Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquaria (ZBGA) Capital Program

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These grants provide eligible local governments and not-for-profit organizations funding to undertake strategic capital improvements to their facilities to help deliver on their missions, contribute economic benefit to their local areas, and provide their communities with robust educational programs and natural heritage collections in a safe and accessible environment. Through the ZBGA Capital Program, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) will make strategic investments in those facilities to:

  • Attract visitors to the state and ensure that New York State’s residents and visitors have access to natural heritage collections;
  • Sustain and grow the zoo, botanical gardens and aquaria’s critical sector of New York’s economy;
  • Advance environmental sustainability, health, and safety; and
  • Provide capital investments that contribute to local community development efforts.

The ZBGA Capital Program is funded through an appropriation from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and is administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). This grant program is administered on a reimbursement basis. Successful applicants will be expected to fund project expenditures upfront, then submit for reimbursement. Applicants must plan their financial arrangements accordingly.


Applicants should demonstrate how the project will support program priorities, including, but not limited to, any of the following goals:

Positive Impact to the Natural Heritage Collection. Projects that prolong the life of collection, benefit the site, tourism and public education.

Accessibility. Projects that increase accessibility.

Environmental Sustainability. Demonstrate environmental stewardship and/or sustainable building practices, improve energy efficiency and mitigate the negative effects of climate change on the organization’s ability to operate.

Health and Safety. Address known health and safety deficiencies and adhere to new public health guidelines and requirements.

Structural and/or Historical Improvements. Address issues of building stabilization and/or historic preservation per the Secretary of Interior Standards.

Shovel Ready Projects.


Eligible Applicants. Applicants must be a current awardee of a 2021-2026 OPRHP Zoo Botanical Gardens & Aquaria grant, which funds operational expenses for their Natural Heritage Collection.

Eligible Capital Projects. This program is for capital projects that will benefit your current awarded ZBGA natural heritage collection and related expenses. This can include the construction of new facilities and the renovation or restoration of existing buildings or collection sites, as well as the permanent installation of new, complete equipment systems.

Ineligible Projects. Maintenance, acquisition of real property, repairs, and other types of equipment do not qualify as capital.

All requirements for the ZBGA Capital Program can be found in the Guidelines: ZBGA Capital RFA (pdf)


Applications: Applications and required documents will be accepted in the Statewide Financial System (SFS ) which is the NYS government’s accounting and financial management system used to manage contracts and payments. To apply from the SFS Vendor Portal, click on the tile “Grants Management- State”, then search under the tile “Bid Event search”. You may search under event ID “ZOO23CAP”.

Applications must be transmitted though the SFS Portal and will be accepted until August 23, 2024, 4pm est.


To apply, your organization must be registered in the State Financial System (SFS)

SFS Registration: On the Grants Management Website at download a copy of Grants Management Registration Form for Statewide Financial System (SFS) Vendors and accompanying documentation where required by email to

Register now to allow time for processing!

Registration help: Contact the Help Desk at for assistance with your registration form.

Prequalification: In addition to registering, not-for-profit organizations must also complete the Vendor Prequalification process in the SFS to be considered eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. Government entities and public authorities do not need to complete the Vendor Prequalification Process. Pursuant to the New York State Division of Budget Bulletin H-1032, effective January 16, 2024, New York State instituted key reform initiatives to the grant application and contract processes. These initiatives require not-for-profit organizations to complete the Vendor Prequalification process to be considered eligible to apply for a grant. All information and helpful guidance regarding becoming and maintaining prequalification status can be found on the NYS Grants Management website at

Disclaimer: New York State reserves 5-10 business days from the receipt of complete Prequalification applications to conduct its review. If supplementary information or updates are required, review times will be longer. Due to the length of time this process could take to complete, it is advised that nonprofits Prequalify as soon as possible. Failure to successfully complete the Prequalification process early enough may result in a grant application being disqualified.

Roles: Prospective grantees interested in responding to a grant opportunity must have credentials to access the SFS Vendor Portal. The SFS Delegated Administrator within each organization is responsible for managing SFS Vendor Portal account changes, designating roles for User IDs within their organization, and managing address and contact information. Roles control what an individual has access to do and the tasks they can perform in the SFS Vendor Portal. Roles with the following permissions can apply:

  • Bid Response Initiator (NY_GM_VENDOR_EVENT_INITIATE) - Note: This role allows you to initiate a bid response to a bid event but not submit the bid response to the agency.
  • Bid Response Submitter (NY_GM_VENDOR_EVENT_SUBMIT)- Note: This role allows you to both initiate a bid response and submit a bid response to the agency.

Additional SFS guidance can be found in the Grantee SFS Handbook: Grantee / Vendor User Manual


Application Deadline: Friday, August 23, 2024 at 4:00 p.m. EST
Award/Decision Letters: Late 2024
Contracting: Early 2025
Initial Payment: Upon reimbursement request