By Ariel Rivers
Many individuals connected to the NACD community carry a passion for the work of the conservation districts across the country, and they show this passion through their donations to the Friends of NACD program.
Friends of NACD provides an opportunity for individuals to donate to the work NACD conducts in support of the districts. As of this fall, funds raised through the program will support four grants of $2,500 to member districts. Districts may view the complete request for proposals on the Friends of NACD webpage and submit applications online prior to the Jan. 15, 2020 deadline.
Both Friends of NACD and the new grant program are managed by NACD’s District Operations and Member Services (DOMS) Committee, which works to improve the connectivity between the local districts, state associations and national organization by providing resources that assist in the daily operations of a conservation district. The committee views this new grant program as an opportunity for districts to creatively build new capacities.
While the grants may be comparably smaller than other opportunities NACD offers, these grants may provide districts with unrestricted opportunities to address their needs for new outreach programs, board training or other projects that may grow their portfolio related to natural resource conservation. Districts who apply are encouraged to think creatively in how these grants may provide new opportunities to expand partnerships and programmatic capacity.
Kim LaFleur, chairwoman of the DOMS Committee, led the efforts to restructure the Friends of NACD program and is a huge proponent for small district grants.
“There is no shortage of great ideas among district officials and staff,” LaFleur said. “One of the stumbling blocks, however, can be the funds to start a new initiative. The Friends of NACD District Grant program will provide seed money to enhance the mission not only of a local district, but NACD as well. It will give a unique opportunity for members of the conservation family and beyond to provide financial support to local districts in a new and creative way.”