Applying For Grants

Lake associations are always looking for ways to fund lake management projects.  Here are some tips for success in applying for and receiving funds in New York.

Are you incorporated?

To be eligible for most grant funding, your association must be incorporated or you must be able to contract with an incorporated entity, academic institution, or government entity.

Do you have insurance?

Depending on the project or grant source, your association may be required to carry general liability insurance in order to receive funding.  Look carefully at the grant requirements.  It is also possible that other involved entities will need to be named as coinsured for the duration of  your project.  Contact your insurance carrier with any questions you may have.

Know your watershed

Most grants in New York are targeted to specific watersheds, and this opens up possibilities you may not have considered.  So, for example, even if your lake is not a “Great Lake,” your project might be eligible for Great Lakes funding if it is within the watershed.

(Image courtesy of NYS DEC)

Collaborate with others

Do you and your neighboring lake association have common goals?  Would joining forces with an academic institution or local government agency make sense?  If so, consider submitting a collaborative project that may have greater benefit to your area’s water quality.  This often improves the odds of being funded.

Register with the NYS Grants Gateway

New York State’s online grant application and contract management system offers documentation, training, webinars, videos, and support.  It also allows you to search for funding opportunities and apply for grants online. Applicants that are awarded grants can also use the Grants Gateway to manage their contracts online.

The Grants Gateway website also includes the State’s Prequalification system. Prequalification allows nonprofit vendors to provide required documents, forms, and proof of policies that all State agencies require prior to reviewing grant applications and awarding contracts.

Get Help – Grant Writing Resources

You don’t have to go it alone.  If writing a grant proposal seems too daunting for your lake association, you can hire a consultant to help you.  There are also grant writing  resources available online, through academic institutions, and various workshops:

Have proposals and projects “ready to go”

The timeline between grant notifications and deadlines for submittals is often short.  It helps to have projects already identified with at least a draft proposal ready to finalize and submit when announcements are made.