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Victoria Foundation's statewide environmental grants program has focused on the acquisition of critical tracts of open space in New Jersey. The LOI comprises a 2-page narrative that should describe the key features of the property and the contractual status. A separate one-page budget that lists all committed and potential funding sources should be added along with a color map of the property (if possible).
Purpose. New Jersey's open lands are under extreme development pressure, putting the state's drinking water supply at risk. In addition, climate change science points to heavier, more intense rainfall, which can contribute to flooding along rivers and the NJ coastline during storms. Land acquisition is the only sure way to preserve many of the state's premier sites for the public good and to protect the built environment from floodwater. The state's open space preservation program, known as Green Acres, has empowered New Jersey's land conservation organizations to move forward in acquiring lands that they have identified as critical open space. Victoria Foundation can help with purchases that utilize both public and private resources.
Eligible Projects. Special consideration is given to groups that are working in areas of current interest to Victoria Foundation, including the New Jersey Highlands, the Kittatinny Ridge and Valley region, and the Pine Barrens. *Please note the Foundation is also accepting land acquisition/conservation project requests that focus on NJ's coastline or within the city of Newark whose purpose is to address climate change and promote resiliency.
Victoria Foundation Land Acquisition grants rarely exceed 10 percent of the total acquisition cost. These grants may be used to cover fee purchases and easements. You are also encouraged to include a contribution towards a stewardship endowment as part of the request. Projects should address the Foundation's key conservation values, which include protecting water quality and promoting coastal resiliency.
Requests. Applicants should submit a two-page letter of inquiry briefly summarizing the project. Please note that only under exceptional circumstances will the Foundation consider land acquisition grants larger than $100,000. The letter should include: location of property, number of acres to be preserved, estimated total cost of the project, conservation values addressed, amount of VF request, other committed or pending funds, where the acquisition is in the process (i.e. under contract), likely timeframe for closing, and long-range stewardship plans. If possible, please include a map of the property and surrounding area.
Deadlines & Decisions.Twice each year, in the late fall and again in the late spring, Victoria Foundation staff solicit letters of inquiry from nonprofit organizations that are actively involved in land conservation in the target regions. Based on these letters, selected organizations are invited to submit full proposals to the next-succeeding spring or fall grant cycle. Decisions on full proposals are made at the same time as other applications in the grant cycle, except that decisions may be accelerated where necessary for an imminent closing. In addition, when an emergent situation develops in assembling funds for an imminent closing, the Foundation may sometimes consider an out-of-cycle grant request.