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Grants to USA Schools, Parks, and Nonprofits to Increase the Safety of Outdoor Play Spaces

Shade Structure Program Grant


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Important Dates
Deadline: 12/15/23 Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA schools and nonprofit organizations serving children and youth for projects that increase the safety of outdoor play spaces. Funding may be used for expenses associated with the installation of shade structures. Grantees will also be provided with a permanent sign to be placed near the shade structure featuring sun-safety tips. To be considered, applicants must demonstrate that they have an active sun-safety/skin cancer awareness program for at least one year prior to application.

The American Academy of Dermatology's (AAD) Shade Structure Program awards funds to schools, day-cares, parks, and other non-profit organizations for installing permanent shade structures where children learn and play.

Examples of outdoor locations that are eligible for grant funds can include, but are not limited to playgrounds, pool decks, ball field dugouts, eating areas, etc.

Types of Shade Structures

Your shade structure manufacturer or contractor must design and install a permanent shade structure with a roof constructed of shade cloth, metal, or wood and provide significant protection from ultraviolet radiation (UVR):

Cloth/textile roof structures

  • Shade cloth roof structures must include documentation about the percentage of UVR that will be blocked by the fabric.
  • The AAD recommends fabric that provides a UVR of no less than 94%, but preferably up to 96.7%.
  • If the percentage of UVR blocked does not meet the minimum requirement for the fabric style and color you have selected, you will be asked to choose a shade structure roof material that blocks a percentage of UVR of 94% or higher.

Hard-top roof structures

  • Hard-top roof structures, either wood or metal, will block 100% of direct UVR and do not require documentations about the UVR blockage.
  • Recipients work directly with their shade structure vendor to select the size and type of structure that best fits the outdoor location and meets the AAD’s criteria.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
The AAD Shade Structure Program is open to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and public schools that provide services, programs, and curricula to children and teenagers who are 18 and younger. To be considered, applicants must:
- Submit a letter of recommendation with your online application from an AAD member dermatologist. Locate an AAD member dermatologist by using the Find a Dermatologist tool (
- Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to sun safety within your organization. A sun safety/skin cancer awareness program must be in place for at least one year prior to application. Your organization's sun-safety awareness program can include use of the AAD's sun-safety resources or the Good Skin Knowledge curriculum. Bonus points are awarded for using AAD-branded materials. However, you may also use original content developed specifically for your audience, or repurposed materials available from other organizations.

Ineligible shade structures are slat-roof structures, slat-roof/trellis gazebos, trellis roofs designed for future plant coverage, shade trees, and small cap-roof structures for pieces of playground equipment.

Pre-Application Information
The 2024 application will be open October 1 - December 15, 2023.

Grant winners will be required to submit materials within 45 days of award notification in order to receive the grant checks. Awards are made in March.

Please note: Permits are sometimes required for shade builds and can take up to 30 days to obtain. The AAD does not require to have permits on file, but suggests securing permits as early as possible, if needed, in order to meet the deadline.


Number of Grants
The number of winners announced each year is dependent on the availability of funding.

Estimated Size of Grant
Each shade structure award is a maximum of $8,000.

Term of Contract
Shade structure installations must be completed by November 30.

Contact Information
Apply online:

If you have additional questions, please email

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