Please contact us if you have any questions, concerns, comments or feedback.
No. NEGEF funds both informal groups (we call them “ad hoc”) and formal (incorporated or 501c3 status) groups. The only requirement is that your group must have a checking account in the group’s name or have a fiscal agent. This only needs to happen after a grant has been awarded — your group can apply without having a checking account or a fiscal agent by following these steps:
Go to IRS Website
Click on Apply for an EIN Online
Click on APPLY ONLINE NOW at the bottom of the page
Click on the Begin Application button
When you get to the list of the type of group, click on the View Additional Types option at the bottom, then Continue
Choose Community or Volunteer Group, then Continue
Click on the Continue button
Fill out all of the applicable information for the group
The groups we fund are primarily volunteer-driven — we rarely fund groups that have more than 2 full-time equivalent staff. We also rarely fund groups with annual budgets over $100,000. If you aren’t sure whether your group would qualify, please feel free to contact us.
If you are working on a newly evolving project, go with Seed. If you are an established group and are looking for support to expand the work, then Grow is more appropriate. For a comparison between the two programs, please visit our Grants page.
NEGEF funds groups working on all kinds of environmental issues. We have five program issue areas: Local Energy, Local Food, Local Health, Local Land & Water, and Local Living. If you aren’t sure if your issue is something NEGEF would fund, don’t hesitate to contact us.
NEGEF funds projects that have a strong community component. Typically this includes projects or programs centered on outreach and engagement that have on-going opportunities. If your group is requesting funds for an event or a mailing, be sure to emphasize how that event or mailing will contribute to ongoing outreach and engagement. Grants are intended to support community groups who represent the most exciting energy in the environmental movement that are not being reached by traditional funders. The Fund interprets the word ‘environment’ broadly and will provide funding for a wide range of activities. Whole systems-thinking is critical to initiatives focused on making our environment better, healthier and more sustainable.
NEGEF funds cannot be used for retroactive expenses, lobbying purposes, curriculum-based projects, micro-grant programs, or large capital acquisitions. NEGEF funds are not available for individuals or for-profits.
For Seed Grants:
Apply any time, there are no specific deadlines.
Funding decisions are made within 3 weeks of submitting the application.
For Grow grants::
March 15 — funds distributed in June
September 15 — funds distributed in December
If it falls on a weekend, the deadline will be bumped to the following Monday. If it falls on an official holiday when post offices are closed, the deadline will be bumped to the next business day.
Yes. Contact us first to discuss the situation and the project.
To open a checking account your group simply needs an EIN (Employer Identification Number) and two members from your group to be signatories.
To get an EIN, visit the IRS website. Depending on your operating system’s capabilities and your internet set-up (pop-up blockers, Java enablers, etc.) you may or may not be able to apply online. If you can’t, they can mail the forms to you.
If you are having any trouble, please contact us.
Fiscal sponsors are 501c3 designated entities that agree to “sponsor” your ad hoc informal group. This can include churches, towns, and other non-profit organizations. The main thing to consider in setting up a fiscal sponsor relationship is whether the missions of the two groups (the 501c3 and your informal group) are related. Since the 501c3 is “sponsoring” your group, your group must be furthering their mission in some way.
These organizations can receive donations on your behalf. Sometimes there is a processing fee – be sure to ask! You can even talk to them about negotiating the fee down – ideally, a NEGEF grant goes entirely to the grantee.
NEGEF offers fiscal sponsor services to its grantees. If you have any questions about the fiscal sponsor service, please contact Claire.
There is no limit for applications. But a group can only be funded once a year through each program.
NEGEF staff is available to review grant applications in advance and make minor suggestions. You are also welcome to contact us and we can connect you with other activists in your area who may be available to help you.
The budget included in the grant proposal should cover any and all expenses and income for the project for which you are seeking funds.
In-kind income should also be recorded. This should include any donated or discounted labor or services, donations or discounts in materials, donations or discounts in sites or meeting spaces. This gives a clearer picture of the scope of the project, and also demonstrates whether your group has sought creative means of financing the project.
The income sources listed should include all received income (e.g. grants), all anticipated income (e.g. membership dues you have not received yet), and all income possibilities (e.g. grants you plan to apply for or pending grant applications).
Click here for an example of how to Tell Your Story with Your Budget.
Yes. You can register by clicking the Register button in the top-right corner. Once you are logged in, you can start an application at any time.
Please contact us if you are having trouble with the online application and need a paper-based application. We are happy to help solve any issue you run into. We do have a paper-based application available if you don’t have access to a computer or the Internet.
Within 5 minutes of submitting your application online, an email is sent to confirm we have received the application. If you haven’t heard from us after 1 week, please contact us to make sure we have received your applications.
NEGEF’s Board makes final funding decisions and they are assisted by NEGEF’s Grantmaking Committee who make recommendations. The committee is made up of activists and funders and has representatives from each New England state. On average, there are 11 people on the Grantmaking Committee.
Funding decisions have three steps. First, NEGEF staff goes through the grant applications and contacts all of the applicants. If there are past applications and grant reports these are reviewed. Generally staff makes notes about: the feasibility of the project; the clarity and detail of the budget; the demonstrated links between the project and any outcomes; the group’s capacity to meet their goals; and strong links to community-based engagement and action. Also, we try to fund a diverse set of groups and projects covering a range of issues across all parts of New England in rural, suburban, and urban areas. NEGEF staff then makes funding recommendations to the Committees – sometimes they agree with us, sometimes they don’t!
After staff sends their recommendations to the Committees, the Committees meet to decide on which groups will receive support. Lastly, the Committees’ decisions are sent to the NEGEF Board of Directors for final approval.
There are 3 main reasons the Committee recommend partial funds for a group. First, we believe that the validation a grant award offers to a community group is equally as important as the actual funds. Thus, when there are a lot of strong applications in one round NEGEF chooses to offer partial funding (and full validation!) so that as many groups as possible receive support. Second, the project budget does not seem clear and there isn’t a compelling case for the use of the total requested funds. Third, you may have received multiple grants from NEGEF before and if there are many strong applications we prefer to give full funding to new groups.
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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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