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Long Island Sound Stewardship Fund


Proposal Due: Friday, January 17, 2020

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The Long Island Sound Stewardship Fund (LISSF) is a competitive grant program seeking proposals to restore and protect the health and living resources of Long Island Sound.  We are interested in empowering communities of all kinds but especially underserved communities to access, improve and benefit from Long Island Sound its waterways and surrounding lands.  Up to $400,000 is expected to be available for grants in 2020.  The availability of funds is contingent upon the quality of proposals received, and their alignment with the priorities in this RFP.  The LISSF aims to:

  • Support nongovernmental organizations working on issues and projects related to the Long Island Sound Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan 2015 (CCMP 2015);
  • Help build stronger nongovernmental organizations working in this region;
  • Foster collaboration and innovation around conservation and environmental quality work;
  • Accelerate the “next best step” for proven strategies to reduce pollution, restore habitat, conserve species, enhance resilient communities,  support inclusive management, and engage people around the Sound;
  • Support local communities in advancing environmental justice.



The Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative (the Collaborative) is a group of funders with missions that include clean waters, thriving habitats, and sustainable communities.  While most of the funders are not solely focused on this goal, we aim to build our effectiveness through collaboration.  Since its inception, the Collaborative has worked together to educate ourselves about the myriad issues facing the Sound and about possible solutions.  We have been engaged in aligned funding for eight years.  The LISSF pools our investments and expands our grantmaking.  We will support projects that address pressing challenges and provide for a healthy, productive, and resilient Sound now and into the future.  LISSF is administered by the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF).  Foundations providing support for grants under this RFP are:  Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Jeniam Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Long Island Community Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, New York Community Bank Foundation, The New York Community Trust, Pamela and Richard Rubinstein Foundation, Rauch Foundation, and Westchester Community Foundation.


All proposals must fall within any part of the Long Island Sound watershed in the states of Connecticut and New York as shown on the LISSF Boundary Map.



Capacity Building to increase the effectiveness of organizations that focus on restoration and protection of the health and living resources of Long Island Sound.  Capacity-building can occur in every part of an organization, including programs, management, operations, technology, governance, fundraising, and communications.  Funds may be requested to build: resource capacity needed to carry out the CCMP; systems capacity needed to effectively and efficiently deliver project results; or adaptive capacity that provides an organization with the capacity to monitor, assess and act on data, to respond to organizational or environmental changes and/or to adjust performance for greater impact.  Some examples of capacity-building strategies and tools for which funds may be requested are:

  • Projects that enhance local capacity or staff capacity through training, assessment, planning, design, and other technical assistance-oriented activities;
  • Strategic plan development;
  • Organization, program and service assessments or evaluation;
  • Fundraising plan development or developing diverse revenue sources;
  • Board and leadership development;
  • Technology improvements;
  • Accounting and budgeting improvements;
  • Marketing and communications planning;
  • Financial management or donor management, volunteer or administrative software;
  • Website design, brochure materials, printing and postage, presentation materials;
  • External forms of assistance such as peer mentoring or peer exchange elements, consultant services, coaching, or other third-party methods for addressing organizational challenges;
  • Incorporating members of underserved communities into your organization and/or within direct project delivery.

Collaboration is defined as one or more organizations working together to accomplish a common goal and to achieve greater impact focused on improving the health and living resources of Long Island Sound.  Collaboration goes beyond networking in that it should involve organizations acting jointly to improve a system or a systematic approach to achieve an outcome through shared resources (people, skills, etc.).  Some examples of collaboration tools and strategies for which funds may be requested are:

  • Interagency or municipal agreements, multi-organizational MOUs;
  • Regional forums, meetings or events that focus on current issues, provide a space for collaboration and offer a place where information can be shared;
  • Investigating and evaluating potential collaborations with the goal of developing sustainable partnerships or integrating and/or merging existing organizations;
  • Establishing new collaborative, enhanced or updated activities among organizations.  This may include increased coordination through the addition of partners,  agreements for decision-making and sharing of resources, or  initiatives for established coalitions or collaborations;
  • Shared visualization and data analysis tools, services, and/or strategies to map, manage, and communicate about local or regional environmental monitoring results;
  • Project management, design, tools, support and/or services that bridge gaps in the technical capacity of multiple partner organizations;
  • Technical assistance, training, resources, and/or leadership to facilitate action among multiple partner organizations.

Piloting Tools & Strategies to add more value in terms of environmental and natural resource impact, and to foster the “next best step” for applicability or scalability across Long Island Sound.  Activities may include scoping and design to set the stage for large, multi-year projects.  Some examples of types of strategies and tools for which funds may be requested are:

  • Advancing tools and strategies to address nutrient loading, combined sewer overflows, stormwater runoff, and nonpoint source loading e.g., new decentralized on-site wastewater treatment technologies, alternatives to chemical and nitrogen-intensive residential and commercial turf and landscaping, strategies to increase the rate of Green Infrastructure implementation, and the advancement of bio extraction;
  • Advancing tools and strategies to restore coastal habitats and improve coastal resiliency e.g., living shorelines, addressing marsh subsidence, natural, nature-based, and green-gray (hybrid) infrastructure;
  • Advancing tools and strategies to increase the knowledge and engagement of the targeted constituencies or the public in the protection and restoration of Long Island Sound e.g., social marketing, User-friendly technology (digital services/tools kits) to foster communication, public campaigns around pressing environmental problems;
  • In-field application of new technologies and management approaches.

Small Projects with Big Impacts to clean waters, restore habitat, sustain wildlife, and engage the public in the restoration and protection of the health and living resources of Long Island Sound.  By big impact we mean activities with the promise to demonstrate, influence, pilot, innovate, and/or provide proof of the design with the aim of accelerating local and regional water quality improvements, natural resource restoration, coastal resilience, and community outreach and engagement.  Some examples of types of projects or activities for which funds may be requested follow and may also be found under “Implementation Actions” in the CCMP 2015:

  • Water quality and habitat restoration to support on-the-ground projects that reduce or prevent water pollution, restore habitat or sustain fish and wildlife;
  • Design/planning to support activities that set the stage for on-the-ground implementation of water quality or habitat restoration;
  • Activities to provide for resilient communities in the face of intense storms and sea-level rise;
  • Education and public community/engagement to support hands-on, visible public participation that is diverse and inclusive;
  • Youth education and engagement beyond core operations.



Eligible applicants include non-profit 501(c)3 organizations and educational institutions.   Ineligible applicants include government agencies, businesses, and individuals. 



The LISS Fund has two categories of grants:

  • Capacity Building, Collaboration, and Piloting Tools & Strategies: Generally, will range in value from $15,000 to $100,000.   Proposed projects or programs may include scoping and design to set the stage for large, multi-year projects. Please note there will be fewer grants at the higher end of the grant range. Proposals requesting larger amounts of funding e.g., $50,000> must demonstrate regional value and scope, partnerships, and higher impact of the project or program to the Long Island Sound and communities and constituencies served.  
  • Small Projects with Big Impacts: Generally, it will range in value from $3,000 to $10,000.



Projects must start within three months and be completed within 12-15 months after notification of grant award projected to be March 2020.



Funds may not be used for: 

  • Activities prohibited to 501(c)3 organizations;
  • Scientific research.  Those interested in funding for research should consider the Long Island Sound Study Research Grant Program;
  • Marketing efforts that serve to generally promote solely the applicant organization and its initiatives;
  • Building or capital or acquisition campaigns, endowments, sponsorships, or to address budget deficits;
  • Incomplete applications or applications requesting funds below the minimum or above the maximum allowable award amount will not be considered for funding;
  • The limit is two proposal submissions per organization.  Please be aware that while your organization may submit two proposals, it is unlikely that all proposals will be funded based upon the competition for funding. 


Proposals will be evaluated by the Collaborative based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria:

  • Program Priorities – Proposed project addresses one or more of the program priorities outlined in this Request for Proposal.  The proposal has specific, quantifiable performance outcomes to evaluate success.  
  • Partnerships – Proposed project engages relevant partnerships to support proposal development and delivery.  This is especially true for Network Building requests, where priority will be given to joint or multi-organization proposals.
  • Continuing or Enhanced Impact – Proposed project builds upon or enhances previous work funded by the Funders Collaborative, such as the LIS Eco-System Health Report Card or the Unified Water Study.
  • Technical Merit – Proposed project is technically sound and feasible, and the proposed project sets forth a clear, logical, and achievable work plan and timeline. 
  • Budget – Costs are allowable, reasonable and clearly budgeted. 
  • Qualifications – Experience relevant to delivery of the proposed project and/or a proven track record of success in implementing projects or programs with measurable results.
  • Communication – Proposed project includes a plan to communicate information about it to appropriate audiences.



Dates of activities are subject to change.  Please check the Long Island Sound Stewardship Fund program page of the Long Island Community Foundation.

    Proposal Due Date                 1/17/2020 
    Review Period                        Winter 2020
    Grant Notification                    March  2020
    Grant contracting                    Commences April 2020



Please follow the link to Instructions and Application Downloads for the LISSF.

Questions about this RFP please contact: 

Tripp Killin
Jeniam Fundación

Lynn Dwyer
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation







Long Island Community Foundation | A Division of The New York Community Trust
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