Pulling Together Initiative 2017 Request for Proposals

Pre-Proposal Due Date:   Wednesday, July 12 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time
Full Proposal Due Date:   Tuesday, September 19 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The Pulling Together Initiative program is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to promote the conservation of natural habitats by preventing, managing or eradicating invasive and noxious plant species. In 2017, the program will award grants to develop or advance Cooperative Weed Management Areas (CWMAs) and Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas (CISMAs).

Approximately $850,000 is expected to be available for grant awards in 2017. The program is a partnership between the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

The Pulling Together Initiative program is a nationwide program. Applications will be accepted from projects occurring within the United States, including U.S. territories.

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

The program seeks to fund projects that represent comprehensive approaches to preventing, detecting, and eradicating invasive and/or noxious plant species. It will do so by awarding grants in the following two categories focused on CWMAs and CISMAs:  
  1. ​Establish CWMAs and CISMAs
  2. Increase Capacity of Existing CWMAs and CISMAs

All proposals must specifically address how projects will directly and measurably contribute to the accomplishment of program goals. For all applications, please describe the partnership involved, why the project is significant in relation to the broader conservation context that the project is working within, if the project will involve education, how the project will implement integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, and the long-term management plan.  

Projects should also specifically describe the connection to:

  • Contributing to the management of species of conservation concern;
  • Providing long-term benefits, especially to threatened, endangered, proposed or candidate species, or rare habitats; 
  • Producing multiple conservation outcomes.
The following sections provide more information on the funding priorities. 
  1. Establish CWMAs and CISMAs: The program seeks to fund partnerships that are prepared to formally establish themselves as a CWMA or CISMA. NFWF will prioritize projects that include partnerships with a wide cross-section of invasive species stakeholders including private landowners, local non-profit organizations, state and local governments, and federal agencies. Proposals should describe the partnership structure and the plan to maintain the partnership for the long term. A CWMA or CISMA that has recently been formed (~ less than one year) will also be considered under this category.
  2. Increase Capacity of Existing CWMAs and CISMAs: The program seeks to fund CWMAs and CISMAs that are in a position to significantly accelerate their work or those that plan to undertake a significant project. The program does not provide continual funding, but is interested in supporting established CWMAs and CISMAs that are high-performing and positioned increase their capacity.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Pulling Together Initiative has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. We ask that applicants select only the most relevant metrics from this list for their project (all possible program metrics are shown in the table below).  If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact the program lead, Caroline Oswald (caroline.oswald@nfwf.org; 612-564-7253) 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 project’s conservation goals.
Outreach/ Education/ Technical Assistance # people reached​ Enter the number of people reached 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.
Miles under improved management Enter the number of miles under improved management.
Removal of Invasive Plant Species Acres restored Enter the number of acres restored. Acres restored are those where only minor ongoing invasive treatment is necessary and native plants have been reestablished on the site.
Miles restored Enter the number of miles restored. Miles restored are those where only minor ongoing invasive treatment is necessary and native plants have been reestablished on the site.
Management or Governance Planning # management plan activities being implemented Enter the number of management plan activities being implemented, e.g. the number of activities in a CWMA or CISMA strategic plan. 
# 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 or CISMA. 
 

ELIGIBILITY

Eligible and Ineligible Entities

  • ​Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, U.S. Federal government agencies, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes, and educational institutions.
  • Ineligible applicants include businesses, unincorporated individuals, and international organizations.
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 will award approximately $850,000 in grants in 2017. Grant requests depend on which program priority category the project is addressing.

  • ​If applying under the first program priority category, Establish CWMAs and CISMAs, grant requests may be up to $100,000. 
  • If applying under the second program priority category, Increase Capacity of Existing CWMAs and CISMAs, grants may range in size from $10,000 to $100,000. 

Grants may be up to two (2) years in length following finalization of a grant agreement. Project start and end dates should define the period during which all proposed work is accomplished, all requested funds are spent, and all matching funds are spent or applied. The project narrative should include a clear timetable or schedule for project completion. The start date indicated in an application should not precede July 30, 2017.

Matching funds of at least 1:1 in non-U.S. federal funds will be required. The ratio of matching contributions offered to grant funding requested is only one criterion considered during the review process. Matching contributions must be verifiable from the grantee’s records, not included as contributions for any other award, necessary and reasonable for accomplishment of project or program objectives, allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines, committed directly to the project, and must be used within the period of performance.

Matching contributions 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 land acquisition or easement may also qualify as leverage for a project involving work at the protected site. In addition, eligible indirect costs (that would not be paid with requested grant funding) may be applied as match. More information about using indirect costs as match can be found by clicking here

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 following criteria. Project selections may also be based on other considerations, such as availability of funding, geographic balance, and balance among project types and grant size.

Program Goals and Priorities – Project contributes to the Program’s overall habitat and species conservation goals, 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.

Matching Contributions - Matching funds of at least 1:1 in non-U.S. federal funds will be required. Projects that exceed the 1:1 match ratio will be more competitive.

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 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 practices with specific, measurable results.

Partnership – An appropriate partnership exists to implement the project and the project is supported by a strong local partnership that leverages additional funds and will sustain it after the life of the grant. Identify proposed partners, if known (including potential or contemplated subawards to third party subrecipients of the applicant), the roles they will play in implementing the project, and how this project will build new or enhance existing partnerships.  (Note: a project partner is any local community, non-profit organization, tribe, and/or local, state, and federal government agency that contributes to the project in a substantial way and is closely involved in the completion of the project.)

OTHER  

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).

Procurement – If the applicant chooses to specifically identify proposed Contractor(s) for Services, an award by NFWF to the applicant does not necessarily constitute NFWF’s express written authorization for the applicant to procure such specific services noncompetitively.  When procuring goods and services, NFWF recipients must follow documented procurement procedures which reflect applicable laws and regulations.  

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.

Receiving Award Funds – Award payments are primarily reimbursable.  Projects may request funds for reimbursement at any time after completing a signed agreement with NFWF.  A request of an advance of funds must be due to an imminent need of expenditure and must detail how the funds will be used and provide justification and a timeline for expected disbursement of these funds.

Compliance Requirements – Projects selected may be subject to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act (state and federal), 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.  As may be applicable, successful applicants may be required to comply with additional Federal, state or local requirements and obtain all necessary permits and clearances.

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.

Federal Funding – Federally-funded projects must operate in compliance with the OMB Uniform Guidance as applicable to the applicant. The availability of federal funds estimated in this solicitation is contingent upon the federal appropriations process. Funding decisions will be made based on level of funding and timing of when it is received by NFWF.

TIMELINE

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

​Applicant Webinar ​June 12, 12pm Eastern Time
Pre-Proposal Due Date​ ​July 12, 11:59pm Eastern Time
​Invitation for Full Proposals Sent ​August 16
Full Proposal Due Date​ ​September 19, 11:59pm Eastern Time
Review Period​ ​Mid-September - Mid-December
Awards Announced​ ​Mid-December​


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 at www.nfwf.org/pti.  

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded at the Pulling Together Initiative webpage.  Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (www.nfwf.org/whatwedo/grants/applicants/Pages/home.aspx).

For more information or questions about this RFP, please contact:  
Caroline Oswald, Senior Manager
caroline.oswald@nfwf.org
612-564-7253

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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