With major support from Toyota Motor North America, International Paper, and the Hilton Effect Foundation, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is making $128,000 in grant funding available to support public lands that have been impacted by increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With social distancing regulations in place, people are turning to the outdoors more than ever for exercise and rejuvenation. At the same time, the agencies and organizations responsible for maintaining public lands are hampered by reductions in staff, volunteers, and resources, leaving them ill-equipped to keep up with increased human presence on top of existing maintenance backlogs.
In response, NEEF has established the Restoration & Resilience COVID Recovery Fund to help restore public lands by distributing resources and mobilizing volunteers.
Through this funding opportunity, NEEF will sponsor sites in order to demonstrate the need for volunteer service to restore public lands that have been impacted by increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic; engage volunteers in restoration and conservation projects that address the impacts of the pandemic; and contribute to improvement of the sponsored public land sites through community engagement, as evidenced by volunteer participation numbers, types of projects, value of volunteer service, and conservation outputs.
Applicants can request up to $2,500 over six months and must clearly describe the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public land site (e.g., wear and tear on trails due to increased public use, increased litter, postponed projects such as planting/invasive species removal, etc.) "Public lands" includes parks, nature areas, and other green spaces that are publicly accessible. Publicly accessible property means public or private property to which the public or patrons have a reasonable expectation of relatively unrestricted access. Applicants must clearly describe a project (or projects) they will implement to address the impact of the pandemic.
Grants will be made available to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, state or federal government agencies, federally recognized tribes and local governments, and educational institutions that have been in existence for at least two years. Private, for-profit firms and individuals are not eligible to apply, and grant funding may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
The fund will be open for seven months, starting in November. Sponsorships will be awarded on a rolling basis to allow flexibility in the timing of projects and compliance with local regulations related to the pandemic. NEEF will review applications on a bimonthly basis and select up to fifteen projects for grants.
Only ONE application can be submitted per submission period. Entities that oversee multiple land sites can submit one application per landsite, per submission period.
See the National Environmental Education Foundation for the complete RFP, eligibility criteria, and an FAQ.