VOF opens 2019 RFP for Forest CORE Fund grants

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The Virginia Outdoors Foundation (VOF) is accepting proposals for the second round of grants for the Forest CORE Fund covering the Mountain Valley Pipeline region. This round seeks to disburse $3 million to offset forest fragmentation caused by pipeline construction. The request for proposals, which includes guidelines and application materials, may be found online at https://www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org/terra/fcf-mvp/ or obtained from program manager Emily White. The deadline for applications is June 28, 2019.

While the focus of the grant program is to protect large tracts of high quality forest, the program also incorporates community support in its evaluation process. Changes to the program adopted by the VOF Board of Trustees in March are designed to increase emphasis on community support. Trustees voted to allocate no less than 20 percent of the funds made available toward projects that have great importance to the community and show a high level of community support. Projects will be scored on their ecological significance, as well as their impact to the community and their capacity to address and incorporate environmental justice.

VOF will host a workshop for applicants on May 8 at the Vinton Library in Roanoke County to discuss the project selection process in detail and answer questions from potential applicants. Interested attendees need to register by close of business on May 1 as space is limited. Click here for event details, including a link to register.

Grant criteria was developed with input from a broad group of stakeholders in the Mountain Valley Pipeline region. Stakeholders include all directly impacted localities, planning districts, soil and water conservation districts, land trusts covering the region, local foresters, as well as the U.S. Forest Service. In addition, input was sought from Virginia’s United Land Trusts, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund, and the other mitigation partners named in the agreements (U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities, the Virginia Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and Virginia Endowment for the Environment).

VOF will continue to seek and welcome input from stakeholders as it refines the Forest CORE Fund programs for future grant rounds. Anyone interested in providing feedback should email Emily White at ewhite@vofonline.org, or submit their comments through our online form at https://www.virginiaoutdoorsfoundation.org/comments/.

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