In 1996, four New England foundations met to examine environmental priorities in New England. Their conclusion was
“for the New England environmental movement to succeed, the New England environmental movement must project a broad and compelling vision that will persuade large numbers of people that they are stakeholders in the formidable effort to build a sustainable future. This effort must begin at the local level. If environmental protection is imposed upon people, we will surely fail. But if it is accomplished with, for, and because of people, we may succeed…”.
The participating funders recognized their limits – not enough staff resources and extensive grant application processes that neither reached nor attracted local level community groups to their foundations. In order to extend and fine tune their philanthropic efforts a different kind of funding structure was needed to offer proactive, professional grantmaking, skills-building and networking opportunities to support the needs of emerging volunteer-based organizations and leaders. The New England Grassroots Environment Fund was created and till this day remains one of very few organizations focused on the local level, reaching across issues, breaking across issue silos and offering network support to local New England initiatives.
NEGEF is both a Funders/Activists’ Collaborative and a Community Network Builder. Our mission is: to energize and nurture long-term civic engagement in local initiatives that create and maintain healthy, just, safe and environmentally sustainable communities.
Since its inception 16 years ago, NEGEF has built up a core grantmaking program that has funded over 1,600 different community groups located in over 50% of New England’s cities and towns putting over $4 million directly into these communities. Seed grants are up to $1,000 for newly formed projects and Grow grants range between $1,000 and $3,500 for more established groups. NEGEF invests in constituencies from rural, suburban and urban areas, working on a wide range of projects.
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As part of our ongoing mission to foster grassroots growth throughout New England, NEGEF is developing a variety of web tools to better share news, events and resources. In addition, we're putting our grant program online, making it possible for groups to apply for grants and manage those applications on this site.
As a non-profit, we are especially budget conscious. In our desire to create an advanced platform within our limited budget, we have made the tough decision to only support up-to-date browsers.
You can download a Word file with NEGEF's application questions if you would like to apply for a grant.
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