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NiSource Charitable Foundation Fund for Merrimack Valley
2022-2023 cycle will open Oct 15, 2022
See Timeline section below for Info Webinar recordings as well as zoom link for upcoming Grantwriting workshop on November 30
To demonstrate a collaborative and sustainable investment in the region, in 2020 NiSource established the NiSource Charitable Foundation Fund for Merrimack Valley (“the Fund”), a Field of Interest Fund at Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF).
This responsive grantmaking program invites nonprofits to apply for grants between $25,000-200,000 in support of the core areas of Basic Needs & Hardship Assistance, Economic & Workforce Development, Safety, STEM and Energy Education and Environmental Stewardship (see specific definitions below).
New in 2022-2023:
For the 2022-2023 grant cycle, the Fund process will adapt in the following ways:
- Applicants may now apply for general operating support OR for new or ongoing programs as in years past. Advisors wish to listen
- Applicants may now apply for multi-year funding of up to three years. The grant between $25,000-200,000 would be spread over the period of time.
- While the core five areas above remain the focus, the Advisors wish to highlight economic inclusion, racial and gender equity and environmental justice.
- Applicants will be asked to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) ONLY. Fund Advisors will review LOI’s in the winter of 2022 – 2023 and expect to invite a narrowed field to participate in virtual site visits in February 2023. Site visits will be conducted and reviewed over the winter and final determinations are expected to be made by the end of May 2023.
- In support of the community and acknowledge the need for inclusive capacity support, the Fund will offer free grantwriting courses over the fall of 2022 to any organization that is qualified to apply to the Fund.
Applications are welcome from:
- 501(c)(3) organizations*
- Collaborations of two or more 501(c)(3) organizations
- Note: New in 2021-2022, Municipalities of City of Lawrence, Town of Andover and Town of North Andover are allowed as sub-partner or collaborator but not as lead applicant.
* Preference will be given to applications/nonprofit organizations based in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover. However, applicants based outside of the area will be allowed on two conditions:
1) If the nonprofit applicant is based outside of the three communities, they must demonstrate a successful history of working within those three communities
2) If the nonprofit is based outside of the region and has yet to work within these three communities, applications will only be considered if they can demonstrate an innovative solution to an unmet need that will positively impact the people and places of the three communities in the Merrimack Valley.
Individual programs as well as cross-sector/cross-organization collaborations are all encouraged to apply.
Municipalities may apply as a sub-grantee as part of such a cross-sector/cross-organization collaboration.
As noted above, grant requests may either focus on general operating support OR for existing programs that address continued need, or new programs or collaborative efforts in the following areas and sub-categories below. Applicants may also apply for multi-year funding of up to three years. Also as noted above, while the core five areas above remain the focus, the Advisors wish to highlight economic inclusion, racial and gender equity, and environmental justice. Core areas are:
- Basic Needs & Hardship Assistance: Food, Shelter, Social Determinants of Health Service and Mental Health
- Economic & Workforce Development: Retention and Attraction of Job Opportunities; Energy Infrastructure; Community Vitality
- Environmental Stewardship: Protection and Restoration of Natural Resources, Energy Conservation and Environmental Education
- Safety: Emergency Assistance & Disaster Preparedness, First Aid, Safety Education & Energy Safety
- STEM and Energy Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Energy Education
Each application is eligible to apply for a grant between $25,000-200,000. These grants may be spread over three years.
A Fund Advisory Committee of local leaders from all three communities has been assembled to review applications. In addition to the funding priorities listed above, grant reviewers also look for the following:
- Clearly defined objectives that will positively impact the people and places of the three communities
- The potential impact of the proposed work on the population served
- Quality of programming
- Management staff with considerable administrative experience
- Fiscally sound programs/organizations with balanced budgets
Grants will not be awarded:
- Directly to individuals
- For sectarian or religious purposes. Note: NiSource Charitable Foundation Fund for Merrimack Valley is limited to non-sectarian programming for residents of all religious and ethnic backgrounds. Programs sponsored by religious organizations are eligible, if service is open to all and the program is free of mandatory religious instruction, worship, or other sectarian activities.
- For political purposes
- For debt or deficit reduction
- For capital campaigns such as buildings, land acquisition, vehicles or endowment
- Supporting academic research
ECCF will conduct two information webinars about the 2022-2023 cycle in November 2022.
Topic: NiSource Charitable Foundation Fund for MV – 2022/2023 Info Session #1
Tuesday November 8, 2022. 12 – 1 PM
PowerPoint: November 8 2022 NFFMV PowerPoint for InfoWebinar
Zoom Recording: November 8 2022 NCFFMV RECORDING InfoWebinar Passcode: Ng9fK^%n
Topic: NiSource Charitable Foundation Fund for MV – 2022/2023 Info Session #2
Thursday November 10, 2022. 12 – 1 PM
PowerPoint: November 10 2022 NCFFMV PowerPoint for InfoWebinar
Zoom Recording: November 10 2022 NCFFMV RECORDING InfoWebinar Passcode: a*rM8?+P
Join NCFFMV and ECCF for a free grantwriting webinar. This webinar is open to any qualified grantee of NCFFMV (see guidelines) and an effort to acknowledge and support our grantees throughout the application process.
Date: Wednesday November 30, 2022
Time: 2 – 3 PM
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
LOI’s must be submitted online by no later than December 15 at 5 PM. Late LOI’s will not be accepted.
Upon review of LOI’s, the Advisors will invite a narrowed list of agencies to virtual site visits by the beginning of February 2023.
The goal of the Fund is to make final determinations by the end of May 2023; however, the Fund reserves the right to revise the timetable should it be necessary.
LOI’s must be submitted through ECCF’s Application Portal. See link below.
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.
The Advisors Committee of the NiSource Charitable Foundation for Merrimack Valley is comprised of local business, and community leaders, three NiSource and one Eversource representative. With the support of ECCF, the Advisors review proposals to the Fund. The Advisors make grant recommendations to the ECCF Board of Trustees for approval. Our goal is to notify applicants of grant decisions by mid-the end of May 2023, however the Fund reserves the right to revise the timetable should it be necessary.
Proposals that do not meet deadlines or guidelines will be screened out by the ECCF staff (per guidance from the Fund Advisors) and receive early notification.
An ECCF staff person may contact applicants for additional information about a proposal or to schedule a site visit during the review process. The staff may also contact other funders, community leaders, or other local agencies to learn more about the organization applying for funds and to discuss the outlined plans. Copies of proposals submitted to ECCF may be shared with others during the review process.
As part of the review process, agencies that move into final review round will be asked to conduct a virtual site visit with Fund Advisors. An ECCF staff person will reach out to you directly to organize these presentations should your LOI make it through the first round of reviews.
Grantees of the NiSource Charitable Foundation Fund for Merrimack Valley must submit an interim (dependent on grant duration) and a final report at the close of the grant.
For more information or to discuss a project or program idea, please contact:
Carol Lavoie Schuster
Vice President for Programs and Nonprofit Services
Essex County Community Foundation
175 Andover Street, Suite 101, Danvers, MA 01923
cell: 617-308-2722 (only between business hours)
2022 IMPORTANT DATES
2022-2023 cycle will open Oct 15, 2022
VIRTUAL INFO SESSIONS
Tuesday November 8, 2022, 12 PM
Thursday November 10, 2022, 12 PM
See Timeline in Guidelines for Zoom links. No registration required.
Dec 15, 2022
SITE VISIT INVITATIONS
Early February 2023
GRANTS AWARDED BY
End of May 2023
$25,000 – $200,000
Preference will be given to organizations based in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover. However, applicants based outside of the area will be allowed on two conditions (more detail can be found in eligibility section.)
FINAL REPORT FORMS
Final reports should be submitted through the Application Portal.
get in touch
Carol Lavoie Schuster
Vice President for Grants, Nonprofit & Donor Services
(978) 777-8876 x133
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