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 Environmental Solutions for Communities Grant Program 2014 Request for Proposals


Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) are pleased to offer financial assistance through our program, Environmental Solutions for Communities, whose mission is to help communities create a more sustainable future through responsible environmental stewardship.  This Request for Proposals invites applications for competitive funding through this initiative.

To be considered for funding, proposals must be submitted online ( by December 16, 2013.

Environmental Solutions for Communities Overview

Wells Fargo and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation seek to promote sustainable communities through Environmental Solutions for Communities by supporting highly-visible projects that link economic development and community well-being to the stewardship and health of the environment. Collectively, investments under this initiative will promote a sustainable future for communities by:

  • Supporting sustainable agricultural practices and private lands stewardship;
  • Conserving critical land and water resources and improving local water quality;
  • Restoring and managing natural habitat, species and ecosystems that are important to community livelihoods;
  • Facilitating investments in green infrastructure, renewable energy and energy efficiency; and
  • Encouraging broad-based citizen and targeted youth participation in project implementation.

Funding Priorities

Priority for grants will be given to projects that successfully address one or more of the following:

  • Support innovative, cost-effective programs that enhance stewardship on private agricultural lands to enhance water quality and quantity and/or improve wildlife habitat for species of concern, while maintaining or increasing agricultural productivity.
  • Support community-based conservation projects that protect and restore local habitats and natural areas, enhance water quality, promote urban forestry, educate and train community leaders on sustainable practices, promote related job creation and training, and engage diverse partners and volunteers.
  • Support visible and accessible demonstration projects that showcase innovative, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly approaches to improve environmental conditions within urban communities by ‘greening’ traditional infrastructure and public projects such as storm water management and flood control, public park enhancements, and renovations to public facilities.
  • Support projects that increase the resiliency of the Nation’s coastal communities and ecosystems (including the Great Lakes) by restoring coastal habitats, living resources, and water quality to enhance livelihoods and quality of life in these communities.

Geographic Priorities

For the 2013 Environmental Solutions for Communities program, preference will be given to applications supporting funding priorities in the following regions and states, with a particular emphasis on projects undertaken in the urban areas in the states and regions highlighted* on the following list:

2014 Priority Geographies





San Francisco/Greater Bay

Fresno/Central Valley

Inland Empire


Portland/Coastal Oregon






Salt Lake City




Minneapolis/St. Paul/Mankato/Rochester


Milwaukee/Great Lakes


Des Moines


St. Louis






Dallas/Fort Worth

Central (Austin/San Antonio)



New Mexico

Albuquerque/Santa Fe

New York

New York City







Greater Georgia Region: Augusta/ Savannah/Athens/Columbus/


North Carolina



Central Florida Region

Brevard, Citrus, Hernando, Highlands, Indian River, Lake, Martin, Orange,

Osceola, Pasco, Polk, St. Lucie, Seminole, Sumter


South Florida Region

Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach





*Priority will be given to projects within these selected cities. However the program will also consider projects in rural, coastal and urban areas in the selected areas listed.

Other Criteria for Competitive Applications

  • Provide measurable and meaningful conservation or environmental outcomes
  • Align with one or more of the geographic or thematic priorities of NFWF
  • Demonstrate strong public/private partnerships including with local, state and federal agencies, as appropriate
  • Identify highly-visible project sites and activities to build community support for conservation activities and outcomes
  • Plan and execute meaningful volunteer opportunities, as appropriate
  • 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
  • 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 complete the project within two years

Grant Eligibility

Eligible applicants include: non-profit 501(c) organizations, educational institutions, and state, tribal or local governments; working in states where Wells Fargo operates. Individuals, federal agencies and private for-profit firms are not eligible for grants through the Environmental Solutions for Communities Grants Program.

Projects that seek funding for political advocacy, lobbying, litigation, fundraising or legally mandated mitigation projects are not eligible.

Grant Size

Grant awards will typically range from $25,000 to $100,000 with an average grant amount of $40,000.  In some circumstances, proposals submitted under this program may be eligible for additional funding through other NFWF programs. 

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:

  • Non-Federal (U.S.) in origin (federally appropriated or managed funds are ineligible);
  • 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 Environmental Solutions for Communities 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 proposal deadline to allow recent work directed to the project to be applied as match).

Volunteer Events

As appropriate, applicants should indicate in their proposals whether the proposed project involves the use of volunteers to accomplish the conservation work.  Applicants should indicate the nature of the volunteer event(s), experience in hosting similar events, timing, anticipated number of volunteers that can be accommodated, special requirements, etc.

Project Duration

Anticipated completion time for funded projects will typically be 18 months 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 proposal deadline to allow work directed to the project to be applied as match (back-dating does not reduce the prospective 18-month duration of a grant going forward).

Evaluation Criteria

The most-competitive proposals will demonstrate:

  • Close alignment with funding and geographic priorities
  • Clear definition of activities, visible project sites and anticipated environmental results
  • Strong technical merit
  • Competitive project costs (note: requests for salaries and benefits should be limited to no more than 50 percent of the request)
  • Experienced project teams and partner engagement
  • Plans for pre- and post-implementation monitoring to document environmental improvements and other project outcomes

How to Apply

All application materials must be submitted online through 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 and we recommend the use of Internet Explorer for optimum Easygrants performance). New users to the system will be prompted to register before starting their application. Once an application has been initiated, it may be saved, modified and submitted at a later time, up to the application deadline.

Application and Review Timeline

To be considered for funding, full proposals must be submitted online by December 16, 2013 prior to 11:59pm (EST).

  • December 16, 2013: Full proposals due
  • June 2014: Anticipated announcement of awards
  • June – July, 2014: 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.

Information about the grantee's organization and its finances will be solicited during this time. Please note that preparation of grant agreements will require approximately 2 to 6 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; most 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 Carrie Clingan ( or 202-595-2471) at the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.