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Essex County Land and Environment Initiative

The Essex County Land and Environment Initiative (ECLEI) seeks to improve the quality of life for Essex County residents by promoting the conservation and stewardship of land as open and green spaces in Essex County.  Specifically, funds may be used to:

  • Acquire land for open/green space and passive recreational use
  • Increase access to and quality of open and green spaces by building, improving, and/or maintaining supportive infrastructure

Applicants are invited to apply for grants of up to $25,000*.


Open and Green Spaces

  • Parks/recreation areas (neighborhood, mini parks, pocket)
  • Gardens (community, public)
  • Greenways/Trails
  • Small farms
  • Nature reserves
  • Forests


  • Accessibility improvements
  • Design services
  • Parking facilities
  • Picnic areas
  • Playground facilities
  • Signage
  • Capital investments that would improve land quality

*Note:  there is a very limited amount of funding available to support programmatic elements to proposed work.  Should you decide to include programming in your proposal, please do not request more than $5,000 for program expenses.

Grant Guidelines

funding priorities

ECLEI acknowledges that racial and social injustices are significant factors in community access to open land and green space.  At the same time, it recognizes that disproportionate negative environmental impacts and burdens have been placed on communities that have been historically and structurally under-resourced – particularly communities of color.  As such, ECLEI will prioritize applications where these communities directly benefit from the proposed work.  ECLEI will also prioritize applications from applicants:

  • Led by and/or are accountable to communities that have been historically and structurally under-resourced – particularly communities of color
  • That strongly value racial justice, equity, and inclusion and can demonstrate those values in practice
  • That would leverage open land and green space for community building and self-determination as well as environmental and health benefits
  • With annual budgets under $1 million

Applicants must have 501(c)(3) tax status under the IRS tax code and serve Essex County residents.

ECCF is committed to non-discrimination. We support organizations that use all reasonable efforts to recruit, hire, train, promote and serve persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, except where such status is a bona fide qualification for the service being provided and is related to the organization’s mission.

ECLEI grants will not be awarded:

  • To individuals.
  • For sectarian or religious purposes.
  • For political purposes.
  • For debt or deficit reduction.
  • For capital campaigns for buildings or endowment.
selection criteria

ECLEI seeks grantmaking opportunities where the investment of up to $25,000 can make a difference.  In addition to the funding priorities listed above, we will look for the following:

  • Clear organizational mission and vision
  • Strong leadership that is diverse, inclusive, and representative of the community that the organization serves
  • Clear articulation of the opportunity, how funding would be used, and desired impact
  • Ability, expertise, and relationships to accomplish the proposed work and demonstrably improve the health and well-being of Essex County residents, particularly in communities of color that have been historically and structurally under-resourced
application deadline

Proposals must be submitted online by no later than February 15, 2024. Incomplete or late proposals will not be considered.

application procedure

Proposals must be submitted through ECCF’s Application Portal.

If you do not yet have a login for our application Portal, please read our Grant Application Process page which will give you access to the Portal.

review process

ECCF staff, together with the ECCF Grants Allocation Committee, will review all proposals to the Initiative. The Committee takes into consideration a variety of factors when making final grant decisions, including total amount of funds available, demonstration of both need and opportunity as presented in the application. An ECCF staff person or member of the Committee may contact applicants for additional information about a proposal or to arrange a site visit as part of the review process.



February 15, 2024


May 2024


Up to $25,000


Organizations serving residents of Essex County, Massachusetts


Final reports should be submitted through the Application Portal.

nonprofits & grants

get in touch

Carol Lavoie Schuster headshot

Corinne Lippie

Senior Program Officer
(978) 777-8876 x138


how can we help?

We would love to hear from you.

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  1. 175 Andover Street, Suite 101
    Danvers, Massachusetts 01923