Pulling Together Initiative 2016 Request for Proposals

Pre-Proposal Due Date: August 3, 2016 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

Full Proposal Due Date: September 29, 2016 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The Pulling Together Initiative is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to be awarded in 2016. The program will award grants that will develop cooperative weed management areas (CWMA), support significant advances of existing CWMAs, develop or strengthen prevention and early detection/rapid response efforts, enhance education, and assist awareness projects to reduce or eliminate invasive plant species. The program is a partnership among the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

The Pulling Together Initiative is a nationwide program. Approximately $850,000 is expected to be available for grant awards in 2016 for projects that address one or more of the five priorities listed below.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

All proposals must specifically address how projects will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program goals. The Pulling Together Initiative program seeks projects that address one or more of the priorities listed below.

  1. Establishing Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA): The program seeks to fund partnerships that are well prepared and ready to formally establish themselves as a CWMA. Partnerships that involve representation of a wide cross-section of invasive species interests including private landowners, local non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and federal agencies are highly competitive. Please describe the partnership composition and the plan to maintain the partnership for the long term. A CWMA that has recently been formed (~ less than a year) will also be considered under this category.
  2. Establishing Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMA) within the Greater Sage Grouse Range: The program seeks to fund partnerships that are well prepared and ready to formally establish themselves as a CWMA that will provide stability and/or improve the greater sage grouse population. Partnerships that are specifically addressing the impacts of invasive species on the greater sage grouse are eligible. A CWMA that has recently been formed (~ less than a year) will also be considered under this category.
  3. Acceleration of High Performing Cooperative Weed Management Areas: The program is seeking to fund CWMAs that are in a position to significantly accelerate their work to the next level or who are preparing to, or are undertaking, a significant project opportunity. The program does not provide continual funding to organizations but is interested in supporting established CWMAs that are high performing and positioned to move to the next level.
  4. Comprehensive Prevention and Early Detection and Rapid Response Approaches: The program seeks to fund projects that represent comprehensive approaches to preventing, detecting, and eradicating invasive species. Please describe how the effort will:
    • Contribute to the conservation of species of conservation concern
    • Provide long term benefits, especially to threatened or endangered species, or important habitats
    • Address a highly noxious weed (federal or state listed)
    • **Please describe the partnership involved and the plan to maintain the project benefits for the long term.
  5. Significant On-The-Ground Management/Restoration Projects: The program seeks to fund projects that represent significant on-the-ground approaches to managing or eradicating invasive species. Please describe how the project will:
    • Contribute to the conservation of species of conservation concern
    • Provide long term benefits, especially to threatened or endangered species, or important habitats
    • Address a highly noxious weed (federal or state listed)
    • Provide multiple conservation benefits

Please describe the partnership involved, the plan to maintain the project benefits for the long term, and why the project is significant in relation to the broader conservation context that the project is working within. Restoration projects are considered to be those where the project is in its final stages where minimal ongoing invasive species management will be required and where native plants are being established through the project or have been reestablished. Such a project should represent the “capstone” phase of the effort.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency between the monitoring data provided by multiple grant projects, the Pulling Together Initiative program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. We ask that you select the 1-4 most relevant metrics from this list for your project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Eric Forward to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity

Recommended Metric

Additional Guidance

Building institutional capacity

# of orgs. contributing to goals

Enter the number of organizations contributing to the initiative's conservation goals

Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance

# people reached

Enter the number of people reached by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities

Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance

# people targeted

Enter the number of people targeted by outreach, training, or technical assistance activities

Volunteer participation

# volunteers participating

Enter the number of  volunteers participating in projects

Improved management practices

Acres under improved management

Enter the number of acres under improved management

Improved management practices

Miles under improved management

Enter the number of miles under improved management

Removal of invasives

Acres restored

Enter the number of acres restored. Acres restored are those where only minor ongoing invasive treatment is necessary and that native plants have been reestablished on the site.

Removal of invasives

Miles restored

Enter the number of miles restored. Miles restored are those where only minor ongoing invasive treatment is necessary and that native plants have been reestablished on the site.

Management or Governance Planning

# plan activities implemented

Enter the number of management plan activities being implemented, e.g. the number of activities contained in a CWMA strategic plan

Management or Governance Planning

# plans developed

Enter the number of plans developed that had input from multiple stakeholders, e.g. how many plans were developed as part of the establishment of a CWMA

ELIGIBILITY

 Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations (or their international equivalents); state and federal government agencies; local governments; Indian tribes; and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include: Private for-profit firms and individuals.

 Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds

  • NFWF funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • NFWF funds may not be used to support ongoing efforts to comply with legal requirements, including permit conditions, mitigation and settlement agreements. However, grant funds may be used to support projects that enhance or improve upon existing baseline compliance efforts.

FUNDING AVAILABILITY AND MATCH

The Pulling Together Initiative program will award approximately $850,000 in grant awards in 2016.  Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $200,000.  Past grants have typically ranged from $50,000 to $150,000.  Funded projects should be completed within two (2) years following finalization of a grant agreement.

All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services from non-Federal sources.  The ratio of matching funds offered by the applicant is one criterion considered during the review process.  Matching funds may include cash, in-kind contributions of staff and volunteer time, work performed, materials and services donated, or other tangible contributions to the project objectives and outcomes.  The cost of recent land acquisition or easement may also qualify as match for a project involving work at the acquired site.  In addition, indirect costs that would not be paid with requested grant funding may be applied as match by an applicant with a federally approved indirect rate.  More information about using indirect costs as match can be found here.

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:

  • raised and dedicated specifically for the project
  • allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines
  • applied only to the Pulling Together Initiative grant and not to any other matching program(s)
  • spent/applied within the period of performance

EVALUATION CRITERIA

All proposals will be screened for relevance, accuracy, completeness and compliance with NFWF and funding source policies. Proposals will then be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the criteria below. A panel of reviewers will use the criteria as a strong basis for project selections.  However, project selections will also be based on other considerations, such as availability of funding, geographic balance, and balance among project types.  In addition, selections may be based on how proposed activities would advance goals of established regional, tribal, state and federal conservation plans.

  • Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s conservation priorities, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities outlined in the Request for Proposal.
  • Technical Merit – Project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposal sets forth a clear, logical and achievable work plan and timeline. Project engages appropriate technical experts throughout project planning, design and implementation to ensure activities are technically-sound and feasible.
  • Budget Costs are allowable, reasonable and budgeted in accordance with NFWF’s Budget Instructions cost categories.  Federally-funded projects must be in compliance with OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable (OMB Uniform Guidance). Projects that are not establishing CWMAs should keep administrative costs to a minimum with the most competitive projects using the majority of funding for on the ground activities.
  • Matching Contributions – Projects that exceed the 1:1 match ratio will be more competitive.
  •  Partnership – An appropriate and strong partnership exists to implement the project and will sustain it after the life of the grant.
  • Transferability – Project has potential and plan to transfer lessons learned to other communities and/or to be integrated into government programs and policies.
  • Communication – Project includes a detailed plan to communicate information about the project to appropriate audiences.
  • Funding Need – Project establishes a clear need for the funds being requested, and demonstrates that activities would not move forward absent funding.
  • Conservation Plan and Context – The project advances or helps achieve significant progress toward an existing conservation plan or strategy.
  • Monitoring – Project includes a plan for monitoring progress during and after the proposed project period to track project success and adaptively address new challenges and opportunities as they arise.
  • Long-term Sustainability – Project will be maintained to ensure 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 – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation projects with specific, measurable results.

OTHER

  • Publicity and Acknowledgement of Support: Award recipients will be required to grant NFWF the right and authority to publicize the project and NFWF’s financial support for the grant in press releases, publications and other public communications. Recipients may also be asked by NFWF to provide high-resolution (minimum 300 dpi) photographs depicting the project.
  • General: Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements.
  • Federal Funding Requirements: Projects selected to receive Federal funding may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Historic Preservation Act.  Documentation of compliance with these regulations must be approved prior to initiating activities that disturb or alter habitat or other features of the project site(s).  Applicants should budget time and resources to obtain the needed approvals.  Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant.
  • Permits: Successful applicants will be required to provide sufficient documentation that the project expects to receive or has received all necessary permits and clearances to comply with any Federal, state or local requirements.  Where projects involve work in the waters of the United States, NFWF strongly encourages applicants to conduct a permit pre-application meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers prior to submitting their proposal.  In some cases, if a permit pre-application meeting has not been completed, NFWF may require successful applicants to complete such a meeting prior to grant award.

TIMELINE

Dates of activities are subject to change. Please check the Program page of the NFWF website for the most current dates and information.

Pre-Proposal Due Date August 3, 11:59 PM Eastern
Invitations for Full Proposals Sent August 24
Full Proposal Due Date September 29, 11:59 PM Eastern
Review Period October 1 – December 14
Awards Announced December 15 – December 31

HOW TO APPLY

All application materials must be submitted online through National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system.

  1. Go to easygrants.nfwf.org to register in our Easygrants online system.  New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting the application (if you already are a registered user, use your existing login).  Enter your applicant information.
  2. Once on your homepage, click the “Apply for Funding” button and select this RFP’s “Funding Opportunity” from the list of options.
  3. Follow the instructions in Easygrants to complete your application.  Once an application has been started, it may be saved and returned to at a later time for completion and submission.

APPLICATION ASSISTANCE

A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded here.

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded here.

Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page.

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:

Eric Forward

612-564-7285 

For issues or assistance with our online Easygrants system, please contact:

Easygrants Helpdesk
Email: Easygrants@nfwf.org
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, Monday-Friday
Include: your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue. 

 

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