ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program 2014 Request For Proposals

Pre-proposal Due Date: Monday, August 18, 2014   5:00 PM  Eastern Time

Full proposal Due Date: Thursday, October 9, 2014  5:00 PM  Eastern Time


The ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program is inviting applications for competitive grant funding to be awarded through the 20142015 funding cycle.  This program includes two elements: the SPIRIT of Conservation Program and the SPIRIT of Conservation Innovation Fund. The program is a partnership among ConocoPhillips, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  We anticipate that $1 million will be available for this program.

Geographic Focus

1) Projects within the United States and Canada must occur in one or more of the following states or provinces:

United States

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


Alberta                  British Columbia

2) International projects in specific geographic areas near ConocoPhillips operational areas, may also be considered for funding.  Please refer to a worldwide map of ConocoPhillips operation areas for a list of locations.  Proposals must be submitted in English.  Special consideration will be given to multi-country projects which involve either a U.S. affiliation and/or U.S. partnership.


Eligible and Ineligible Entities

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

Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds

  • Neither grant funds nor matching contributions may be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • Grantees may not use grant funds 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

At the time of this announcement, it is anticipated that approximately $1,000,000 will be available for grant awards through this funding opportunity.  Grant awards will range from $50,000 to $500,000.

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 here.

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 one year prior to the pre-proposal deadline to allow recent work directed to the project to be applied as match).

Program Priorities


The ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Program awards grants for the preservation and restoration of ecosystems and habitats in areas where ConocoPhillips has an operating presence (click here for a map).

From 2005 through 2014, the program awarded 55 grants worth $6.5 million to 32 conservation groups in 12 states and five countries.  Grantees matched this funding with an additional $11.2 million, for a total conservation investment of $17.7 million.  As a result of this investment, roughly 109,000 acres of critical bird habitat have been protected, restored or enhanced. 

Projects that receive funding typically:

  • Restore, enhance or protect critical species and their habitats. 
  • 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. 

Additional preference will be given to projects that focus on high-priority North American migratory species.

Conservation Innovation

This year we are piloting the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation Innovation Fund awards.  These grants address water and biodiversity issues by stimulating and leveraging the development and adoption of innovative conservation technologies and techniques. The objective of this program is to improve conservation efforts by encouraging and dispersing new technologies and tools to partner organizations in areas near ConocoPhillips business units and interests. Successful proposals must be willing to share their work and information with other organizations especially organizations in other countries.  

Priorities for the program will include:

  • Identifying and supporting innovative tools, technologies, and practices focused on water conservation, quality, recovery, and re-use.
  • Stimulating emerging conservation technologies, techniques and approaches.
  • Connecting local partners to the information, tools and resources they need to implement the best possible conservation technology. 
  • Using current technology in creative ways to more cost effectively advance conservation.
  • Applying new technologies and market-based tools to expand biodiversity in grasslands systems.
  • Building innovative public-private partnerships to expand conservation on private lands.

** Organizations may apply for both a Conservation grant and an Innovation grant. Applying for a grant from one category does not prohibit an organization from applying/receiving a grant from the other category.

Project Duration

Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be two (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 one 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 two-year duration of a grant going forward).

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.

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.


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 18, 2014  5:00PM  Eastern Time
  • Pre-Proposal Review: August 19 – September 10, 2014
  • Invites for Full Proposals Sent: September 11, 2014
  • Full Proposal Due Date: October 9, 2014  5:00PM Eastern Time
  • Full Proposal Review: October 10 – October 30, 2014
  • Congressional Notification: November 10, 2014 – December 14, 2014
  • Anticipated Announcement of Awards: December 16 – December 31, 2014
  • Grant Agreements Developed: January 2015 – March 2015

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. 

How To Apply

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

  1. Go to 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.
  4. Additional information useful during the application process can be accessed on the NFWF website’s “Applicant Information” page (

Pre-Proposal: At the pre-proposal stage, the only file that an applicant must upload into Easygrants is a two-page Pre-proposal Narrative. 

Full Proposal: 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.

​Upload ​Required or Optional


Narrative​ ​Required

​Template provided in Easygrants online application "Uploads" section. Note to exceed six (6) pages in length.

Board of Tustees or Directors ​Required

Provide a list of members. If your organization is not a nonprofit and does not have a Board, upload a document stating that none exists. 

​Financial Documents (Multiple)*


Please refer to the Required Financial Documents and FAQs sheet for all financial information required for submission.

​Statement of Litigation


Template provided in Easygrants online application  “Uploads” section.  Federal, state, and local government applicants are not required to complete this section. 

​Map of Project Location


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

​Letters of Support


Recommended from significant partners, especially those providing matching contributions.  Letters of support should not be mailed directly to NFWF.  Scan all letters of support into one single file and upload the file in the “Uploads” section of your online application.

​Map of Project Site and/or Restoration Design


Upload spatial data to show the location(s) of your proposed project in the form of a GIS polygon shapefile or Google Earth .kmz polygon file (Google Earth is a free download at Please zip all spatial data into one file before uploading using your Easygrants ID as the filename (e.g. If you cannot upload a shapefile or polygon, you may follow the instructions for providing latitude and longitude on the Spatial Data Template form provided in the Easygrants online application “Uploads” section.



Please compress photos to minimize file size.

​Other documents


Ten (10) page limit.


Application Assistance

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

Eric Forward


Phone: 612-564-7285

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

Easygrants Helpdesk


Phone: 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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