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Engagement and Stewardship Project Funding

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As of 2020, APNEP is no longer accepting project proposals on an ongoing basis. Stay tuned for a more formal and extensive RFP that will be published in fall/winter 2020!

The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) accepts project proposals under $2500 on an ongoing basis for projects that increase citizen stewardship, volunteerism, and environmental literacy within the Albemarle-Pamlico region. Funding for these proposals may not always be available, but APNEP will always work with organizations to find nonmonetary support such as resources, promotion, and assistance finding other funding sources.

Goal: Through targeted education and communications efforts, APNEP and its partners will encourage citizens to reduce their environmental impacts and provide meaningful opportunities to protect and restore the ecosystem. APNEP is committed to educating children and adults about the rich resources found throughout the Albemarle-Pamlico region, with the purpose of increasing knowledge about the ecosystem and equipping the region’s citizens with the skills to effectively approach environmental issues.

Eligible Applicants

  • State and local governments (including Councils of Government) Note: federal agencies do not qualify for funding, although they can be partners on funded projects.
  • Interstate and intrastate agencies
  • Public and private nonprofit organizations and institutions
  • Public and independent K-12 schools, and higher education institutions

APNEP accepts proposals only for projects or initiatives that take place within or primarily impact areas within the APNEP management boundary, and which assist in implementing at least one of the APNEP Engagement and Stewardship Team’s four Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Actions. The CCMP is a long-term plan that contains specific targeted actions to address a wide range of environmental issues in the Albemarle-Pamlico region, including education, engagement, and stewardship needs.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should fill out APNEP's abridged Engagement and Stewardship Scope of Work and submit it to in electronic format as a Word document.

Download the Scope of Work

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis and assessed based on the criteria developed by APNEP’s Engagement and Stewardship Action Team (listed below). Applicants will receive a funding decision from APNEP staff within 2-4 weeks of submitting their application. Assistance with project proposals is available; please contact APNEP Program Manager Heather Jennings for details. 

The Engagement and Stewardship Action Team’s CCMP Actions are as follows:

  • D1.1: Communicate the importance of stewardship and offer opportunities for volunteerism to further APNEP's mission. Advocating environmental stewardship and providing citizens with meaningful volunteer options improves the environment while educating the public about the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system.
    • Output: Workshops and engagement materials on stewardship and volunteer opportunities
    • Results: Increase in voluntary citizen action to protect and restore the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system
  • D2.1: Provide and promote opportunities for outdoor experiences that connect individuals with the Albemarle-Pamlico ecosystem. A meaningful and educational outdoor experience can change the lens through which a person views the natural world. A person who is connected to the estuarine system is more likely to take the steps necessary to ensure that it thrives. APNEP will continue to work with its partners to provide and promote opportunities for meaningful outdoor experiences.
    • Outputs: Activities for the public to become engaged in experiencing the Albemarle-Pamlico ecosystem
    • Results: Increased awareness and engagement in implementation of the CCMP
  • D2.2: Provide environmental education training opportunities for educators in the region. By teaching educators about the Albemarle-Pamlico region and its associated environmental issues and providing them with science-based resources, APNEP and its partners enrich the education of thousands of students annually.
    • Outputs: Workshops and materials for educators
    • Results: Increased awareness and engagement in implementation of the CCMP
  • D2.3: Increase public understanding of the relationship between ecosystem health and human health advisories relating to water, fish, and game. Few citizens fully understand the relationships between human activity and health advisories. APNEP will work to help people make these connections, allowing citizens to take concrete steps to address pollution sources.
    • Outputs: Outreach and educational materials
    • Results: Improved water quality.

Review Criteria

Proposals will be initially screened by APNEP staff to determine whether they meet the following requirements:

  • Project will take place within or primarily impact areas within APNEP’s management boundary
  • Project request is less than $2500
  • Project assists in implementing at least one of the Engagement & Stewardship Team’s assigned Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan Actions
  • Applicant is eligible for funding

Proposals that meet these requirements will be reviewed and evaluated based on the following criteria, with a possible total score of 100 points:

  • Measurable Impact: 45
  • Capability: 25
  • Reach of Proposal: 20
  • Partnerships: 5
  • Budget: 5
  • Total = 100

Reach of Proposal (0-20 points)

  • Proposal clearly shows how project will assist in implementation of APNEP’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. Proposal demonstrates a clear connection between project implementation and implementation of one or more of the Engagement and Stewardship Team’s assigned CCMP Actions, as well as potentially other CCMP Actions. (up to 10 points)
  • Proposal defines and justifies target audience(s), spatial scope (location, geographic region) of project, and explains how it is contributing to filling gaps or needs in the Albemarle-Pamlico region. (10 points)

Measurable Impact (0-45 points)

  • Proposal defines project success via quantitative or qualitative targets for output and/or outcome metrics. Please see this link for details, including a list of potential outputs and outcomes. APNEP staff are available to assist with this process.
  • Proposal lists at least one or more output and/or outcome metrics that will be measured, documented, and reported after project completion, as well as expected target for each metric. (up to 30 points)
  • Proposal includes a short explanation for how for each metric assists in measurement of a CCMP Action being implemented by the project. (Up to 15 points)

Capability (0-25 points)

  • Proposal clearly outlines project goals, objectives, and deliverables. Proposal is complete, concise, and specific. Timeline for project completion is realistic and achievable. (15 points)
  • Statement of qualifications and/or resume clearly demonstrates that applicant/organization has ability to successfully complete the proposed project. (10 points)

Budget (0-5 points)

  • Proposed budget provides enough detail to show that costs are appropriate to the scope of work and abides by project restrictions (see below). Proposed budget includes description of any leveraging or matching of financial resources or inkind services such as volunteer hours. Non-federal matching funds must be provided at a ratio of 1:1 (direct and/or in-kind). (5 points)

Partnerships (0-5 points)

  • Project proposal has support of partners necessary to successfully complete the project. Proposal describes partner support (i.e., funding, technical assistance, inkind services) or provides a justification for why support isn’t needed to successfully implement project goals and objectives. (5 points)

Restrictions and Conditions

Funds may not be used to match federal grants, and all awards are contingent upon availability of APNEP funds and current program priorities.

Any materials and media produced with APNEP funds must credit APNEP and/or include the APNEP logo as appropriate. Awards recipients will be required to submit a final report to APNEP upon project completion, which will include any data on any output/outcome metrics chosen during the proposal process. The report will also include digital copies of any final products (ie, brochures, videos, manuals, etc.) Before and after photos, training materials, or other media can be submitted in lieu of communications materials as appropriate. Deliverables must be submitted before final payment is made unless authorized by the administrator.

APNEP does not fund the following under this process:

  • Projects that occur outside of the APNEP management boundary;
  • Endowments, individuals, building campaigns, annual giving, fundraising, or venture capital;
  • Political and governmental lobbying;
  • Reimbursement for a project that has been completed or materials that have already been purchased;
  • Educator stipends;
  • Transportation costs separate from core activity of project;
  • Budget items that are considered secondary to the project’s central purpose. These include promotional materials such as pens and key chains, or cash prizes;
  • While projects by students and for students will be considered, they must contribute to ongoing adult or youth education, community outreach, or habitat restoration; educational activities that exclusively benefit a single class will not be funded.

Still Have Questions?

Please contact APNEP Communications and Outreach Specialist Kelsey Ellis at or 919-707-8743, or APNEP Program Manager Heather Jennings at or 919-707-8632.