What is a Friends Group?
There is a wealth of nonprofit organizations committed to working alongside public land managers, helping them maintain their lands, engage volunteers and inform the public. These nonprofit support groups, sometimes known as “Friends Groups,” can be invaluable to the public lands they serve.
Every Day Grants define a Friends Group as:A nonprofit organization whose mission is focused on serving a public land site in the United States and the improvement and responsible use of that site.
This includes Friends Groups that serve more than one site, such as a regional group of parks.
Whether they call themselves a Cooperating Association, a Friends Group or simply a partner, they work in cooperation with land managers to meet the needs of the land and the local community. They are often small, but can have a large impact.
When are the applications due?
Every Day Capacity Building applications are accepted year-round. Applications that are submitted between October 31 and May 2 will be reviewed and grants awarded in the summer. Applications that are submitted between May 3 and October 30 will be reviewed and grants awarded in late winter. If a due date falls on the weekend or federal holiday, applications will be due by 11:59 pm CT on the following business day.
One of the documents necessary to my application must be sent separately from the online application. How can I submit this document?
Documents that may need to be submitted separately can either be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to National Environmental Education Foundation Attn: Grants Administrator, 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 160, Washington, DC 20008. Please include the name of the applicant organization. All documents must be received by the application deadline in order to be considered for an award.
You mention and repeat the term "Friends Group" throughout the application. Friends Groups are governed very differently than something like a Cooperating Association. Do Cooperating Associations, and similar groups, meet the requirements to apply for your grants?
Yes. Cooperating Associations, or any other 501(c)(3) nonprofits, whose mission is focused on serving a public land site in the United States and the improvement and responsible use of that site. What this means is that the purpose of your organization is to serve a specific public land or group of public lands in your community and that this public land recognizes you as such an organization.
Are land trusts eligible to apply?
This grant is focused on public lands or lands that are owned by the public, not just open for public use. Land Trusts are eligible depending on their work with public lands as defined above. In order to be eligible, a land trust would:
- have to be working with at least one public land site.
- submit a clear partnership letter from that public land site
- make it clear in their application how they work on public land and how their capacity building would strengthen their ability to serve the public land site
Are schools eligible to apply?
Although school property can be government-owned, it is not focused on the general public’s use and enjoyment of the land and nature. The purpose of these grants are to help build the capacity of nonprofits whose primary mission is focused on helping public land managers to serve, maintain, and improve our nation’s public lands. For these reasons, schools are not eligible for this grant.
Every Day Capacity Building applications are accepted year-round. Applications that are submitted between October 31 and April 30 will be reviewed and grants awarded in the summer. Applications that are submitted between May 1 and October 30 will be reviewed and grants awarded in late winter. If a due date falls on the weekend or federal holiday, applications will be due by 11:59 pm CT on the following business day.
Based on the fact that our organization hosted a National Public Lands Day event, are we considered a Friends Group?
While many Friends Groups do host National Public Lands Day events, doing so does not necessarily qualify your organization as a Friends Group. In order to be considered a Friends Group, and hence eligible for this grant, your organization must be a nonprofit whose mission is focused on serving a public land site in the United States and the improvement and responsible use of that site. This includes Friends Groups that serve more than one site, such as a regional group of parks.
What this means is that the purpose of your organization is to serve a specific public land or group of public lands in your community and that this public land recognizes you as such an organization.
Does development of a website qualify as capacity building?
Yes, website development does qualify as capacity building and is eligible for this grant. This is assuming that the website will represent the entire organization and is not focused on a program or project. If the website is concentrated on one specific program, it would not qualify as capacity building for the purposes on this grant.
My organization has been in existence for several years, but our formal 501(c)(3) status was not granted by the IRS until this past year. Does our tax status factor into the eligibility requirement that states the applicant must have been in existence for at least two years?
The time period of two years can be measured from the date the group formed as an organization. We understand that some smaller Friends Groups may have worked through a fiscal agent in the past, or had delays in gaining 501(c)(3) status. Hence, your tax status will not be a consideration in the two year requirement. As long as your organization has been working to serve a public land for at least two years, regardless of tax status at the time of conception, you are eligible to apply.
My organization wants to use the grant funds to employ new volunteers to work with one of our programs. This process would include recruitment efforts, developing training programs and performing background checks. Would these activities qualify as capacity building?
Unfortunately, this does not qualify. It is focused on the mechanics and operations of a particular program and making that program stronger. We want these grants to focus more on improving the organization as a whole.
One of our employees is working with us specifically on building our organizational capacity. Would their salary qualify?
This is a possibility, but you would need to make a strong case that the work the employee is doing will contribute to the long-term growth of the organization. You would need to detail the specific capacity building elements the employee is working on, as well as the time they spend on it. When their work is over, will your organization be more effective in the long-term, as a direct result of their work?
Our organization wants to hire a part-time fundraising staff member to assist us in securing funds for each of our programs. Could the grant money be applied to this employee’s pay?
This grant would be applicable to their pay if their position is part of a long-term plan to improve the fundraising capacity of the organization. If you are hiring someone for six months, that does not qualify. But if you are hiring someone with the goal that they become permanent fundraising staff, that would qualify because it would add to the overall effectiveness of the organization.
My organization supports public water trails, not a land-based public area. Are we eligible to apply for this grant?
Water-focused Friends Groups are definitely eligible. Though we use the term public lands, we do not mean to exclude waterways. Assuming the water trails are open to the public, and the organization meets all other requirements, water-focused Friends Groups are eligible to receive this grant.
I work for a City Department of Parks and Recreation. We work to support all local city-owned lands. As a government entity, are we eligible to apply?
Unfortunately, government entities are not eligible for this grant because they are not 501(c)(3) organizations. However, if the department works with a nonprofit group who helps promote and maintain the land, that group may be eligible. Please feel free to promote this grant to local nonprofit partners who are working with parks.
How do I apply to this grant?
Please visit the Every Day Capacity Building Grants page. Clicking on the “Submit Application” link will bring you to the online application form. You will first be prompted to supply log on information, specifically a username and password. If you have already created an account in our system, supply the information and click Log On. If you do not yet have an account, please click the “Create New Account” button.
How do I create an account?
When you click on the submit application button you will be prompted to either supply log on information or “Create New Account.” Clicking on the “Create New Account” button will allow you to supply the contact information necessary to create a log on and apply to the grant.
When creating an account, whose information should I provide in the User Information section? Whose information should I provide in the Organization Information section?
Contact information supplied in the User Information section should reflect the individual who will be directly handling the application process for your organization. If there is a problem with your application, or if we need to contact your organization for any questions, this is the person we will contact.
In the Organization information section, we recommend that you include the contact information of the person in charge of your organization. This would not be the person directly involved with the day to day handling of the application, but the person who is authorized to sign off on items such as Grant Agreements and the like.
I am having trouble using your grant application software (e.g., page will not load; application will not accept my uploaded documents, etc.). Or, I do not understand a question on the application. Who should I contact?
For all questions regarding the online application system, or the requirements of the application itself, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I submitted an application, but did not receive a confirmation email. Does this mean my application was not submitted successfully?
Our online grants system does not supply users with a confirmation email once the application has been submitted. If you log back in to your account, the first screen you will see is an “Application Status” page. This will show you a list of your applications, and their status. Applications that have been successfully received will be marked as “Submitted.”
Please note that once an application has been submitted, you may view the complete application but cannot change any of your responses. If you would like to revise your application, and it is before the deadline, please email email@example.com.
I already submitted a complete application, but I would like to revise some of my answers. Is there any way I can access my submitted application?
As long as it is prior to the application deadline, we can make your application available for edits. To request access to an already submitted application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include the name of your organization.
Please also note that if we open a submitted application for you, and you not do re-submit by the application deadline, your application will not be considered.