We hope to make the application process as straightforward as possible. To save you time, we suggest you first determine whether your proposal falls within our general guidelines. Organizations with unique or complex projects are welcome to discuss their proposal plans with us, and may wish to begin the application process by submitting a one-page proposal outline. Among other purposes, the proposal outline is intended to save applicants from spending a great deal of time and expense in preparing elaborate proposals which may not be funded. Outlines are considered at the regular meetings of Directors, and applicants will be notified promptly regarding the outcome. If the Directors or staff believe that the concept merits further consideration, a full proposal will be requested.
We encourage applicants to contact us informally before proceeding to prepare a formal application.
We are pleased to accept proposals prepared under the Common Proposal Format of Philanthropy Massachusetts. Diversity Data Form not required. Using the Budget Template is optional when submitting in this format as long as a budget breakdown of expenses and potential funding sources is included.
Proposals need not be more than three or four pages long, plus attachments, but should include the following:
Information About Your Organization
- History of the organization, its mission and major accomplishments, its geographic scope and special populations served, if any
- Board and staff rosters, and an indication of the capabilities of key staff to be involved in the proposed project
- Current and projected operating budgets, the most recent financial statement, an annual report (if one is published), and a complete copy of the most recent IRS Form 990 (if appropriate to the organization)
- Current copy of the tax exemption letter from the IRS under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, including the indication that the organization is "not a private foundation" under Section 509(a)
- Concise description of the purpose for which the grant is sought, including both the general goals and the specific objectives of the project, and a summary of the anticipated benefits for the environment, the organization, local residents and the broader population.
- An indication of how your proposal is consistent with the Foundation's significant objectives.
- Evidence that the funds will be used to address an important need that would otherwise remain unmet.
- The project's budget, a description and summary of other firm or likely sources of funding, and, for projects that are intended to continue beyond the proposed period of the Foundation's support, an indication of plans for ongoing funding.
- Maps showing the parcels to be protected or access improvements planned, and their relationship to other nearby conservation resources.
- An indication of plans for evaluating the project and reporting the results to the Foundation.
How and When to Apply
- One copy of your full proposal should be sent to the Foundation office by email. Proposals must be complete in order to receive funding consideration. An incoming proposal is critically assessed to determine whether it meets current guidelines and interest. If it does not, the proposal may be denied immediately or following a regular meeting of the Directors. In all other cases, notification as to the Directors' decision will be given shortly after regular meetings.
- Proposals and concept papers may be submitted at any time, since the Directors meet regularly throughout the year.
Grant Size and Type
The expected range of grants is $500 to $25,000, with most falling within the range of $2,000 to $10,000. The Foundation is willing to consider multiple-year grants.
Whenever possible we seek to expand the impact of limited funds through challenge grants, conditional grants, matching grants, and special initiatives, and by collaborating with other donors in joint funding efforts.
We welcome joint applications by two or more organizations coordinating their efforts on a single project.
Although the Foundation attempts to be as inclusive as possible, there are some activities and interests that clearly fall outside the scope of these guidelines. As a normal practice, the Foundation is unlikely to make the following kinds of grants:
- support for deficits, for routine operating budgets or general appeals, or where the Foundation may become the predominant source of an organization's funding.
- for funding efforts usually supported by public subscription or through national appeals, or for purposes which are generally understood to be the responsibility of government.
- support for sectarian religious activities.
- to individuals, such as for personal needs, welfare, travel, or research.
Our regular grantmaking programs are presently limited to organizations in New England and upper New York State.