Fund for the Environment & Urban Life About Proposals
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spacer spacer As our Fund is a newer organization, our guidance to would-be grantees is likely to be frequently updated; we urge interested parties to visit this page periodically. The section was last updated on June 28, 2011.

Our funding parameters are flexible but include the following key features. The projects we fund generally range from $35,000 to $85,000. Requests for more that $85,000 will also be considered (likely as phased grants), and a smaller pilot project category exists for $5,000 to $15,000 initiatives. We rely on performance-based and phased funding whenever possible. Progress reports are requried. Larger requests will receive greater scrutiny and may have the involvement of Fund personnel. We strongly prefer projects that offer opportunities for replication and impacts beyond the project itself.

Please click the following links for further information.

Proposal process for information on the solicitation, receipt and review of proposals, pertinent timeframes, provision of responses or award notifications, etc.

Proposal guidelines, including information on eligibility, project size and project phases.

Project criteria, which are relied upon in evaluating proposal submissions; all of these considerations are not necessarily relevant to individual projects, and additional considerations often apply.

Please Note: In an effort to reduce the amount of paper we receive and manage, we only accept material via email. Please do not send us any general information, annual reports, or proposals via standard mail.

Eligible entities should first contact the Fund and email a very brief summary of the proposed grant. The summary : 1)  Should be in bullet format regarding the goals, focus, timeframe and other key information. 2)  Should include the amount of money you are requesting from us, and a rough estimate of the total project cost. 3) Should not include any attachments, except a copy of your 501(c)(3) determination letter or similar proof of your charitable status. Please include your organization's overall budget and where you heard about our foundation. We review these requests once every two months and should be able to respond in such time. The initial e-mail should be addressed to Inquiries at (@ removed to prevent spam).  Please include the words "INITIAL INQUIRY" (all caps) in the subject line of the email. We welcome inquiries at any time.  


Based on an inquiry you submit and its review by our Executive Director and Chairman, we may request that a proposal be developed, or that we will work with you to develop a proposal.  Proposals are evaluated by our Advisory Board. 

When submitting an inquiry or proposal, closely following our guidance, both in length and content, is vital.

Due to the number of inquiries that we receive, many excellent projects will not receive funding.  We also note that our funding objectives can change, even within a year or cycle.  In some cases we may provide recommended changes for your proposal that might enable it to be funded at a future time. Note: we are not likely to fund art or garden/allotment-based environmental projects. We do not support lobbying efforts. We do not provide scholarship support.

If we decline an inquiry, it is not a reflection of our opinion of the merit of your idea, your organization, etc. Most likely it will reflect only our funding limitations and how closely it matches our objectives.

The information below provides guidance on what will be required from Proposers should we ask that further information to be submitted.  We again stress that this information should not be submitted unless it is requested, and be advised that entities that are not able to meet these expectations and requirements not begin the Proposal process. 



Proposals should generally address The Fund’s mission. However, we are open to new ideas; innovation is important to us. We generally do not support lobbying efforts.

We seek proposals that can have significant and potentiaaly broader impacts. We are less interested in proposals that only offer local impacts. In some instances we are interested in seeing our funds matched or otherwise supported by resources from other entities (not necessarily financial resources), but we can also decline pre-proposals if other support is readily available and the case for our funding is not made. We are not necessarily opposed to having our resources applied to support other fundraising efforts; while we seek to have direct results from the funds we provide, we recognize that some initiatives require more support than we can provide. We usually will not provide funds purely for the support of an existing organization’s ongoing activities (general support). We are oriented to projects that might deliver substantial change.

Very generally, we are interested in funding: research, project development, pilot programs (unique and innovative), communications, education, fund raising (in selected situations), program support for specific projects, capacity and leadership building (in some cases), and program expansion. We will not fund capital/endowment campaigns.

Our project funding parameters suggest proposals requiring $35,000 to $85,000, although these are flexible parameters. We prefer discrete projects and most will be funded in phases, based on milestones stated in the proposal or award letter, though we are reluctant to make multi-year commitments. Follow-up proposals in different years may be recommended. We do not discourage ambitious projects, but small start-up proposals for ambitious projects are likely to be reviewed more favorably.

The proposed budget will be a very pertinent evaluation parameter, and it should be appropriate to the proposal in all ways. Of course, proposals with smaller budgets entail less risk for The Fund, but we emphasize that the budget must be consistent with the specific requirements of proposed tasks. We are especially interested in innovative activities and acknowledge that specifics for this type of project may be harder to state.

We generally provide funds only to charities (recognized by IRS or equivalent outside the US), and are unable to support  non-operating foundations.


The Fund has no firm criteria for awarding grants. However, we offer the following as guidance to indicate the considerations we use to evaluate funding requests that are submitted to us. While all of these factors will not be applicable or applied in all cases, we hope this information is clear and encourage proposers to consider this information carefully to avoid wasted effort.
  • The proposer must be an organization that has the capabilities to accomplish what it proposes. A track record, and evidence of the track record, is important. If the organization is newer, we will focus on the capabilities of key individuals.

  • Projects that seek to motivate behavior change by individuals or organizations, and thus have potential results that are broader than what can be accomplished by the proposer, are encouraged. We rarely support lobbying, however, and are prohibited from supporting directly political activities. We do not provide support for individuals, e.g., scholarships.

  • Projects that are scalable and replicable — capable of being expanded and replicated in other settings — have appeal.

  • We generally prefer to have our support, when appropriate, integrated with resources from other organizations or the proposer's own resources, so that favorable results are maximized. Having our support leveraged is appealing. But we also consider the availability of resources from other organizations in making our decisions; we consider whether an organization is able to get support elsewhere.

  • All projects should be "doable" — projects with appealing but unrealistic goals will be rejected. Objectives should be very specific.

  • The capabilities of the individuals proposed to carry out the project are especially important.

  • Short-term results are desired but projects that can be accomplished in phases, with our support for subsequent phases conditioned on performance in earlier phases, will also have appeal. Opportunities for continuation with diminished support or without our support are desired; we very often ask how continuation will be achieved. Some demonstrable early results are strongly preferred, but these results can of course be part of a broader and longer-term vision, and should be. When appropriate proposals should speak to all of this.

  • We encourage projects that include communications elements, such as a media program, or have the potential for creating media attention, such as innovative activities that would have broad interest. When appropriate, we want to make news. But we do not consider continuing general outreach for an organization's existing mission, and especially lobbying, to be an appealing media program. Since personal behavior change is an important goal, we see communication as a crucial part of the process.

  • We have a preference for projects based in North America and Europe. This reflects our desire to focus efforts and minimize travel when interface is necessary.

  • We have a strong preference to fund smaller organizations, for example, those with annual operating budgets below $2 million.

  • Project funding is strongly preferred relative to general program support; we are especially interested in innovative projects that offer specific opportunities, and "breakthrough" ideas can have very strong appeal.

  • We will in some cases fund broader purpose organizations but proposed projects must be primarily for environment-related purposes.

  • Projects that address concerns of undeserved and under-represented communities have added appeal.




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Proposal Process
Proposal Guidelines
Project Criteria