Application FAQs

What kinds of environmental issues does NEGEF fund?

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 Economies. If you aren’t sure if your issue is something NEGEF would fund, don’t hesitate to .

What is the difference between Seed grants and Grow grants?

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. Don't hesitate to contact us for help deciding betweent the grant programs.

Does a group have to have 501(c)3 (non-profit public charity) or Incorporated tax status to receive NEGEF funding?

No, the Grassroots Fund does not require that a group has a formal tax exempt status. 
NEGEF funds both informal (unincorporated) groups - we call them “ad hoc” - and formal (incorporated or 501c3 status) groups. The only requirement is that a group must have a checking account in the group’s name or have a fiscal agent. This is to ensure that the grant isn't considered personal income for the recipient.
A group is allowed to submit an application before having a checking account or a fiscal agent in place.

How can a volunteer group open a bank account?

In order to open a bank account to deposit funds, the bank may request an Employee Identification Number (EIN) be assigned for identification purposes.  A Community Volunteer Group can request an EIN number online by following these steps:

  • Go to the IRS Website
  • Click on Apply Online Now (near the bottom of the page)
  • Click on Begin Application (near the bottom of the page)
  • Click on the Begin Application button
  • When you get to the list of the type of group, check the View Additional Types box at the bottom of the list, then hit Continue
  • Choose Community or Volunteer Group, then Continue
  • Click on the Continue button
  • Fill out all of the applicable information for the group

How many times can a group receive NEGEF funding?

That depends. There is no set limit. However, NEGEF rarely provides grants to one group more than four times (and in the case of Seed grants it tends to be 2 times). Factors that go into this decision include: whether or not the group is changing and growing, or if it is applying for the same project; whether or not NEGEF is the only source of funding or if NEGEF is one of a (growing) number of sources; and the specific use/need for funding. If you are unsure whether or not your group should apply again, please don't hesitate to .

What kinds of projects does NEGEF fund?

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.

Can municipalities apply for funding?

Municipally-tied volunteer committees such as an energy task force or committee or conservation commission may apply for funding with the municipality serving as fiscal agent, provided the core organizing team includes community members/volunteers (i.e. not solely paid municipal staff).