Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists Regional RFP

Full Proposal Due Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2016 by 11:59 PM Eastern Time

OVERVIEW

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) seeks proposals to connect youth to the outdoors by providing financial support for conservation employment programs that contribute to Gulf of Mexico ecosystem restoration efforts. These proposals should bring together public and private partners to support organizations developing innovative conservation job opportunities for youth on public and publicly-accessible lands in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. These job opportunities should expose young people, particularly urban, tribal and minority youth, to the natural world and career opportunities available in conservation throughout the Gulf Coast states.

Through this request for proposals, up to $2.5 million is available for funding through this RFP. This funding is part of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) effort to provide meaningful employment opportunities to young Americans to protect, restore, and enhance our nation’s great outdoors.

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

Funding through this program is prioritized (but not restricted to) to projects that benefit the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. In particular, preference will be given to projects that benefit coastal habitats (e.g., coastal marsh, oyster reefs, maritime forests, coastal prairies), coastal watersheds, longleaf pine habitats and the species that depend on them. More information about the Gulf coastal restoration priorities is available here, and more information about longleaf pine restoration priorities is available hereProjects will be awarded only for work in the following states:

  • Florida
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
  • Texas

PROGRAM PRIORITIES

Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully achieve the following objectives:

  • Innovative full-time or part-time conservation job opportunities (minimum 80 hours per youth)* that include conservation education for young people, particularly urban and minority youth
  • Hands-on implementation of on-the-ground restoration, stewardship, monitoring, and other conservation related projects
  • Partnership building with diverse entities including state and local agencies, urban organizations, tribes, non-profits, corporations, and foundations to leverage awards with matching contributions to the project
  • Mentorship and training opportunities for youth with natural resource professionals

* This program defines “youth” as a person aged 16-25 years old.

PROJECT METRICS

To better gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency of project data provided by multiple grants, the Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists grant opportunity 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 Sarah McIntosh at sarah.mcintosh@nfwf.org or 202-595-2434 to discuss acceptable alternatives.

Project Activity

Recommended Metric

Additional Guidance

Instream restoration

Miles restored

Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # miles and list each individual type.

Land, wetland restoration

Acres restored

Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type.

Removal of invasives

Acres restored

Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # acres restored and type of invasives removed

Removal of invasives

Miles restored

Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # miles restored and type of invasives removed

Riparian restoration

Acres restored

Enter the number of acres restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # acres and list each individual type. 

Riparian restoration

Miles restored

Enter the number of miles restored - Provide # and type of habitat restored. If different types of habitat to be restored, provide # miles and list each individual type. 

BMP implementation for fencing improvements

Miles of corridor reconnected

Enter the number of miles of migration corridor reconnected - This can include existing fencing repaired or improved to wildlife friendly standards and/or new fencing constructed and/or installed

BMP implementation for prescribed burns

Acres

Enter the number of acres - Provide # acres of landscape to be implemented with prescribed burns.

Green Infrastructure

miles trails developed/improved

Enter the number of miles of trails developed or improved - This metric refers to trail maintenance and  improvement  (e.g., vegetation management, signage, erosion control, trail construction / expansion)

Economic benefits

# jobs created

Enter the number of youth (ages 16-25) hired - This metric refers to total number of youth hired (full or part-time) during the project period as reflected in your budget

Economic benefits

# veterans hired

Enter the number of veterans hired - This metric refers to the total number of youth hired (full or part-time) who are veterans.

Incentives

$ spent on direct compensation

Enter the dollar value spent on direct compensation - Please enter the total dollars in budget allocated for compensation exclusive of organization program staff salaries/benefits; include only actual dollars paid for  youth crew and intern stipends, salaries/benefits

Volunteer participation

# volunteers participating

Enter the number of  volunteers participating in projects - For this metric, broad volunteer participation includes outreach and education and support services, as well as hands-on restoration activities

Predator removal/ Fencing nests from predators

# sites with goals met

Enter the number of sites with predation reduction goals met - Examples of predation control methods include predator removal, trapping, or shooting; fencing; and targeted disturbance methods.

Planning, Research, Monitoring

# research studies completed

Enter the number of research studies completed

Planning, Research, Monitoring

# studies reported to mgmt

Enter the number of studies completed whose findings are reported to management

Planning, Research, Monitoring

% samples analyzed

Enter the percent of collected samples that were analyzed – For this metric, please calculate the number of animals on which necropsies were performed as a percentage of the total number of dead animals to which you responded.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, state government agencies, local governments, municipal governments, Indian tribes and educational institutions.
    • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal government agencies, businesses, unincorporated individuals, 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

NFWF anticipates that up to $2.5 million will be available for matching grants for projects in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas through this RFP. Awards will typically range from $50,000 to $250,000.

Project Period

Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be six to twenty-four months 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.

Matching Contributions

A minimum 1:1 matching contributions cash and/or in-kind contributions is required. Match may be federal or non-federal in origin. Projects with higher match ratios and diversity of matching contributions will be given priority consideration.

To be eligible, 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
  • Are allowable costs based on the program and funding source guidelines
  • Committed directly to the project and must be used 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 following criteria.

Required Criteria:

Program Goals and Priorities Project contributes to the Program’s overall goals for providing meaningful conservation job opportunities for youth and conserving important habitats and species of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem, and has specific, quantifiable performance metrics to evaluate project success. Project addresses one or more of the program priorities outlined in this Request for Proposals.

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).

Other Criteria:

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.

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 for the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem.

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.

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.

  • Quality Assurance: If a project involves significant monitoring, data collection or data use, grantees will be asked to prepare and submit quality assurance documentation (www.epa.gov/quality/qapps.html). Applicants should budget time and resources to complete this task.

  • 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 (Developing the Next Generation of Conservationists).

Full Proposals Open in Easygrants ​April 15, 2016
Full Proposal Due Date ​June 15, 2016 by 11:59pm Eastern Time
Review Period ​June – August, 2016
Awards Announced ​Late August 2016

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 as 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:

Sarah McIntosh
Coordinator, Community-Based Conservation
202-595-2434
Sarah.McIntosh@nfwf.org

Carrie Clingan
Manager, Community-Based Conservation
202-595-2471
Carrie.Clingan@nfwf.org

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