DDCSP Alumni Network Mini Grants  

Our first cycle of Mini Grants was a huge success. We were able  to help fund some great projects. You can read more about the Cycle 1 projects here. Cycle 2 of our Mini Grants program is bigger than ever! We want to give more money to more alumni!

Overview and Purpose

Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program (DDCSP) Alumni have already developed projects benefitting their communities in the Alumni Network. Scholars have asked that more funds be set aside to continue to uplift these initiatives.

In response, the DDCSP Alumni Council established the Mini Grants Program to support alumni with projects designed to strengthen the DDCSP alumni community. We support projects that encourage cross-program collaboration, foster connection among conservation and environmental professionals, enhance alumni leadership capacity, and promote innovative, equity-based solutions to systemic environmental challenges.

This Mini Grants Fund seeks to amplify the creativity, expertise, and leadership that is existent within the DDCSP community. Our mission is to uplift the environmental goals of DDCSP alumni while also providing young professionals the tools and leadership skills to address society’s most pressing environmental challenges. We believe that the DDCSP alumni network will serve as a crucial foundation for scholars as they navigate a range of environmental professions. The projects stemming from the DDCSP Mini Grants will spark dialogue and community building across the DDCSP network by enhancing connections and collaboration amongst DDCSP alumni. Examples of projects that may be supported through this fund include, but are not limited to the following formats:

  • Nature: Want to get your hands dirty? 🪴

    • Create a community garden with another DDCSPer.

    • Start a seed exchange with other DDCSPers.

  • Research: Not getting enough homework? 😉

    • Fund your conservation research project and share it with the network

    • Present your work at a conference like New Horizons in Conservation

  • Creative: Are you an artist, writer, or generally creative and crafty? 🎨

    • Make your art and share (via social media or IRL) it with the DDCSP network! 

    • Create a DDCSP zine

    • Create video or photography content for the DDCSP blog, website, or social media pages

    • Work on your podcast, show, social media account, zine etc. about conservation themes/ topics

For more inspiration, you can read more about what folks did in Cycle 1 here.

Examples of projects that may be considered ineligible for funding include: 

  • Any project that does not engage members of the DDCSP network in some capacity.
  • Any project that provides only personal benefit and does not involve or engage others in the DDCSP community (i.e. scholarships, etc.)
  • Any project that does not align with any of the values of DDCSP (conservation, environmental justice, racial justice, community building, etc.)
  • Lobbying for specific legislation. See IRS description here 

Grant Amounts

You may apply for as little as $1,000 and as much as $10,000. These grants provide a short term, one-time funding.  Therefore, applicants are highly encouraged to have a clear timeline and plan on how to spend the funds if awarded. Due to the nature of the funding, projects that require recurring or long term funding will not be considered. Projects themselves can be ongoing, however final reporting on budget and project outcomes are due by October 2023.

Grants will be distributed in Early March. If awardees are not able to receive checks as the format of funding, please contact ddcspgrants@elpnet.org. Upon receiving the mini-grant funding, awardees will be provided with a form to track expenses that will be required along with progress reports over the course of the mini-grant period.

Selection Process

Voting will be open to all DDCSP alumni in January 2023. These votes will be used as recommendations to the Alumni Council who will collectively make the final decisions and notify grant recipients in February. The Alumni Council will be using a rubric to select recipients that includes:

  • Background, Impact, and Significance - Does it align with the Mini Grants purpose? Does the applicant explain the purpose and goals of the project well? Does this project involve the wider DDCSP community?

  • Approach and Timeline - Does the applicant provide a clear and realistic timeline (both for funding expenses and project advancement)? Is the project realistic and feasible to complete within the Mini Grants timeframe (March-October 2023)?

  • Budget and Justification - Does the applicant provide clear and valid reasoning for budget expenses? Are their expenses necessary/appropriate for their project? Does the applicant include cost effective options?

  • Accountability and Growth - Does the applicant display a strong sense of accountability? Does the applicant reference clear deadlines for their project? Does the applicant demonstrate how the project will help them grow/accomplish their goals?

  • Alumni Council Votes - What degree of interest does the DDCSP Alumni Network have in this project?

Timeline

12/20/22 - Applications Open for Mini Grants Cycle 2!

12/21/22 - Q&A Session with Alumni Council Members 

1/9/23 - Q&A Session with Alumni Council Members

2/6 - Application Closes**

2/13-2/27 - Voting Window for All Alumni

2/28 - Review & Selection by Alumni Council Begins

3/6 - Grantee Notification

Early March 2023 - Awards Distributed

TBD - Onboarding Q&A for grantees 

June 2023 - Midway Check-in Point

October 2023- Funds Spent/Final Lessons Shared

**In the event that we receive 20 applications, we will end the application period early and accept no additional applications. This is to ensure that DDCSP alumni can give enough thorough attention to voting on their favorite project proposals.**

FAQ HERE