The projects that are given priority will involve concrete action and clearly defined locations, serve the interests of local communities and have measurable environmental and social impacts.
The Foundation funds a wide range of initiatives but looks for sound projects, regardless of their type. Key factors include:
The project must result in a clear and measurable gain to the environment and community. It must demonstrate the need to intervene in a local or regional environmental issue, while adhering to the objectives and principles of the Foundation. The strategic approach must be convincing and well suited to the target audiences.
A properly planned project that leads to effective action is generally built on:
- a clearly defined issue
- clear objectives
- a simple description of the host environment
- practical solutions adapted to the context
- qualified human resources
- a desire to work in harmony with local environmental and social components
- a realistic, detailed work plan and budget.
A winning approach must enable the community to develop a sense of ownership and bring together partners who are able to support the project over the long term. From this standpoint, the following characteristics are considered assets:
- visible benefits for the entire host community
- a variety of funding sources (especially government programs and other environmental donor organizations)
- participation by volunteers
- strategic ties with the municipality, the RCM and cooperative organizations such as watershed councils, ZIP committees, etc.
A necessary condition of consensus is to avoid conflicts with other existing or planned programs and activities.
The organizations most likely to succeed with their project have a clear, concise mission and objectives. They have strong ties to the community. Their managers are dynamic and highly capable, and their volunteers are dedicated. They have the ability to draw on lessons learned from past accomplishments, which they are advised to mention in their application form.
The project must produce measurable benefits for the environment, as well as the community. Ideally, it should have the potential to generate structuring effects in terms of protecting natural habitats or changing people's behavior. As such, there must be a clearly defined evaluation framework for the project's implementation and desired results. Appropriate means of communication must be planned for disseminating the results and making them accessible to interested groups and the general public.
A good project generally has sustainable effects and must therefore incorporate continuity guarantees, such as planned maintenance of facilities, equipment and any other physical infrastructure. Awareness-raising and educational tools must be reusable and updatable. If the project aims to bring about permanent changes in a natural habitat or a certain type of behavior, every effort must be made to anticipate the sustainable impacts of the desired changes. To evaluate whether the proposed means helped achieve the objectives, success indicators or measurable environmental or social indicators must be defined.
The project schedule must be realistic and suitable for the project objectives and scale. In general, since the Foundation operates on a one-year cycle, the projects it funds usually last twelve months.
The project may, however, be part of a broader plan, since many organizations take a long-term perspective. In this instance, and if the organization so requests, a grant may be awarded for a maximum of two consecutive years, on the condition that it applies to successive phases of the same project.
To provide the Foundation with an overview, the proponent must clearly specify the phases of the project to which the Foundation would contribute and briefly describe previous phases completed and future phases planned. An interim report must be submitted to the Foundation at the end of the first year and the grant for the second year would be conditional on achieving the objectives of the phases completed in Year 1.
The Foundation will not commit to granting funds for all phases of such a project; however, the sustainability of phases funded by the Foundation must be clearly demonstrated, even if the Foundation does not award a grant for subsequent phases at a later date.
Eligible organizations and projects
Any charitable or non-profit organization registered in Canada that can show that its project is not personal or lucrative in nature but serves the interests of the communities involved is eligible for a grant from the Foundation. These conditions apply to projects presented by municipalities, regional county municipalities (MRC) and band councils (see the Grant Agreement section).
Any project that is in line with the Foundation's mission and principles and contributes to the achievement of its objectives is eligible for grants from the Foundation.
A project (or component of a project) must be carried out in Québec to qualify for financial assistance from the Foundation.
From the time the Foundation began operation in 2001 until 2005, it accepted applications for programs that promoted projects dealing primarily with animal and plant species that are at risk, and with habitat acquisition.
Since 2006, the Foundation has put more emphasis on projects that reflect local communities' willingness to undertake the stewardship of the natural environments where they are likely to have an impact.
Projects whose main objective is not strictly environmental may be submitted to the Foundation if they have a significant and relevant environmental component and do not involve any risk for sensitive environmental elements in the area concerned. Only the environmental component will be eligible for grants from the Foundation.
Projects refused and ineligible activities
The Foundation does not accept the following types of projects:
- Projects that enhance general environmental awareness (climate change, pollution, resource overharvesting, greenhouse gases, water quality, energy efficiency, etc.)
- Fund-raising campaigns or any other type of financing or sponsorship projects
- Projects to create or contribute to an endowment fund
- Projects that are solely for embellishment or comfort (e.g., noise or odor barriers)
- Project to reduce air pollution (e.g., car pooling)
- Greening of schoolyards, alleys or community gardens, green roofs or simplification of environmentally friendly horticultural or agricultural practices
- Waste collection, recycling or recovery
- Projects aimed solely at recreation, tourism or the economy, with no environmental component
- Knowledge acquisition, inventories, or feasibility or other exploratory studies
- Experimental, scientific, university or fundamental research or R&D projects or technology demonstrations
- Recurring activities (e.g., clean-up crew, repeated dissemination of a training or awareness program)
- Projects consisting of activities that are already in progress or have been completed
- Creating or updating data banks
- Projects resulting from legal obligations (e.g., environmental impact assessment, decontamination of industrial or commercial sites, dam rehabilitation)
- Projects that interfere with the primary function of Hydro-Québec's facilities
- Direct action to increase wildlife or plant populations for harvesting (e.g., fish stocking) or reintroduce extirpated species. However, if the projects have habitat enhancement, awareness-raising or education components, these components are eligible.
- Museum and interpretation centre projects that are not related to the natural environment or are aimed solely at acquiring, building or developing infrastructure. The Foundation is specifically interested in themes that encourage behavioral change regarding a local environmental issue
- Organization of or attendance at workshops, seminars, conferences, etc.
- Voluntary conservation projects (private stewardship)
- Conservation through land acquisition, except projects that will directly or indirectly protect a habitat that is rich in biodiversity and that are part of a broader conservation and development plan which clearly establishes the various functions and uses for the land acquired
- The uniqueness and sustainability of the site’s conservational role must be clearly demonstrated. The application must include at least one appraisal of the current value of the property, performed by an accredited appraiser (the Foundation reserves the right to request a second appraisal), a precise map of the cadastral lots in question, and, ideally an accepted offer to purchase.
- The Foundation grants a maximum of $100,000 towards all eligible land acquisition costs. The project must also include an "education" or "development" component representing at least 10% of the Foundation’s grant for land acquisition costs. Priority will be given to projects with an educational or public awareness component that explains the conservation issues associated with the acquisition. In principle, the site must also provide for public contact with the environment, according to conditions that ensure its ecological integrity is respected.
The Foundation does not fund the following expenses:
- Annual meetings, rent, maintenance or any other general administration or operating expenses that are not directly related to the project (Internet access, telephone, accounting costs, etc.)
- Activities preliminary to the realization of the various steps in the project itself (feasibility study, methodology, fund-raising, public consultation tour, legal fees, property appraisal, etc.)
- Activities that take place on federal property, except for education or awareness activities and those in aboriginal communities.
- Communication, promotion or marketing activities not specifically related to the project (lobbying, building organization Web sites, etc.)
- Costs associated with legal obligations (property taxes, property transfer duties, etc.)
Frequently asked questions
More on the eligibility and the following types of projects: