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Long Island Sound Stewardship Fund


Proposal Due: Friday, March 15, 2019
Email to:


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.   Up to $400,000 is expected to be available for grants in 2019.  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.


The Long Island Sound Funders Collaborative is a group of funders with missions that include the protection and restoration Long Island Sound. As no funder is 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 almost eight years. The LISSF is an inaugural effort to pool our investments and expand our grantmaking. We will support projects that address pressing challenges and provide for a healthy, productive, and resilient Sound now and into the future. The 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, Long Island Community Foundation, McCance Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, 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. 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.
Network Building to expand the diversity of organizations working together to improve the health and living resources of Long Island Sound. Network-building is defined as a group of partner organizations in a local area, watershed or region working towards the same goals and focused on specific outcomes. In all cases, these networks should be focused on unified action to help protect and restore Long Island Sound. Some examples of networking tools and strategies for which funds may be requested are:


  • Regional forums, meetings or events that focus on current issues, provide a space for networking, 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 activities among organizations. This may include increased coordination through the addition of new partners, new agreements for decision-making and sharing of resources, or new 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 technical capacity of partner organizations;
  • Technical assistance, training, resources, and/or leadership to facilitate action among 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, storm water 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 restoration and protection of the health and living resources of Long Island Sound. By big impact we mean activities with the promise to accelerate local water quality improvements, natural resource restoration, 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;
  • Education and public community/engagement to support hands-on, visible public participation and education.


  • 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, Network Building, 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, 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 April 2019.


  • Funds may not be used:
  • - On 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. 

Proposal Due Date:     March 15, 2019 
 Review Period:    Spring 2019
 Grant Notification:    April 2019
 Grant Contracting:    Commences May 2019


Please click on the follow forms, download, and fill out the information required.

Questions about this RFP, please contact:
Tripp Killin
Jeniam Fundación

Lynn Dwyer
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Questions about the application and associated documents, please contact:
Jeannie DeMaio
Long Island Community Foundation





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