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New York State Conservation Partnership Program Grants

Project Selection

Proposals are reviewed by a committee comprised of representatives from the Land Trust Alliance, state Department of Environmental Conservation, New York's land trust community, and the foundation/grant-making sector. All decisions of the review committee are final.

Projects will be evaluated and ranked according to Primary and Secondary Evaluation Criteria. Grant funds may be used to cover certain project costs. Please view a list of Project Costs Eligible for Grant Funding. For more detailed examples of previously funded projects, as well as sample applications for each category, please visit our Background and Resources Page.

Eligibility Requirements

Land trusts operating in the state of New York that meet the following criteria are eligible for Conservation Partnership Program Grants:

  • Applicant is tax-exempt under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applicant is a qualified conservation organization under Section 170 (h) of the Internal Revenue Code and has a stated land conservation mission.
  • Applicant has formally adopted Land Trust Standards and Practices.
  • Applicant's service area is located within the State of New York.
  • Applicant is in good standing and has submitted all required Interim and Final Grant Performance reports due for previously awarded NYSCPP projects, unless an extension has been formally requested and granted in writing by the Land Trust Alliance.
  • Applicant meets matching requirements and matching funds are verifiable at the time of application. For more information on matching funds, see below.

Membership in the Land Trust Alliance is not an eligibility requirement.

Matching Requirements

Conservation Partnership Program Grants require that the applicant land trust match the grant with non-State funds. Matching funds must be verifiable at the time of application (full-proposal stage for Professional Development Grants). Documentation of matching funds is required before funding for awarded projects can be disbursed.

In-kind match contributions must be documented and may include: donation of professional services (legal, facilitation, etc. as well as the donation of travel costs from that individual), donation of goods (meeting rooms, equipment, printing costs, food or refreshments), and the donation of unskilled/ general labor from volunteers (trail work, easement stewardship and monitoring, administrative work). Volunteer services must be quantifiable and the land trust needs to have a way of tracking volunteer hours. The rate per hour must adhere to the national standard for New York which can be found at http://www.independentsector.org/programs/research/volunteer_time.html.

More information on how to calculate the matching requirement for Conservation Partnership Program Grants may be found by reading our Frequently Asked Questions.

Grant Categories

Capacity & Excellence Grants

The purpose of Capacity & Excellence Grants is to build strong land trusts by enabling them to implement Land Trust Standards and Practices, prepare for national accreditation and re-accreditation, become sustainable, highly effective organizations.

There are three types of grants available in the Capacity & Excellence Grant category:

  • Assessment Grants of $5,000 are available to enable land trusts to complete a consultant-facilitated organizational assessment and to evaluate progress in implementing Land Trust Standards and Practices. These Standards and Practices Assessments follow the Alliance's "Assessing Your Organization" (AYO) methodology and include facilitation and mentoring from an Alliance-trained and approved assessor. The Assessment Grant will also include consultation with the land trust to develop a work plan for implementing priority recommendations identified in the assessment process. Land trusts that have received an Alliance-funded assessment in the past three years are not eligible. A $500 land trust match is required (cash or in-kind).

 

  • Capacity Grants of up to $50,000 are available for individual land trusts working to improve their reach, effectiveness and impact as not-for-profit, community-based land conservation organizations. Capacity grants enable land trusts to implement Land Trust Standards and Practices, prepare for accreditation or accreditation renewal, and build overall organizational effectiveness. A 25% match is required (up to 50% may be in-kind). What this means is that the land trust must contribute at least 25% of the overall project budget, with the grant covering up to 75% of the overall project budget.

 

  • Stewardship Grants of up to $10,000 are available for land trusts seeking to improve and update their records and documentation for a portfolio of fee-owned properties and/ or conservation easements. This funding is intended to improve records and documentation for "vintage" projects completed prior to 2013. Land trusts that have previously received a Stewardship Grant are not eligible for another grant at this time. A  land trust match is not required.

Land trusts are encouraged to consult with Alliance staff to discuss how to best utilize the suite of Capacity & Excellence Grants to prepare successfully for national accreditation and accreditation renewal.

Professional Development (staffing) Grants

Professional Development Grants of up to $75,000 are available to enable small and medium-sized land trusts to build their organization and programs by adding professional capacity and hiring key additional staff.  These highly competitive grants are intended to support the addition of new or expanded permanent position(s) necessary for the organization to significantly enhance its land conservation, stewardship, community outreach, education, and/ or fundraising capabilities.  Additional staffing capacity should ensure that your land trust is implementing best business practices, Land Trust Standards and Practices, (and is well positioned for national accreditation or accreditation renewal.  Land trusts with more than  seven (7) full-time equivalent (FTE) staff are not eligible at this time.

These grants typically include supplemental technical assistance funding of $5,000 to enable the grantee land trust to complete a Standards and Practices assessment or related work to implement best practices.

A 25% match (cash) is required. What this means is that the land trust must contribute at least 25% of the overall project budget, with the grant covering up to 75% of the overall project budget.

Applicants for Professional Development Grants must first submit a Letter of Interest. Final applications are by invitation only.

Conservation Catalyst Grants

Conservation Catalyst Grants of to up $50,000 are available to “catalyze” local and regional partnerships and community initiatives that will lead to greater engagement in, and increase public support for, the protection and stewardship of environmentally significant lands, including those identified in New York State Open Space Plan, New York Wildlife Action Plan, Statewide Forest Resource Assessment & Strategy and/or other local, regional or statewide land protection plans. Conservation Catalyst projects should involve a measure of innovation for the land trust, engage multiple partners and stakeholders, have clearly defined outcomes, and advance the land trust's mission, strategic goals, and programs. Funded projects typically involve collaboration with local municipalities, other land trusts, or other conservation partners. Please refer to the Conservation Partnership Program link for additional information on eligible projects and past grants.

A 25% match is required (up to 50% may be in-kind). What this means is that the land trust must contribute at least 25% of the overall project budget, with the grant covering up to 75% of the overall project budget.

Transaction Grants

Conservation Transaction Grants of up to $50,000 for conservation easement and fee-acquisition projects that will result in permanent protection of environmentally significant lands in New York.  Funding preference is for open space and land protection priorities identified in the New York State Open Space Plan, New York Wildlife Action Plan, Statewide Forest Resource Assessment & Strategy county and local farmland protection plans, and/or other strategic conservation plans. Grant funds may cover indirect transaction costs including related staff and contractor expenses, legal fees, surveys, baseline documentation, stewardship and management plans, and public access improvements associated with the purchase, bargain-sale or donation of a conservation easement or fee property.  Grant funds are not available for capital acquisition expenses.

The goal of these grants is to accelerate the pace of private land conservation in New York State while guiding land trusts to fully implement Land Trust Standards and Practices.

A 25% land trust (cash) match is required, 50% of which must be dedicated to a land trust stewardship/defense fund. Transaction Grant funds may be used to cover or reimburse for project-related expenses.

 

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