as well. Contact OutClass™ for a full Community Build Guidebook to help with planning.

 Large corporations have Sponsorship Directors, Green Marketing strategies, Corporate Social Responsibility Charters (ISO 26000), and Human Resources Team-building budgets. Outdoor classrooms that are completed through a community build model offer an opportunity to engage each of these departments individually or all of them in combination. Team building budgets are often funded more generously than sponsorship budgets at the local level.

Where do we Start?

Together for a big meal and decide why you are doing this. What is it about your story that makes your project stand out from any other? How is your community unique? What is the change you are looking to accomplish? What is it that will keep your core team inspired to realize your project regardless of any opposition?

In a one page brief and a ten page report outlining the need and the solution. Your story will serve as a design brief and the foundation of your fundraising strategy.

In colour and in 3D. Hire an expert with a proven track record in community-based design facilitation (as opposed to a prescriptive design process). Make sure that the project reflects the natural, cultural and industrial heritage of the site and your community. Create the ultimate dream project; do not water it down before you even begin. Remember that most of us need to be presented with a vision that we can picture ourselves in and be inspired by before we invest.

That details all materials, equipment, and labour (both skilled and unskilled) that you will need to complete the project.

You will never get this done alone (unless you are rich or superhuman). Organize your most dedicated community members as your core group, and assign tasks to team leaders. Ideally, your steering committee should consist of 4 to 9 people. Research shows that larger committees do not necessarily make better choices; they simply make them more slowly, while smaller committees fail to achieve buy-in and tend to burn out more quickly with the increased workload.

The website and social media plan will help to keep your campaign on track. It will also help you to engage more grant writers, community organizers and supporters.

For every funding stream. Often, one family will match another’s contribution, or one business will attempt to beat their competitor’s bid.

In a public ceremony where you acknowledge your major supporters and volunteers. A good rapport with donors, organizations and volunteers will go a long way in fostering lasting relationships should you require to call on them again in the future. 

A Few Key Partners in Fundraising


Official Contest Rules



  1. SPONSOR: The 2021 Outdoor Classroom Contest (the “Contest”) is sponsored by Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, Inc., 1452 Concession Rd 4 W, Hamilton, Ontario, L0R 2B0, Canada (the “Sponsor”). Not sponsored, endorsed, administered by or associated with LinkedIN, Twitter, Google, Facebook or Instagram.
  2. ELIGIBILITY: This Contest is open to child care directors (as defined below) or School Principals who are legal residents of Canada or the US, excluding Quebec who have reached the age of majority in their province, territory or state of residence at the time of entry, with the exception of employees of the Sponsor, its parent, related and affiliated companies, subsidiaries, departments or agencies, franchisees, suppliers, advertising and promotional agencies, contest administrators, and any other parties engaged in the development, production or distribution of Contest materials and those living in the same household.  By participating in this Contest, entrants acknowledge compliance with, and agree to be bound by, these Contest Rules.  Entrants who do not comply with any of these Contest Rules are subject to disqualification by the Sponsor, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion.

 Child care directors: Child care directors for the purposes of this Contest are pre-school and childcare centre directors that supervise and lead staff in relation to the caring and teaching of children and are responsible for all aspects of their centre’s programs, which may be for either private or public school child care centres.

School Principals: Principals for the purposes of this Contest are Principals of Elementary, Middle or High Schools.

3. CONTEST DATES AND TIMES: The Contest begins on February 10th, 2021 at 1:00 a.m. ET and ends on May 15th, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. ET (the “Contest End Date”) after which time the Contest will be closed and no further entries shall be accepted.

  1. HOW TO ENTER: You can enter by visiting https://www.outdoorclassrooms.com/contest and entering your name (first and last name), facility name & address, phone number, e-mail address, digital signature, the number of children at your facility and whether or not you are part of a chain with more than one location. For this Contest, receipt of an Internet entry occurs when the Sponsor’s servers record the entry information. All entries must be complete and are subject to verification by the Sponsor, in its sole discretion.  Limit one (1) entry per childcare facility and limit one (1) entry per school.

Any attempt or suspected attempt to use robotic, automatic, programmed, or otherwise, illicit means to enter this Contest, or any other methods not authorized by these Contest Rules, for example, but not limited to, creating multiple accounts, identities, or registrations, all in the Sponsor’s sole discretion, shall be deemed as tampering and may disqualify you from entering, participating and/or winning a prize.  Entries that contain false or incomplete information are void.  Entries that are late, lost, stolen, illegible, contain false information, are damaged, misdirected, mutilated, garbled or incomplete, altered or otherwise irregular or that do not conform with or satisfy any or all of the conditions of the Contest Rules are void.  Entrants grant Sponsor a non-exclusive license to use all entries for any purpose.  No correspondence will be entered into except with selected entrants.  Proof of transmission (screenshots or captures, etc.) does not constitute proof of entry or receipt of an entry.

  1. CONTEST PRIZES:There is a (1) prize available to be won consisting of an outdoor classroom that includes; one (1) teacher station, twenty (20) student stations, one (1) outdoor double-sided chalkboard. (approximate retail value $15,000).

All winners assume any and all liability for any injury or damage caused, or claimed to be caused, by entering, participating in this promotion or use or redemption of a prize.  Prizes must be accepted as awarded and have no cash value.  Prizes or any portion thereof cannot be combined with other discounts, promotions or special offers.  Sponsor reserves the right to substitute an alternate prize of equal or greater value if an advertised prize is unavailable at time of award.

  1. ODDSOF WINNING: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received before the Contest End Date.
  2. SKILL TESTING QUESTION: Selected Entrants will be required, as a condition to winning a Prize, to correctly answer, without assistance of any kind, the Sponsor’s mathematical skill-testing question.
  3. WINNER SELECTION AND CONFIRMATION: On May 16th, 2021 at 3:00 p.m.ET(“Draw Date”) the Sponsor, or an employee, agent or other representative of the Sponsor, will conduct a random draw from all eligible entries (the “Selected Entrants”).  A Selected Entrant will be deemed a winner if they meet all of the eligibility criteria set out in these Contest Rules. If a Selected Entrant (or Selected Entrants) does not meet any eligibility criteria, he/she will be disqualified and will not receive a prize and another entrant may be selected by way of a random draw from the remaining eligible entries by the Sponsor. Before being declared a winner, a Selected Entrant will be required to: (i) correctly answer the Sponsor’s mathematical skill-testing question; (ii) sign and return the Sponsor’s Declaration of Eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release form (the “Release”); and (iii) comply with all other Contest Rules, all in the sole discretion of Sponsor.

Selected Entrants will be notified on May 17th, 2021 and will be contacted using the e-mail address provided at the time of entry into this Contest, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, and up to three attempts will be made to contact each Selected Entrant.  A Selected Entrant that does not or cannot accept a prize may be forfeited and a new Selected Entrant selected by random draw, in the Sponsor’s sole discretion.  A signed copy of the Sponsor’s Release must be received by the Sponsor no later than 11:59 PM on May 20th, 2021.  Sponsor is not responsible for the failure for any reason whatsoever of a Selected Entrant to receive notification or for the Sponsor to receive a Selected Entrant’s response.

Disputes regarding identity of entrant: If the identity of a Selected Entrant is disputed, the entry will be deemed to have been submitted by the Authorized Account Holder (the individual assigned to the e-mail address or, if applicable for entry, social media handle associated with the entry). Each Selected Entrant may be required to provide proof that he/she is the Authorized Account Holder associated with the selected entry.

  1. RELEASE AND INDEMNIFICATION: All potential winners must sign the Sponsor’s Release to: (i) confirm compliance with all Contest Rules; (ii) agree to accept the prize as awarded; (iii) release, discharge and hold harmless the Sponsor, its departments and agencies, parent, related and affiliated companies, subsidiaries, franchisees, advertising and promotional agencies, counsel, marketing partners, Facebook and Instagram and each of their respective directors, officers, employees, shareholders, successors, sponsors, partners, licensees, subsidiaries, agents, artists, advisors, assignees, and all others associated with the administration, development and execution of the Contest (the “Released Parties”) from and against any and all manner of action, cause of action, claim or demand, loss or injury, use or misuse of a prize or any travel related thereto, and the use of the Entry by the Sponsor, suit, debt, covenant, contract, including legal fees and expenses, whatsoever, including but not limited to, claims based on negligence, breach of contract and fundamental breach, failure of any third party contractor or supplier used in connection with any aspect of the Contest to perform or deliver any goods or services, any act of God or any other event beyond the Released Parties’ control, any dissatisfaction of any kind by a winner with any aspect of the Contest or any prize, liability for physical injury, death, or property damage which the entrants, guests, their heirs, successors or assigns have, might have or could have suffered, by reason of or arising out of the entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or in connection with the acceptance and/or exercise by the entrant of the Prize as awarded; and (iv) indemnify the Released Parties against any loss, damage or expense, including legal fees, that any of the Released Parties may suffer or incur as a result of any non-compliance by an entrant with any of the Contest Rules or participation in the Contest and/or in connection with the acceptance and/or exercise by an entrant of a prize and the use of the Entry by Sponsor.

The Sponsor is not responsible for:(i) incorrect or inaccurate entry information which may affect a person’s ability to participate in the Contest or be awarded a prize, including but not limited to human error, technical malfunctions, lost or delayed entries for any reason, mail failures, omission, or any combination thereof, and entries which fail to fully comply with these Contest Rules; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including, but not limited to malfunctions, interruptions, or disconnections in phone lines or network hardware or software; (iii) lost, incomplete, delayed, mutilated or misdirected entries or Declaration and Release forms; (iv) injury or damage to the entrant’s computer or to any other individual’s computer related to or resulting from participating in, or downloading any material regarding the Contest or accepting a prize; (v) any injury or damage to persons or property which may be caused, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from entrant’s participation in the Contest or receipt or use or misuse of any prize, including any travel related thereto and the use of the Entry by Sponsor;(vi) the security or privacy of information transmitted via computer networks or for breaches of privacy due to interference by third party computer “hackers” or otherwise; or (vii) late, lost, misdirected or unsuccessful efforts to notify a potential winner.

  1. OTHER CONDITIONS: The Sponsor reserves the right to terminate or amend this Contest at anytime and in any way, without prior notice. Without limiting the foregoing, if, for any reason, the Contest is not capable of running as originally planned for any reason, the Sponsor reserves the right to cancel the Contest and conduct a random draw from all previously received eligible entries received by the Contest End Date.

Publicity and entrant information: By participating in the Contest, entrants consent to the use of their name, address, postal code/zip code, telephone number, social media handles, comments and image, whether on videotape, photograph or any other means, as may be edited, translated or modified in any way by the Sponsor in its sole discretion, for the administration of this Contest or any publicity carried out by the Sponsor, without further notice or compensation. Entrant information may be used for marketing.

Law: The Contest is void where prohibited by law and is subject to all applicable Canadian federal, provincial, territorial, municipal and local laws. This Contest shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the province of Ontario, Canada including all issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Contest Rules, rights and obligations between entrants and the Sponsor, and procedural provisions, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules.  Any dispute shall be adjudicated by the courts sitting in Hamilton, Ontario.

Rule amendments: The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to amend or modify these Contest Rules, or modify, cancel or suspend this Contest, without prior notice for any reason whatsoever, including without limitation in the event that any cause beyond the reasonable control of the Sponsor corrupts, or threatens to corrupt, the security or proper administration of the Contest.

Intellectual Property: All intellectual property, including but not limited to trademarks, logos, designs, promotional materials, web pages, source codes, images, drawings, illustrations, slogans and representations are owned by the Sponsor.  All rights are reserved.  Unauthorized copying or use of any copyrighted material or other intellectual property without the express written consent of the Sponsor is strictly prohibited. The Sponsor’s marketing or other partners, if any, shall also have access to and rights to reproduce, copy or otherwise use any materials generated by this Contest or any submissions or materials generated by entrants.

© Bienenstock Natural Playgrounds, Inc. 2021.  All Rights Reserved.