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Community outreach toolkit: Shade structure program

State Society Resources: Shade Structure Toolkit banner

What is this program?

  • The AAD’s Shade Structure Grant Program awards grants to public schools and non-profit organizations for installing permanent shade structures for outdoor locations that are not protected from the sun, such as playgrounds, pools, or recreation spaces. In addition, the AAD also provides a permanent sign for display near the shade structure.

  • This program can increase public awareness of skin safety and includes an educational component for youth that is to be integrated into the application process and part of ongoing community education.

  • For more information, visit Support AAD Shade Structures.

Why is it important?

  • Since its launch in 1999, the AAD’s Shade Structure Program has awarded over 400 shade structure grants and provides shade for over 3 million individuals each day.

  • This is a vehicle to promote sun safety in their communities as well as their practice.

How can you get involved?

  • Members can share this opportunity with local schools, park districts, recreation programs, and non-profit organizations to determine need and interest.

  • Members can form a work group or committee to champion this project within their practice, program, or state society and to spearhead any fundraising efforts.

  • Members should write a letter to “sponsor” or “recommend” a local organization for this Shade Structure Grant.

  • Winning shade recipients can hold a dedication ceremony and promote this important sun safety awareness initiative to local press.

What do you need to do first?

  • Develop a work group of committee to move this project along.

  • Identify a local organization and write a letter of support on their behalf. You can find helpful information at, Tips for writing a strong letter of support.

  • Assist the organization with one year of sun safety education.

What is the timeline?

  • The shade structure application is open from October 1-December 31. Winners will be announced in March.

    Submit an application

What resources are available from the AAD?

The AAD will provide support and guidance as you navigate this project. The AAD can assist with ideas and suggestions for getting your members and your community involved.

How will this be recognized within the AAD?

State societies and members will be:

  • Featured on the Academy awards display at Annual Meeting.

  • Recognized on the AAD website.

  • Included on the scrolling PowerPoint presentation that plays continuously at the Academy awards display.

  • Listed in the program book for the AAD Recognition Luncheon, which is attended at the Annual Meeting by more than 350 of your colleagues and AAD leadership.

How can you announce this to your community?

  • The AAD will provide press release materials to assist the state society/member in publicizing this award locally.

  • The AAD will provide materials that promote the importance of sun safety and skin cancer awareness as part of all news they release to the media.

  • Invite to dedication ceremony the recommending members, your Board of Directors, your state and local legislators, local media and health reporters, and your recipient community.

  • Speak about the importance of sun protection. The AAD has resources available that can assist you in developing a brief presentation.

How can you recognize the state society/member involved?

  • If the organization you recommend is selected as a recipient of the grant, your support will be recognized in numerous ways:

    • Winner listing on AAD public facing website.

    • Permanent sign installed next to shade structure with AAD on the sign if member “sponsors”.

    • Permanent sign with member name or society name if funded by the member/society.

Shade Structure stories

Your support of AAD Shade Structures makes an impact in your local community. Learn more about the impact of this grant program by reading these stories.

“The shade structure grant is allowing Quinton Elementary School to provide an area that students can enjoy during outdoor recreation time, and more importantly, protect the health of children and staff by making shade available and encouraging continued sun safety education. As a rural school district in an area with limited access to medical care, we believe the grant is invaluable and the shade will help save lives over time through skin cancer prevention. We are very appreciative.”

─ Ashton Clayborn, Quinton Elementary School, Shade Structure Grant recipient

Learn how to get started

To learn how to get started and access additional resources, contact AAD Community Outreach Programs.