Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Value in Establishing Partnerships

I’m going to cover two topics this week. Firstly, to inform you of funding the EPA has available to address the Great Lakes ecosystem through their Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. While restoring the Great Lakes has become a priority at the national level, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced $120 million in grants available to State pollution control agencies, interstate agencies, colleges, universities, and other public or non-profit private agencies, institutions, and organizations. Please note individuals and “for-profit” organizations are not eligible. Applications are due January 29, 2010 and more information can be found at Funding is to be used to address five major focus areas: 1. Toxic substances and areas of concern. 2. Invasive Species. 3. Nearshore Health and Nonpoint Source Pollution, including watersheds and reducing polluted runoff from urban, suburban and, agricultural sources. 4. Habitat and Wildlife Protection and Restoration 5. Accountability, Education, Monitoring, Evaluation, Communication and Partnerships.

The last word of the previous paragraph brings me to my second topic; partnerships. While this size of a project may be a bit large for a small organization to take on, it is important to remember the effectiveness of partnerships in a grant application. Many successful grant applications mention various groups they will work with to ensure their proposed projects success. Any time you can tap into more resources, staff time, expertise, technology and/or dollars you should. Use those assets to showcase the dynamics of the relationship and tie that back to the importance of achieving the end goal of your project. This will set your application apart from those with fewer resources. Partnerships demonstrate to a grant review committee that you have done a lot of homework in reaching out to others either in your area of location or area of interest. It gives the reviewers assurance that grant funds will be used on the actual project instead of using funds to gather the tools and information needed to start the process of working toward the project.

Granted one organization will have to take the lead and manage the grant, but the assistance of extra hands and additional resources should pay off in the end.

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