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Shade Structure grant FAQs


These frequently asked questions (FAQs) can provide you with greater detail about the program and the application process.

What is the AAD Shade Structure Program?

The AAD Shade Structure Program provides monetary awards of up to $8,000 for the purchase of a permanent shade structure to schools, day-cares, parks, and other non-profit organizations where children learn and play.

What types of outdoor locations are eligible to be shaded?

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.

What are the requirements for application?

To be considered, applicants must:

  • Be a non-profit organization, school, daycare, or city park.

  • Primarily provide services for children under the age of 18.

  • Demonstrate an ongoing commitment to sun-safety/skin cancer awareness.

  • Sun-safety/skin cancer awareness program must be in place for at least one year prior to application.

  • Be recommended by an AAD member dermatologist (locate an AAD member dermatologist by using the Find a Dermatologist tool.

How do I demonstrate my organization's commitment to sun safety?

To be considered, applicants must demonstrate that they have an active sun-safety/skin cancer awareness program for at lease one year prior to application.

This awareness program can include use of the AAD's Sun-Safety Toolkit, or Good Skin Knowledge Curriculum. Bonus points are awarded for using AAD-branded materials. You may also use re-purposed materials available from other organizations or be original content developed specifically for your audience.

In the application, you will be asked a series of questions about your sun-safety program that include:

  • The format in which your sun-safety education is delivered

  • How long the program has been in place

  • How often is the information presented

  • Who from your organization presents the information

  • Provide sample materials that are used to supplement your program

  • What tools, if any, are used to measure retention and the outcomes

How much is the award amount?

Up to $8,000. This includes the cost of the structure and its installation. Funds will be made payable to your organization.

When will the Shade Structure Program application be available on the website to apply?

The application will be available from October 1 - December 31. The application is available for online submission only.

How many winners are announced each year?

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

What type of shade structure will meet the requirements of the program?

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. If the shade structure your organization is considering does not meet the criteria listed above, please do not complete an application.

What type of structures are ineligible for the AAD Shade Structure Program?

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.

During the application process, how do I demonstrate that my organization is a non-profit or a public school?

The application requires the following information:

  • Employer Identification Number (EIN) or equivalent: The EIN, also known as a federal tax identification number, is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. You may apply for an EIN for free through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

  • Identification of your organization as tax-exempt under the IRS, Section 501(c)3, 501(c)4, or 501(c)5.

How many photos of the area to be shaded are required for the application?

The application requires two color photographs of the area to be shaded. Take photos of the area when there is bright sunlight so your photos demonstrate your need for shade. Submit these photos as jpeg files.

Do not submit photos/images of blueprints or technical drawings that illustrate your proposed shade structure. Also, do not submit “staged” photos of children or teens with signs or posters asking for consideration of the grant.

What is required of an AAD member to recommend an application?

An AAD member must write a letter of support and submit it to the organization that is completing the application. It will then be uploaded to the online application.

Please follow this format:

To: AAD Shade Structure Grant Program Review Committee
From: AAD Member Name and AAD Member ID Number
RE: Recommendation of {INSERT YOUR ORGANIZATION’S NAME}

Body copy: As a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, I recommend {INSERT ORGANIZATION’S NAME}

Additional information to include:

  • How the AAD member knows your organization. (Please include a mention of your organization in the letter.)

  • What the AAD member knows about your organization’s sun-safety/skin cancer awareness program, including his/her participation in such programs.

  • How the AAD member will be working with your organization in the future.

  • Information about the area to be shaded, including whether the AAD member has visited the location.

  • Any additional information that the AAD member would like to include about your organization, its sun-safety/skin cancer awareness program and your organization’s need for shade.

Member signature

Beyond the aforementioned letter of recommendation, an AAD member dermatologist has no financial obligation, liability or patient referral requirements to recommend an application. They are also allowed to refer more than one location.

How do I locate an AAD member in my area?

Visit Find A Dermatologist to find a member by ZIP code.

The recommending AAD member dermatologist does not have to be from your city and can be from the surrounding area. AAD member dermatologists can recommend more than one application. All U.S. AAD members have been notified that they may be contacted by organizations seeking recommendation for an application.

How do I contact an AAD member dermatologist to recommend my application?

If you are contacting an AAD member for the first time, send a letter or email of introduction and then follow up with a phone call.

In the letter/email and phone call:

  • Introduce yourself and your organization

  • Explain why you are calling

  • Explain why your organization needs shade

  • Invite him or her to visit your location

  • Explain your sun-safety/skin cancer awareness programs

What resources are available to assist AAD members in developing a recommendation letter?

If an AAD member dermatologist is unfamiliar with the Shade Structure Grant Program, please direct him or her to the home page for the program.

In addition, AAD members can visit a members-only Web page for information about the program, assistance with preparing a recommendation letter and general FAQs.

What are the AAD member's obligations if the organization recommended is selected as a recipient?

The AAD member dermatologist should be invited to the dedication ceremony for the installed shade structure (which is a requirement of the grant recipients) to share sun-safety information with those gathered for the ceremony.

My organization has never researched shade structures. Can the AAD recommend any manufacturers?

The AAD does not endorse or recommend any shade structure manufacturers or vendors. A Web search of “shade structure manufacturers” will result in a list of manufacturers.

My organization already installed a shade structure. Are we eligible to apply for funds to pay for that structure?

No, applications for retroactive funds for a shade structure that already has been installed are not accepted.

My organization is a previous Shade Structure Program recipient. Are we eligible to apply for a second grant?

No, previous AAD Shade Structure Program recipients are not eligible to apply for additional grants.

My organization is located in California. What information do I need to know about building codes in earthquake zones?

Depending on your organization, the state of California may require the Division of the State Architect (DSA) to review and approve your structure. Visit www.dgs.ca.gov/DSA for more information about the additional time or costs that may be incurred due to the DSA approval process. This may affect your organization’s ability to meet the grant requirements.

If my organization is selected as a recipient, what type of sign is provided to acknowledge the grant?

The AAD provides a permanent, free-standing sign:

  • The sign will be shipped directly with installation instructions.

  • The sign should be installed within one month of the installation of the shade structure.

  • If your organization requires an alternative sign, contact the AAD following receipt of your grant award.

If my organization is selected as a recipient, what happens at the dedication ceremony?

A dedication ceremony or ribbon-cutting should be held within 60 days of installation to celebrate the completed structure. The dedication ceremony can be informal.

Organizations must invite the sponsoring AAD member dermatologist. The dermatologist can provide a brief presentation about the importance of sun protection.

The AAD can provide limited quantities of materials to hand out to the audience.

I have questions that are not addressed by these FAQs. Who can I contact?

If you have any questions about the program, please email shadestructure@aad.org.

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