RFP: Jessie B. Cox RCP Donated Land and Easement Grant Program

The Jessie B. Cox Trust announced the second round of grants for its Donated Land and Easement Grant Program. The program provides funds to RCPs to cover transaction costs associated with the donation of conservation easements and fee simple lands of ecological significance.

The pre-proposal deadline is Friday November 1, 2015. The Trust requires applicants to complete a short concept application. The Trust will then invite full proposals from this pool of applicants. Guidelines are available at The Jessie B. Cox Trust website

The first round of grants went to the Merrimack Conservation Partnership and the Litchfield Hills Greenprint Collaborative. Both projects presented promising prototypes for pooled funding programs that will inform other land trusts as these programs evolve. The Cox Trust’s program advisory committee identified several strengths of the successful proposals that may be helpful to future applicants including: 

  • Organizational resilience. Using the funding to improve local land trust practices.
  • Creative incentives. Incorporating incentives that rewarded matching dollars.
  • Organizational diversity. Broad partnerships that go beyond land trusts — the strongest example being the Merrimack Conservation Partnership that includes government, academic, recreational, civic and other partners. 
  • Civic connectivity. The number of communities involved in the projects. 
  • Fair and friendly competition. The design of an equitable and competitive funding process that allows all members to apply for funding. 
  • Long-term vision. A commitment and plan for continuing the program beyond the Cox grant. 

The advisory committee also identified areas that future applicants should address in their full proposals: 

  • Solid leads. Realistic projections of potential landowners interested in donating easements or land in the near term. 
  • Financial creativity. Practical strategies for leveraging Cox grant funding to increase additional resources for conservation. 
  • Communication plans. Effort to increase public awareness of the transaction fund and regional conservation vision that it supports. 
  • A long-term perspective. General interest and ideas to sustain a pooled fund as a long-term resource for RCP member organizations.
  • Capacity building agenda. An understanding of how the process can help develop the capacity of member organizations to work together more effectively. 

As it reviews concept applications and invites proposals, the advisory committee will balance the programmatic merits of each request with the larger mission of the funding initiative to support work that strengthens and benefits RCPs in New England. If you have any questions about the application process, contact Prentice Zinn at 617-391-3091.