Grants/Alternative Funding Sources
Grants can be obtained from public and non-public sources consistent with the purpose of the granting entity. Cooperating associations and friends groups may apply for grants and apply the grant moneys to work activities on Corps lands. The Corps does not usually apply for grants with other Federal agencies unless the legal authority specifically addresses grants between Federal agencies. The Corps can apply for State, local, and private grants if such action does not involve lobbying Congress, the funds will be used for an authorized mission, and the acceptance is consistent with appropriation law. In practical terms, it is much easier for the partner to apply for the grant and accept the funds, so this is the preferred method. Corps employees may help partners write grant proposals, and may conduct training sessions on grant writing.
A third party entity could include a Friends Group, Cooperating Association, Non-Profit, Foundation or local governments. While the third party would usually initiate the grant application, the Corps would maintain oversight of the Project. See the Grants Application & Execution Process flow chart from NWP for a good example of the granting process.
The Corps Contribution Program provides the means and processes on how to accept donations plus administer any funds the Corps might receive directly or indirectly from a grant. A Contribution Plan has to exist prior to accepting funding and needs to be consistent with the contents of the Operation Management Plan (OMP).
Helpful Steps to Apply for Grants with a Third Party
- Identify and plan the project and ensure it is included in the OMP and Contributions Plan. Ensure the project is ready to go including a funding concept with any needed permits, environmental reviews, clearances and cost.
- Seek a partnership with a non-profit or local government. Explain that the Corps would like to complete a project, but requires assistance that may include fundraising efforts such as seeking grants. Corps staff may be asked by the partner to help locate a potential grant. Corps participation is encouraged, but the non-profit entity would submit the application and be the proponent.
- Identify potential grant sources: The non-profit may be willing to help or have knowledge of specific grants, but Corps staff could assist with identifying possible sources.
- Completing the grant application: Most grant application packages have specific guidance which should be followed precisely. If application guidance is more loosely worded, it is advisable for the applicant to call the Grantor and ask for any information and submission advice they may be willing to share.