Resilient Communities 2017 Request for Proposals

Full Proposals Due Date: Monday July 17, 2017 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time


Wells Fargo and NFWF have partnered to create the Resilient Communities program. Through improvements to natural features and enhanced community capacity, the program will help communities prepare for future impacts associated with sea level rise, water quantity and quality and forest conservation. By taking advantage of natural features like wetlands, resilient shorelines, urban tree canopies, natural forests and healthy upstream watersheds, communities can accrue quality of life benefits today, enhance fish and wildlife resources, and help prepare for foreseeable resiliency challenges.

The program places special emphasis on inclusion and helping traditionally underserved, low- and moderate-income communities build capacity for resiliency planning and investments in “greener” infrastructure. Lower income communities are often most vulnerable, communities are stronger and bounce back more quickly after an impact/disaster when people work together and have the skills, knowledge and capacity to rebuild.

Wells Fargo and NFWF will invest in these two focus areas:

  • Category 1: Adaptation  through Regional Conservation Projects
  • Category 2: Community Capacity Building and Demonstration Projects


 Wells Fargo RC Regions - resize.png


Category 1: Regional Adaptation through Regional Conservation Projects

Approximately $1.5 million is available in 2017. Grants in this category will range from $200,000 to $500,000 in each of the three regions (see map in Geographic Focus section) to support highly-impactful and visible conservation projects that help prepare for fire in the Western Region, floods and droughts in the Central Region and sea-level rise in the Eastern Region.

Special consideration is given to projects that help bridge rural and urban community resilience needs with focus on the interconnectedness of natural systems and community well-being. Proposals must include one or more of the project types specified for the region.

Only proposals fitting regional priorities will be considered for funding. Projects should be implemented at a scale that yields measurable and sustainable benefits for natural habitats while also providing measurable and enhanced community benefits to improve resilience.  

Eastern Region  ​Central Region  Western Region​
​Restore wetlands, coastal habitats and other ecosystems to help communities address floods, storm events and sea level-rise Conserve critical land, create green infrastructure and protect water resources to address water quantity issues such as floods and droughts, and sustain water quality through enhanced natural filtering capacity Forest conservation, fuels management, habitat restoration and conservation easements for healthy forest ecosystems

Project Types:
• Dune Habitat Restoration
• Wetland Restoration
• Bird and Wildlife Habitat Restoration
• Living Shorelines
• Aquatic Migration Connection

Project Types:
• Cover Crops & Permaculture
• Nutrient Management
• Green Infrastructure and Urban Tree Canopy
• Invasive Species Management
• Stream Buffer Enhancements

Project Types:
• Forest Restoration
• Forest Management
• Habitat Restoration
• Conservation Easements
• Fuels Management

Category 2: Community Capacity Building and Demonstration Projects

Approximately $500,000 is available in 2017 to support highly-impactful and visible projects that help communities understand, organize and take action to address risks and opportunities through improved resilience brought about by enhanced natural features.

Projects can take place anywhere in the United States. Special consideration is given to projects that measurably benefit low- to-moderate income neighborhoods and advance social cohesion. These projects will range from $100,000 to $250,000 and should address multiple cities and communities.

These projects must center on one or both of the following activities:
  • ​​​​Advance innovative and scalable resilience solutions benefiting multi-family affordable housing through green infrastructure such as tree canopies/pocket parks/community green spaces, and/or stormwater retention projects. 
  • Support organizations that build capacity to help cities plan for enhanced resilience through green infrastructure or other improvements. Successful projects will include programs such as community fellows or ambassadors, or support for collaborative projects or workshops that occur in multiple communities within a region. These projects may consist of:
    • Engaging community partnerships in enhanced preparedness and resilience in areas vulnerable to flooding, wildfires and other disasters through natural feature and green infrastructure improvements such as those described in the table above.
    • Improving community or neighborhood resilience through enhanced natural features and green infrastructure, particularly in vulnerable communities that tend to be disproportionally impacted by stressors
      Encouraging small business preparedness and resilience, in order to restore jobs and economic activity in impacted communities
Proposals submitted under this program in both categories should:
  • ​Identify strategic importance of project from a resilience standpoint, including identification of the core issue(s) project addresses.
  • Articulate key natural feature and / or green infrastructure enhancements central to achieving project outcomes.
  • Provide measurable and meaningful social, economic and environmental outcomes.
  • Demonstrate regional value or replicability and strong public/private partnerships.
  • Articulate measures implemented or project aspects that enhance sustainability of project investments. 
  • Identify highly-visible project sites and activities to build community support for activities and outcomes.
  • Indicate whether the proposed project involves the use of volunteers. 
  • Implement, or be complementary to, an established conservation and/or watershed management plan and demonstrate that the agency or organization that developed the plan is a partner in – or at least is supportive of – the project.
  • Identify how your organization leverages diverse suppliers 
  • Disclose the members and diversity of your board of directors or equivalent.
  • Leverage other public and private funding to increase the overall project outcomes.
  • Be ready to begin implementation within six months of the grant award and achieve predefined outcomes within a 24 month grant period.  


To gauge progress on individual grants and to ensure greater consistency between the monitoring data provided by multiple grant projects, the Resilient Communities program has a list of metrics in Easygrants for grantees to choose from for reporting. Applicants must select 1 to 2 of the relevant metrics in each of three categories (social, economic and environmental) from this list for your project. If you do not believe an applicable metric has been provided, please contact Daniel Bowater at or 202-595-2434 to discuss acceptable alternatives.
​​Project Activity  ​Unit of Measurement  ​Description and Additional Guidance
​Building Capacity ​ –# Organizations engaged ​Number of collaborations developed, partnerships organized and managed to promote leadership among women and diverse populations.
Enter number of nongovernmental organizations engaged, list those organizations and describe the outcome of the engagement.
​Outreach and Education ​ –# of people reached  ​Enter the number of people reached by outreach or technical assistance activities, describe the type of outreach and demographics of target audiences
​Incentives  ​–# of certified diverse suppliers

​Enter the percentage of total project cost spent with certified diverse suppliers. Enter the number of certified diverse suppliers with which you spent project dollars.
Identify the % of total project cost by dividing the certified diverse grant amount by the total project cost.

Certified diverse supplier: A “diverse supplier” is a business that is at least 51% owned, managed and controlled by a diverse person or group. Diverse suppliers must be certified by a third party certification organization. We recognize diverse supplier certifications from local, state and federal agencies as well as organizations like the NMSDC, WBENC, USPAACC, USBLN, NGLCC, United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

​Volunteer Participation  ​–# volunteers participating  ​Enter the number of volunteers participating in projects - Provide number of community members directly engaged in project. If volunteers include youth (up to age 18) or veterans, specify # youth or # veterans.
​Building Capacity ​–# of individuals increased knowledge and training ​ Number of individuals that attain sufficient knowledge, skills, motivation, and/or access to resources to enable them to become resiliency leaders. Include the hours of training and participant demographics
​Other  ​–# social impact  ​Quantify any other applicable social benefits
​Jobs  ​–# jobs created  ​Enter the number of jobs created - Provide number of individuals hired by organization or contractor directly working on the project (non-volunteers)
​Green Infrastructure ​–$ cost avoided  ​Enter estimated cost avoidance from “greener” infrastructure projects – e.g. savings from lower cost of insurance, etc. anticipated annually
​Building Institutional capacity ​–# FTE with sufficient training  ​Provide # full-time employees provided with capacity-building or training through the project
​Other  ​ –# economic impact  ​Quantify other economic benefits
​Trees Planted  ​–# trees planted  ​Enter the number of trees planted that support “greener” infrastructure and habitat management
​Removal of invasive plants  ​–#Acres restored ​Provide number acres restored and type of invasives removed
​Wetland restoration  ​–#Acres of wetland restored  ​Enter the number of acres of wetland restored
​In-stream Habitat  ​–#Instream miles restored   ​Enter instream miles restored that restore habitat
​Fuel Break Management   ​–#Acres of public land under improved management ​Enter the number of fuel break acres under improved management. This may include new fuel break development or maintenance of existing fuel breaks.
Describe those improvements.
​Erosion control  ​–#Lbs of sediment prevented from entering the system annually  ​BMP implementation for nutrient or sediment reduction.
Enter the amount of sediment prevented from entering the system annually
​Reforestation and Restoration of Forest Vegetation  ​–Acres forest vegetation restored  ​Enter acres restored through practices such as revegetation, thinning, mortality removal, or prescribed burns
​BMP implementation for stormwater runoff  ​–#Cubic meters of stormwater prevented  ​Provide volume of stormwater captured by new green infrastructure practices. This includes BMPs for stormwater management.
​Other  ​–# environmental impact  ​Quantify other environmental benefits


  • Eligible and Ineligible Entities
    • Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c) organizations, local governments, Indian tribes.
    • Ineligible applicants include U.S. Federal and state government agencies, businesses, educational institutions, unincorporated individuals and international organizations.
  • Ineligible Uses of Grant Funds
    • Funds and matching contributions may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying or litigation
    • Terrorist activities or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
    • 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.


The Resilient Communities program will award approximately $2 million in grants to projects in 2017. Each grant will range from $100,000 to $500,000 depending on category and will be awarded to eligible entities working to help communities become more resilient. This program has one round of applications per year and awards approximately 3 to 6 grants annually.

Project Period

Projects should last up to 24 months from the start date. NFWF requires programmatic and financial reports from all awards made under this funding opportunity at least once per year. 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, annual milestones and outcomes and a 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 award date to allow work directed to the project to be applied as matching contributions.

Matching Contributions

The ratio of matching funds offered is one criterion considered during the review process, and projects that meet or exceed a 1:1 match ratio will be more competitive. 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, if they would not be paid with requested grant funding, indirect costs 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:
  • 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 used within the period of performance 


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 Resilient Communities goals and includes 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 Detailed Budget Instructions cost categories.

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.

Other Criteria:

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.

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.

Past Success – Applicant has a proven track record of success in implementing conservation practices with specific, measurable results. 


Permits: Applicants will be required to indicate the status of all permits required to comply with federal, state or local requirements. 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

Communications: Applicants will be required to:

  • Work collaboratively with NWFW and Wells Fargo on external communication activities – e.g. news releases, social media, etc.
  • Attend an annual meeting with other Resilient Communities grantees to share successes and lessons learned. Wells Fargo with host the meeting. (need to decide if in person/by phone) 


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

​Pre Proposal Due Date   ​March 30, 2017
​Full Proposal (Invited) Due Date  ​July 17, 2017, 11:59 pm, Eastern Time Zone
​Review Period     ​July 2017 – August 2017
​Awards Announced    ​Fall 2017


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. 


A PDF version of this RFP can be downloaded at Resilient Communities

A Tip Sheet is available for quick reference while you are working through your application. This document can be downloaded on NFWF's Resilient Communities webpage. Additional information to support the application process can be accessed on  NFWF's Applicant Information webpage.

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

Danny Bowater
Coordinator, Community-Based Conservation

Carrie Clingan
Program Director, Community Stewardship

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

Easygrants Helpdesk
Voicemail: 202-595-2497
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET, M-F.
Include: Your name, proposal ID #, e-mail address, phone number, program you are applying to, and a description of the issue.​​