ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Migratory Bird Program 2012 Request for Proposals

The ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Migratory Bird Program is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to be awarded through the 20122013 funding cycle. To be considered for funding, pre-proposals must be submitted online ( by 5 PM Central Time on October 2, 2012.

Program Overview

The ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Migratory Bird Program awards grants for the conservation of birds and their habitats in areas where ConocoPhillips has an operating presence (click here for a map). The program is a partnership among ConocoPhillips, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

From 2005 through 2012, the program awarded 55 grants worth $6.5 million to 30 conservation groups in 12 states and five countries. Grantees matched this funding with an additional $9.9 million, for a total conservation investment of $16.4 million. As a result of this investment, roughly 99,000 acres of critical bird habitat have been protected, restored or enhanced.

Projects that receive funding typically:

  • Restore, enhance or protect bird habitats on the order of tens or hundreds of acres.
  • Apply the majority of grant funding to on-the-ground habitat improvement/protection and minimize expenses for planning, design and engineering.
  • Have completed planning, design and engineering stages to the extent that on-the-ground implementation can begin shortly after the grant is awarded.
  • Include pre- and post-implementation monitoring to document habitat improvements and other project outcomes.
  • Provide long-lasting ecological benefits, as demonstrated by provisions for long-term maintenance and management as appropriate.

Grant Size and Available Funding

Grant awards will range from $25,000 to $200,000.

At the time of this announcement, it is anticipated that approximately $600,000 will be available for grant awards through this funding opportunity.


To be eligible for funding, projects within the United States must occur in one or more of the following states:

  • Colorado
  • Louisiana
  • Montana
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wyoming

International projects in specific geographic areas may also be considered for funding; please refer to a worldwide map of ConocoPhillips operation areas and contact the staff listed below for updated information on international priorities.

Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c) organizations; state, tribal and local governments; and educational institutions. Individuals, federal agencies, and private for-profit firms are not eligible. Projects that involve political advocacy, lobbying, litigation, fundraising, or legally mandated mitigation projects are not eligible to receive grant funding.

Funding Priorities

The ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Migratory Bird Program supports projects that:

  • Restore, enhance or protect bird habitats
  • Benefit declining, threatened or endangered species
  • Generate measurable outcomes
  • Provide opportunities for ConocoPhillips employee participation and volunteerism

Funding priority is assigned to projects in areas where ConocoPhillips has an operating presence. Please click the links for maps of ConocoPhillips areas of operation in the lower 48 states and worldwide.

Additional preference will be given to projects that focus on high-priority species with the northern Great Plains, shortgrass prairie, and Gulf Coast ecosystems. High-priority species include but are not limited to:

  • Lesser prairie chicken
  • Gunnison sage-grouse
  • American oystercatcher
  • Waterfowl and shorebirds

Matching Contributions

All grant awards require a minimum 1:1 match of cash or contributed goods and services, of which at least 50% should be 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 at:

To be eligible, matching contributions must be:

  • raised and dedicated specifically for the project;
  • voluntary in nature (mitigation, restitution, or other permit or court-ordered settlements are ineligible);
  • applied only to the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation grant and not to any other matching program(s); and
  • spent/applied between the project start and end dates designated in the grant application (the start date may be back-dated up to 1 year prior to the pre-proposal deadline to allow recent work directed to the project to be applied as match).

Project Duration

Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be 2 years following finalization of a grant agreement. Projects may be a discrete part of a longer-term project, provided there are definable outcomes for the proposed phase of the overall effort. The project narrative should include a clear timetable or schedule for project completion.

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 start date may be back-dated up to 1 year prior to the pre-proposal deadline to allow work directed to the project to be applied as match (back-dating does not reduce the prospective 2-year duration of a grant going forward).

Evaluation Criteria

The most-competitive applications will demonstrate:

  • Close alignment with funding priorities
  • Clear definition of activities and anticipated ecological results
  • Strong technical merit
  • Competitive project costs
  • Experienced project teams and partner engagement
  • Plans for pre- and post-implementation monitoring to document habitat improvements and other project outcomes

A panel of ConocoPhillips, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reviewers will use those 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.

How To Apply

All application materials must be submitted online through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Easygrants system. Hard-copy applications will not be considered for funding. An application can be started by clicking on the following link: (Note: the internet browser pop-up blocker must be disabled prior to beginning the application process). New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting their application. Once an application has been initiated, it may be saved and then modified and submitted at a later time, up to the application deadline. Other useful information for applicants, including videos that demonstrate the Easygrants online system can be found at:

At the pre-proposal stage, the only file that an applicant must upload into Easygrants is a two-page Pre-proposal Narrative. An applicant invited to submit a full proposal will be required to upload several additional files. Required and optional files to be uploaded for the full proposal are described in Table 1.

Table 1. Required and optional files to be uploaded at the full proposal stage.


Required or Optional


Full proposal narrative


Template provided in Easygrants; completed narrative not to exceed 6 pages in length

Board of Trustees


Provide a list of members of Board of Trustees, Directors or equivalent. If your organization does not have a Board, upload a document stating so.

A-133 Audit


If your organization has not expended more than $500,000 in Federal funds in the past year, upload a statement stating that an A-133 Audit is not required.

GAAP audited financial statements


If your organization does not have GAAP audited financial statements, you may upload a balance sheet and profit/loss statement instead.

IRS Form 990


If your organization is not a non-profit organization, upload a document stating that a 990 Form is not required.

Statement of Litigation


Template provided in Easygrants

Map of project location


Map should show the project location with respect to major landmarks (e.g., cities, rivers). A Google map is sufficient.

Map of project site/restoration design


To provide finer resolution than map of project location.

Letters of Support


Letters from significant project partners, especially those providing match, are encouraged.

Other relevant documents, figures and photos


10-page limit


Application and Review Timeline

To be considered for funding, pre-proposals must be submitted online by 5 PM Central Time on October 2, 2012. Invited full proposals will be due by 5 PM Central Time on December 11, 2012.

  • Oct 2, 2012: Pre-proposals due
  • Oct 3 – Nov 6, 2012: Pre-proposals reviewed
  • Nov 7, 2012: Applicants notified of pre-proposal decisions; full proposals invited
  • Dec 11, 2012: Full proposals due
  • Dec 12, 2012 – Feb 14, 2013: Full proposals reviewed
  • Feb 15 – Mar 15, 2013: Congressional notification of intent to award grants
  • Mar 16 – Mar 31, 2013: Anticipated announcement of awards
  • Apr – Jun 2013: Grant agreements developed with successful applicants

General Procedures for Grant Recipients

After project selection, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation staff will work with applicants to prepare grant agreements and other necessary paperwork, all of which will be completed electronically using the Easygrants system. Additional information about the grantee’s organization and its finances may be solicited during this time. Please note that preparation of grant agreements will require approximately 4 to 8 weeks after the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation receives the additional required information from the grantee. Once grant agreements are finalized, funds will be advanced to qualified grantees based on cash needs of the project; some awards may be made on a reimbursable basis. Grantees will be required to submit interim and final financial and programmatic reports.

Additional Information and Application Assistance

For more information about the grants program or for assistance with the application process, please contact Todd Hogrefe (; 612-564-7286) at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.


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