Find the Glossary of Terms and Frequently Asked Questions for NEEF Grants
Below are frequently asked questions regarding the NEEF's grants, as well as a glossary to help define terms that you may see.
Below are general questions about NEEF grants
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.
Yes, organizations operating under a fiscal agent are eligible to apply for NEEF grants. When completing their application, these organizations should clearly state the name of their fiscal agent and submit the requested financial documents for the fiscal agent.
It is very common for a public land to be managed by multiple agencies. It is acceptable for your partner land site to be managed by both public and private partners, as long as it is still open to the public and qualifies as a public land based on NEEF's definition. When prompted by the application, please include a partnership letter from the agency that you feel best represents your work and mission, and the one that you work with most frequently.
All applications must be submitted via our online grants system.
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.
All applicants are required to submit the following financial documents to complete their application:
501 (c)(3) letter issued by the IRS
A List of the Board of Directors
Annual organization budget for current Fiscal Year
An Audit for previously completed Fiscal Year OR a Balance Sheet & Profit and Loss Statement for previously completed Fiscal Year. *NEEF may also request said financials for fiscal year-to-date.
For all questions regarding the online application system or the requirements of the application itself, please contact email@example.com.
As long as it is prior to the application deadline, we can make your application available for edits. To request an already submitted application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and be sure to include the name of your organization.
A DUNS number is different from your federal tax ID (EIN) number. A DUNS number is used for business credit reporting purposes, A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit identification number for each physical location of your business. When registering for your DUNS number, you'll need to have the following on hand: Legal name. Headquarters name and address for your business. DUNS number is used to create your business credit file, similar to how your social security number is used to identify your personal credit reports. Please visit this website to search for or register your organization with a DUNS#, https://www.dnb.com/duns-number/lookup.html , DUNS# assignment is FREE for all businesses required to register with the US Federal government for contracts or grants. We at the National Environmental Education Foundation require a DUNS# for all organizations applying for federally funded grants (non-profits, military installations, etc.).
We at the National Environmental Education Foundation cannot disclose information about a grant that is not active or currently posted on our website.
Any federal, state, local, county or regional land or waterway held in the public trust and/or spaces that are accessible to the public. Examples of public lands can include (but are not limited to) national forests, national parks and monuments, national wildlife refuges, and state/local lands that are accessible to the public, such as state parks and forests, community gardens, and urban green spaces. If you have questions about whether your site qualifies as a public land, please email us at email@example.com.
NEEF's public land work is focused on lands that are owned by the public, not just open for public use. The property managed by the land trust should be managed in partnership with a public land management agency, and the land trust should be able to provide a partnership letter from said agency. This agency does not need to be state or federal, it can be a local or regional entity. The mission of the land trust is also an important factor to consider. In order to be eligible for NEEF's grants, a land trust’s mission needs to have a focus on achieving responsible, natural use of the land. If the organization’s central mission is focused on activities aside from conservation (like developing affordable housing, civic buildings, commercial spaces, etc... on this land), then the organization is likely not eligible for funding.
Although school property can be government-owned, it is not focused on the public's use and enjoyment of the land and nature. For these reasons, schools are not considered public lands.
If you are still unclear about whether a site qualifies as a public land, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
An organization may plan a project or program in a local, state, or federal park without committing to a long-term partnership. Instead, it would be a temporary arrangement to fulfill grant obligations. The details of this collaboration would be documented in a partnership letter from the public land organization, acknowledging the program/project plans and confirming the understanding between the public land entity and the nonprofit applicant.
A nonprofit organization whose mission is focused on serving a public land or waterway 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.
While there are many nonprofit organizations that partner with public lands to bring people outdoors to recreate, learn, and explore, not all of said organizations are considered Friends Groups. NEEF defines a Friends Group as one whose mission is focused on achieving conservation purposes on a specific public land/waterway. Activities typical of a Friends Group may include (but are not limited to):
protecting the natural habitat, water quality, and other cultural/historical aspects of a site;
ensuring that the site is accessible for outdoor recreational use by the public, especially its surrounding community;
hosting public events and programming that engages the community (this can include recreational activities like walking tours or festivals; educational activities like BioBlitzes or bird watching; or volunteer activities like trail maintenance or trash clean-ups).
The organization’s mission should be specific to the land/waterway and its community. If the organization’s mission is more generally focused on outdoor recreation or education on any land and not specific to that public land or group of lands, then they would likely not qualify as a Friends Group.
Yes. Cooperating Associations, or any other 501(c)(3) nonprofits, whose mission is focused on serving a public land site in the United States, are considered Friends Groups. What this means is that the purpose of the organization is to serve a specific public land or group of public lands and that this public land recognizes you as such an organization.
Water-focused Friends Groups are considered Friends Groups. The term "public lands" encompasses waterways. Assuming these waterways are open to the public, and the organization meets all other requirements of that of a Friends Group, water-focused groups are eligible. When completing the application, you will likely be asked for the total acreage of public lands that your organization helps to maintain. Please provide the acreage of your partner waterway.
Unfortunately, government entities are not considered Friends Groups because they are not 501(c)(3) organizations. However, if the department works with a nonprofit group that helps promote and maintain the land, that group may be eligible.
While many organizations do host NPLD events, doing so does not necessarily qualify your organization as a Friends Group. In order to be considered a Friends Group, your organization must be a nonprofit whose mission is focused on serving a public land site in the US and the improvement and responsible use of that site.
If you are still unclear about whether your organization qualifies as a Friends Group, you may email us at email@example.com.