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 2014 Pre-proposal RFP

Pre-proposal Due Date: Thursday, November 14th, 2013 (midnight CST) 

OVERVIEW

The Southern Company Power of Flight Program is a partnership between Southern Company, its four operating company affiliates (Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Mississippi Power) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). The purpose of this partnership is to provide grants that result in measurable benefits to important and threatened bird species and their habitats in the Southeast.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

The Southern Company service area (View Map):

•    Alabama (excluding Lauderdale, Colbert, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marshall, Morgan, Jackson and DeKalb Counties)
•    Panhandle of Florida (west of the Apalachicola River)
•    Georgia (excluding Union, Fannin and Towns Counties)
•    Mississippi (including the following counties, north to south: Leake, Neshoba, Kemper, Scott, Newton, Lauderdale, Smith, Jasper, Clarke, Jefferson Davis, Covington, Jones, Wayne, Marion, Lamar, Forrest, Perry, Greene, George, Stone, Pearl River, Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson)

FUNDING GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The goal of the Southern Company Power of Flight Program is to address the conservation needs of high priority bird species characteristic of the southern United States, such as red-cockaded woodpecker*, Northern bobwhite quail, coastal shorebirds and other imperiled bird species. Grants are awarded to support this goal and the following objectives:
•    Advance implementation of established conservation strategies within the following conservation plans:
                            - Federal species recovery plans
                            - NFWF’s Southeast Grasslands Keystone Initiative
                            - NFWF’s American Oystercatcher Initiative   
                            - State Wildlife Action Plans (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi)
•    Utilize the East Gulf Coastal Plain Joint Venture Open Pine Decision Support Tool to target projects occurring in open pine systems and the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative Biologist Ranking Information (BRI) maps.
•    Engage the public – particularly youth – in hands-on outdoor conservation experiences that build awareness of the importance of protecting and recovering priority bird species and promote stewardship.
* NOTE: Applications that include restoration or management of longleaf pine habitat should instead be directed through the Longleaf Stewardship Fund (Please contact Suzanne Sessine, suzanne.sessine@nfwf.org, 202-857-0166) with questions about the appropriate program for applications.

FUNDING PRIORITIES

The following activities are priorities of the Power of Flight Program:

  • Restore and manage critical coastal, wetland, and forest habitats to support targeted bird species.

  • Implement management activities for imperiled bird species in order to enhance populations.

  • Conduct outdoor conservation outreach, particularly involving youth and focusing on hands-on learning activities that advance priority bird species goals; projects involving an underserved demographic will be most competitive.

  • Fill critical data gaps to directly improve management strategies for priority species.

    • Proposed projects must include collaboration with key organizations and agencies responsible for management activities that impact targeted species and demonstrate how research results will improve management within the project period.

    • Relevant agencies or practitioners should provide letters of support indicating their interest in the project and intent to utilize any management recommendations/data that result.

CRITERIA FOR COMPETITIVE APPLICATIONS 

Applications will be reviewed and evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria: 

  • Conservation Outcomes: Provide measurable and meaningful conservation outcomes linked to the goals listed above. Those that make the strongest and most deliberate link will be most competitive. All applications must include specific quantitiative peerformance metrics that will be tracked and measured to evaluate the success of the project.

  • Funding Need: Establish a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrate that activities would not move forward absent funding from the Power of Flight program. 

  • Conservation Plan and Context: Describe how the project fits into and advances one or more of the conservation plans listed above. Habitat projects should demonstrate how the project will expand on new or existing restoration and conservation initiatives to maximize large-scale ecosystem function (i.e., occur in or adjacent to existing protected areas, establishing corridors, etc.), and explain how conservation outcomes will be sustained over the long-term.

  • Partnerships: Demonstrate how the project will build new, or enhance existing, partnerships (list all partners involved). Applicants are encouraged to leverage diverse strengths and resources to enhance project sustainability through partnerships and collaborations.

  • Cost-effectiveness: Present a clear, detailed, cost-effective budget. Preference will be given to those projects that can leverage funds from a broad range of sources that exceed the minimum 1:1 match requirement, and promote innovative and cost-effective approaches.

  • Technical Merit: Demonstrate how the project is/will formally engage appropriate technical expertise and assistance throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure projects are technically-sound and feasible.

  • Monitoring: Provide a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.

  • Long-term Sustainability: Describe how the project will be maintained to ensure conservation benefits are achieved and sustained over time. This should include how future funding will be secured to implement necessary long-term monitoring and maintenance activities.

  • Past Success: Demonstrate a proven track record of applicant and partnership success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results.

  • Ancillary Benefits: Describe any ancillary benefits that may result from the project, (e.g., creates a replicable model for landowners; establishes methods that can be shared with other practitioners; creates new partnerships; expands youth conservation and outdoor learning opportunities outside of project, etc.)

  • Limiting Factors: The 2008 Hardner & Gullison Associates evaluation of the Southern Company grant programs addressed both the limiting factors that pose serious challenges to the programs’ conservation targets, as well as those factors that characterize successful projects. Please view the discussion of these factors here (see section 3.4 beginning on page 25), and describe how any of these factors may impact the project, as appropriate.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY

Approximately $500,000 in grant funds is available.

ELIGIBLE APPLICANTS

Government agencies, non-profit organizations and educational institutions are eligible for funding.

GRANT SIZE

Grant awards for habitat and species management projects will range from $50,000 – $100,000, and for hands-on, outdoor conservation (tied to bird education), awards will range from $40,000 – $70,000. Multi-year requests for projects up to two years in length are allowed.

COMMUNICATIONS REQUIREMENTS

Please refer to the Grantee Communications Guidance document to understand the communications requirements for grants awarded through Power of Flight (these include: issue at least one press release; provide a project description, funder recognition, and links to the NFWF and Southern Company websites on grantee website; and provide notice of external communications – articles, etc. –  and events as they occur).

RESTRICTIONS

Grant funds cannot be used for political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying or litigation activities or to support projects resulting from legally mandated mitigation projects.

MATCH

A minimum 1:1 match of cash or in-kind/contributed goods and services, of which at least 50% is from non-federal sources, is required. The ratio and type of matching funds offered by the applicant is one criterion considered during the review process, and a diversity of sources, including contributions from project partners, is encouraged. All potential sources, including Federal funds, and amounts of match should be listed on the application.

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:
·    Raised and dedicated specifically towards the project;
·    Voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are ineligible); and
·    The cost of recent land acquisitions may also qualify as match for a project involving work at that site. Applicants may also include an easement placed on the land, if this occurs during the award period.

Match contributed up to one year prior to the pre-proposal deadline may be included. Additional guidance regarding eligible sources of match is provided on the Foundation's FAQ page.

INDIRECT COSTS POLICY

Applicants should view the guidance provided here to understand the Foundation’s policy on indirect costs in both the project budget and as matching contributions. Please keep in mind that cost-efficiency and diversity of partnerships as shown through matching contributions are important criteria used to evaluate proposals, and proposals with high indirect costs as a proportion of their project budget or matching contributions will be less competitive. 

HOW TO APPLY

Interested applicants must first email Lindsay Vacek at lindsay.vacek@nfwf.org with a brief description of the proposed project in order to receive the Power of Flight pre-proposal application (2 page max. narrative and a budget table). 

All pre-proposals using the application form must be emailed to lindsay.vacek@nfwf.org by midnight (CST) on November 14th, 2013, for consideration. 

TIMELINE

The anticipated timeline for this grant round is as follows:

November 14th, 2013: Pre-proposals due
February 6th, 2014: Invited full proposals due
July 2014: Grants announced

QUESTIONS

Please direct any questions to Lindsay Vacek, Program Coordinator, Eastern Partnership Office, lindsay.vacek@nfwf.org or Suzanne Sessine, Assistant Director, Eastern Partnership Office, suzanne.sessine@nfwf.org.

RESOURCES

Southern Company Evaluation
Southern Company Power of Flight website
Southern Company Longleaf Stewardship Fund website