The Grant Application Process
This section provides an overview of the SLUNCF’s grant application process, which is based upon best practices for conservation trust funds.
Proposal Solicitation and Outreach
The SLUNCF will conduct outreach to potential grantees and solicit proposals. The SLUNCF will release the Request for Proposals (RFP) through its official website and national newspapers, and disseminate it broadly through donor networks and other groups. For example, the SLUNCF could host workshops to inform potential grantees about the application process as a form of outreach and grantee cultivation.
Throughout the proposal solicitation process, the SLUNCF will serve as a resource for potential grantees by responding to grantee questions about the RFP and the grant-application process. The SLUNCF will accept Expressions of Interest from potential grantees responding to the RFP according to an indicative timeline established by the Board (at least 3 months). The Expressions of Interest will include a summary of the project and how it relates to the mission and goals of the SLUNCF, a description of the grantee, and a statement of the grantee’s legal registration status.
Description of Requests for Proposals
According to the OM, the RFP will indicate the following information:
- the deadline by which all grant proposals for the SLUNCF grant funding shall be received in order to be eligible for grant funding during the next funding cycle;
- an indicative timeline of when the SLUNCF expects to notify applicants of the final award of grant funding for the relevant funding cycle;
- the maximum funding amounts available under such Request for Grant Proposal; the grant funding period;
- a description of eligible applicants, eligible sites, and eligible projects; and
- the Board may further advise on other factors, to be determined, for grant proposal.
Reviewing and Awarding Grants
After conducting outreach to potential grantees and soliciting proposals, the SLUNCF and the TAC will work together to review proposals and award grants, taking a two-step approach to reviewing grant applications.
Review of Expressions of Interest
The TAC will conduct an initial screening of Expressions of Interest to determine which potential grantees will be invited to submit a full proposal. To uphold the SLUNCF’s commitment to grantee learning, the TAC will provide feedback in a letter sent through the SLUNCF to applicants whose Expressions of Interest are rejected, explaining why their Expression of Interest was not selected for the next stage of the process. The SLUNCF will encourage rejected applicants to reapply the following year, so long as their proposal is in alignment with the goals and values of the SLUNCF and other eligibility criteria (Appendix B).
Review of Full Proposals and Awarding Grants
Following the review of the Expressions of Interest, The TAC will recommend to the Board which grantees to invite to submit a full proposal. The SLUNCF Board will invite these grantees to submit a full proposal, which will contain a detailed description of the project, budget, timeline, a description of grantee qualifications, and any other components requested by the TAC and the Board. The TAC will review and score the full proposals using the criteria outlined in Appendix B. As part of the proposal review, the TAC will conduct due diligence on grantees, including optional interviews with top ranked applicants. The TAC will then prepare a summary of each grant proposal and a recommendation on whether the Board should approve or reject the proposal. The SLUNCF Board will meet to re-prioritize grantees based on available funds, make final decisions, and vote on grant proposals.