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Environmental Justice Grant Application Instructions

Instructions for completing the application form and attachments

An eligible applicant may apply to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ("Department") for State assistance funding. Please read this entire package of information and include all required documentation at the time the application is submitted. If an application is determined by DEC to be incomplete, the applicant will not have an opportunity to resubmit another application until the next EJ Grant cycle. Applications must be typed or printed legibly. he format for the application is to be used as it appears in the application package. Attachment C, Budget Summary Form, must be used to describe the itemized budget for the proposed Project.

The Environment Justice Community Impact Grant and Green Gems Grant applications for 2012 are now closed.

Part 1. Applicant Information

Applicant: Enter the name, address and contact information for the community group that is applying for the EJ Grant funds.

Not-For-Profit Corporation (NFP): If different from the applicant community group, enter the name, address and contact information for the Not-for-Profit Corporation serving as the fiscal sponsor for the applicant community group. All NFPs must include their Federal Employer ID number and New York State Charities Registration number.

Authorized Official: The NFP officer authorized by Resolution to sign legal documents; see the Sample Authorizing Resolution in Supplement C.This person will receive official notification about decisions regarding this application.

Part 2. Project Summary

Project Name: Concisely state the Project name.

Type of Grant: Check the box indicating whether the Applicant Organization is applying for an Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant or a Green Gems Grant. Green Gems Grants provide funding from $2,500 to $10,000 for stewardship, monitoring, research and education projects related to community gardens, parks, open space or green infrastructure. Green Gems applications will be reviewed and ranked separately from the larger Community Impact Grants.

Project location: Complete the entries for question 3 regarding the location of the proposed Project site. Latitude/longitude or UTM coordinates are optional. If coordinates are recorded, they should be for the approximate center of the Project site.

Brief Description of Project, including multiple environmental harms and risks to be addressed by Project: Concisely describe the proposed Project including multiple environmental harms and risks to be addressed by the Project. Harms and risks should relate to industrial, commercial or municipal operations or the execution of state or local laws, regulations, policies or programs. See the Information for Applicants page or more information about Multiple Harms and Risks. Please provide a clear, concise and detailed description in the space provided. If the Applicant receives an EJ Grant award, this description will be attached to the Grant Contract as the Scope of Work.

Is the proposed Project part of a larger Project? If so, briefly describe the larger Project, list the additional funding sources for the Project, and describe and identify how funds from the Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Program will be used as part of the larger Project.

Part 3. Project Timing and Costs

Project Start and Completion Dates: Enter estimated start and completion dates. Generally, up to three years will be allowed for Project completion.

Grant amount requested: Total amount of State funding requested from the EJ Community Impact Grant Program. This amount must match the total in Attachment C-1, Project Budget.

Part 4. Attachments

Special instructions for Green Gems Grant applications are shown below in italics.

Attachment A. Description of Applicant Community Group

Provide a narrative description of the applicant community group. The size and format of the narrative description must not exceed two double-sided 8.5" x 11" pages (or four single-sided pages) with 1" margins, double spaced, and typed or printed legibly. Discuss the following points in order. Be sure to address each item listed:

  1. Describe the nature, purpose or mission of the applicant community group. The community group must focus primarily on addressing the environmental and/or public health problems of the residents of the community;
  2. Briefly describe the geographic location and area of operation of the applicant community group and verify that the applicant community group is located in the affected community;
  3. Give the annual operating budget of the applicant community group and provide brief documentation of the group's 2011 annual budget;
  4. If the applicant community group is formally affiliated with a larger organization, such as a regional, state or national organization or alliance, describe the nature of that affiliation, including the following information:
    1. Does the applicant have an independent governing body?
    2. Can the applicant enter into contracts, grant agreements or loans, and take other significant actions without the approval of the larger organization?
  5. If the applicant community group has a board of directors, include a list of board members and their professional or community affiliations; and
  6. Verify that the applicant community group is a Not-For-Profit Corporation (NFP) with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status or has partnered with a NFP that will serve as a fiscal sponsor for the applicant. If the applicant community group has partnered with a NFP that will serve as a fiscal sponsor, describe the applicant's relationship with the NFP and provide a signed letter of agreement between the applicant and the NFP stating that the NFP will serve as the fiscal sponsor.

Attachment B. Project Narrative

Provide a narrative description of the Project. The size and format of the narrative description must not exceed eight double-sided 8.5" x 11" pages (or sixteen single-sided pages) with 1" margins, double spaced, and typed or printed legibly.Discuss the following points in order. Be sure to address each item listed:

  1. Statement of Purpose: Clearly state the purpose and scope of the Project.
  2. Community Description: Describe in detail the community for which the Project is proposed. Specifically include the following:
    1. Location;
    2. Description of the environmental setting of the community (zoning, type of housing, amount of open space and recreational opportunities etc);
    3. Demographic makeup of the community (population, percent minority, percent low-income);
  3. Harms and Risks: Discuss the relationship of the proposed Project to multiple environmental harms and risks.
    1. Identify the multiple environmental harms and risks to be addressed by the Project;
    2. List the adverse impacts on the community relating to the multiple environmental harms and risks, if known;
    3. Explain how the Project will address the community's exposure to multiple environmental harms and risks;
    4. Explain how the Project will be used to expand the knowledge or understanding of the affected community.
  4. Proposed Work: Provide a detailed description of the activities to be conducted as part of the Project.
    1. Identify the goals/objectives of the proposed Project;
    2. Discuss how the goals/objectives will be accomplished, i.e., discuss Project methods;
    3. Identify the research to be done as a component of the proposed Project (See below for Green Gems applications).
    4. Identify the environmental activity, effort or associated work product to be completed as a component of the proposed Project.
    5. Identify how the proposed Project and results from the Project will educate or raise the awareness of the affected community about the multiple environmental harms and risks and the Project, and how that information will be communicated to the affected community (See below for Green Gems applications).
  5. Project Personnel: Describe the roles of people involved with the Project. Include the people who will be involved with the design and execution of the Project, including volunteers; state their titles, qualifications, education level, professional certifications, experience and individual roles. For any personnel who will be hired after the project is funded, identify the expertise that the applicant organization will be seeking. Please provide resumes of project personnel if available.

For Green Gems applications, please select one of the following types of research and briefly describe how that research will be carried out if the Project is funded. Applicants can also develop their own research projects for Green Gems proposals:

  • Evaluate changes in the knowledge and attitudes of Project participants toward environmental and/ or nutritional issues;
  • Evaluate changes in community garden productivity resulting from the Project;
  • Monitor changes in the environmental quality of the garden, park or open space as a result of the Project;
  • Test soil in garden plots for toxic contaminants;
  • Monitor the effects of the Project on local stormwater runoff, surface water quality or air quality;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of soil contamination cleanup methods used in the Project;

For Green Gems grant applications, please select one of the following types of education programs and briefly describe how that education will be carried out if the Project is funded. Applicants can also develop their own research projects for Green Gems proposals:

  • Provide nutrition education to students and/or members of the local community.
  • Use the garden, park or open space as an outdoor classroom for environmental education of elementary or secondary students.
  • Produce a website, booklet or other educational media on community gardening or green infrastructure methods.
  • Conduct community workshops on creation, maintenance and use of community gardens, open space or green infrastructure.
  • Train local youth in production and marketing of community garden produce and/or secondary garden products (sauces, salsas, etc.) as vocational education.
  • Use the garden, park, green infrastructure or open space as a demonstration project to educate members of the local community on the benefits of these types of work.

Attachment C-1. Project Budget

Use Budget Summary Form on page 27 of Application and Instructions (link in right column of this page).

  1. See pages 10 and 11 for lists of eligible and ineligible costs.
  2. Describe all anticipated expenses on the Budget Summary Form (Attachment C-1). If other funding sources for this Project exist, indicate the funding source for each proposed budget item as coming from Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant funds or another funding source. Break expenses down into the following expenditure classes within the categories of Personal Services or Non Personal Services.

Individually list all known or anticipated expenses within each class and the costs that will be funded by this grant or by other sources:

Category 1. Personal Services

Paid Staff:

List individuals paid directly by the applicant for work done exclusively for the Project, including Project documentation and reporting. For each staff member working on the Project, provide the person's name and a brief description of his or her duties for the Project. The budget amount must be based on the employee's regular hourly rate of pay for the hours directly applicable to the Project and type of work being performed. Any expense for fringe benefits cannot exceed fifteen percent (15%) of the staff member's salary funded under this Grant. Note that payments to any single individual, including fringe benefits, cannot exceed thirty percent (30%) of the total grant award.

B. Category 2. Non Personal Services

Contractual Services:

List costs related to contracts for professional services that are paid a fixed amount via a Project-specific contract, and obtained (procured) in a manner to assure practical and economical use of grant funding to receive maximum quality at the lowest possible cost, and to safeguard against favoritism, extravagance, fraud and corruption. Provide the name and employer of each contractor and a brief description of that contractor's duties for the Project.

Supplies and Materials:

List costs for expendable items required for the Project that are consumed during the implementation of the Project.

Equipment:

List costs for non-expendable items required for the Project that are not consumed and continue to retain value beyond the duration of the Project. Any equipment, furniture, supplies or other property purchased with funds provided by this Grant program cannot be sold, transferred or used for purposes other than stated in the recipient's State Assistance Contract for five years after the date of final payment under the Contract, or five years after the date that the final payment was due, without the written approval of DEC.

Communication:

List costs associated with communication required to execute the Project, including costs related to informing the community about the Project such as telephone services, telegrams, postage, messenger, electronic or computer transmittal services.

Publication:

List costs associated with publication including printing, distribution, and mailing.

Costs associated with securing Not-For-Profit Status up to $1,000.

These costs are not eligible for advance funding, but will be reimbursed upon submission of documentation verifying the expense and proof that NFP status has been attained.

Training:

List costs related to training that is required for the Project.

Travel:

List costs related to travel that is required for the Project. Briefly describe the reason these travel expenses are needed for the Project, especially for travel outside the Project area. This grant program will not fund travel outside New York State or expenses for attendance at conferences. Travel expenses cannot exceed the per diem rates specified by the U.S. General Services Administration without written consent of DEC. Per diem rates can be found at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/100120 (see link in right column).

Computer Hardware and Software:

List costs for purchase, upgrade and maintenance of computer hardware and software required for execution of the Project.

Other Expenses:

List other reasonable expenses directly related to the Project, such as rental of meeting or demonstration space.

Grant Administration by Fiscal Sponsor:

If the Applicant has a fiscal sponsor, list the expenses that the fiscal sponsor will charge to administer this grant. These expenses cannot exceed 10% of the total grant award.

Attachment C-2. Budget Narrative

For each expenditure class listed in the Budget Summary Form for which funding is being requested by the applicant, briefly describe (1) the items to be funded, including personnel and contractual services; (2) the need for these expense item in relation to the Project; and (3) the reasonableness of the costs of these items in relation to the number of people in the community who will benefit and the nature and location of the Project.

Attachment D. Project Schedule

Provide a detailed schedule for the Project. Estimate when each component of the Project will begin and will be completed, and the associated costs for each component. Projects should generally be completed within three years of the official notification by DEC of an EJ Grant award, with the exception of any long term monitoring, stewardship or other such activity.

Attachment E. Authorizing Resolution

A resolution authorizing the NFP to sponsor or conduct the Project as described in the application must be passed at an official meeting of the NFP governing body. The resolution must be prepared on the NFP's stationery. The name and title of the person authorized to sign the contract for the NFP must be included in the resolution. The resolution must be signed by an organization executive other than the Authorized Official. A signed original or certified copy of the resolution must be submitted with this application by the due date of April 5, 2013. See the Sample Authorizing Resolution in Supplement C.

Attachment F. Maps and photographs

Provide a map showing the proposed Project area as well as photographs supporting the application. Photographs will not be returned to the applicant.

Attachment G. Letter of Agreement

Provide a signed letter of agreement between the applicant community group and the NFP stating that the NFP will serve as the fiscal sponsor, if applicable. The letter of agreement must be submitted with the application by the due date of April 5, 2013.

Attachment H. Partnership Letter

If an organization, institution or government agency will be partnering with the Applicant to provide assistance on the proposed Project, include a letter from that partner stating its commitment to assist with the Project if the application is awarded funding. The partnership letter must be submitted with the application by the due date of April 5, 2013.

Attachment I. Letter of Support

A letter of support is optional, but encouraged. Applications with a letter of support from a government body, educational institution, or other established entity supporting the applicant community group and the proposed Project will be awarded additional points in the EJ Grant application review and evaluation process. The letter of support must be submitted with the application by the due date of April 5, 2013.

Attachment J. Economic Benefits

Project selection shall take into consideration the recommendation of the relevant regional economic development council or the Commissioner's determination that the proposed project aligns with the regional strategic priorities of the respective region. The recommendation from the regional economic council or, in the alternative, a narrative by the Applicant describing the economic benefits of the Project and how the Project aligns with the strategic goals of the regional economic plan for consideration by the Commissioner must be included with the application. See Supplement B, Regional Economic Council Recommendation, for more information.

Part 5. Certifications and Signature

The Application must be signed by the authorized official of the Not-For-Profit Corporation who is described in Part 1 of the Application Form. This signature certifies that all of the information contained in the Application is true and that the Applicant Community Group meets all of the following requirements for funding:

  1. The applicant community group is located in the affected community;
  2. More than fifty (50) percent of the applicant community group's members or people served by the applicant community group live in the affected community;
  3. The applicant community group is a Not-For-Profit Corporation (NFP) or has partnered with a NFP that will serve as a fiscal sponsor for the recipient; and
  4. The applicant community group (and NFP, if applicable) has not caused or contributed to the harms or risks relating to the proposed Project.

Mailing Address

Forward one copy of the application with original signature and all required attachments to:

NYSDEC Office of Environmental Justice
625 Broadway, 14th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-1500

Attn: Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant Application

Applications May Not Be Submitted Electronically