Got an idea for greening Greenpoint? The Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund could bankroll your environmental improvement project–if you know how to network with nonprofits.
The GCEF, which is managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the North Brooklyn Development Corporation, is awarding $19.5 million in grants to improve Greenpoint’s environment. The GCEF site says projects could address things like water quality, air quality, open space and reducing toxic pollution. Fittingly, the money comes from a settlement with ExxonMobil over the infamous Greenpoint oil spill. It’s the second of two settlements designed to help remediate pollution in North Brooklyn. The first, for $10 million, has already been doled out, in part to the Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center to build a boathouse and an esplanade along the waterfront.
The GCEF is accepting project proposals until Dec. 18. They’re holding two upcoming events in Greenpoint–a networking session on Nov. 7 at the Polish and Slavic Center, and an applicant workshop on Nov. 13 at Dupont Street Senior Housing (both events start at 6:30pm)–to help neighborhood residents, as well as nonprofits, get their green initiatives off the ground. The workshop will cover who can apply, guidelines for proposals and details of the grant application process.
Last week we sat in on an applicant webinar with Lynn Dwyer of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation who emphasized that fund administrators want to see projects from locals. However, it may be difficult for the average Greenpointer to apply for a grant–eligible applicants include 501(c) status nonprofit organizations, state, tribal and local governments, and academic and educational institutions. Individuals must partner with one of these organizations. The GCEF can help Greenpoint residents find nonprofit partnerships, so if you’ve got a great idea, get in touch with the community liaison office at 718-389-9044, extension 15, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants are also strongly encouraged, but not required, to provide 1:1 or 2:1 matching funds, which could be cash, donated goods or volunteer labor. In the webinar, Dwyer said matching funds can help show “how sustained your project will be on a long-term basis.”
The fund will dole out both small grants and large or legacy grants. Greenpointers will have a chance to weigh in on large and legacy proposals in September of 2014, after they are reviewed by an independent committee. According to the Attorney General’s Office, committee members have not yet been chosen, but the group will include members from the public and private sector, academia and some Greenpoint residents. Small grant proposals will be reviewed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and North Brooklyn Development Corporation. New York State will make the final decision on awarding all grants.