LHCL 2018 Mini-Grant Program: Instructions & Guidelines

Content Includes:
  • General Information
  • Eligibility
  • Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Program Goals
  • Application Submission Process
  • Application Review Process
  • 2018 Mini Grant Application


General Information

The LHCL mini-grant program is a reimbursement-funding program through the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape, which is funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources through DCNR’s Environmental Stewardship Fund administered by the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation and administered by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC).

PEC was awarded a total of $50,000 from the DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Program Environmental Stewardship Fund administered by the Bureau of Recreation and Conservation (BRC) for the 2018 Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Mini-Grant Program.

This program will provide mini-grants of $1,000 to $10,000 to projects that support and advance the goals and objectives of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape. All projects, related costs and funding must conform to the guidelines of the PA DCNR Community Conservation Partnership Program: www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/grants/index.aspx

Mini-Grants require a 1:1 local match in the form of cash and/or eligible non-cash (in-kind) services.

  • No portion of the cash match can originate from DCNR funding.
  • In-kind match – the value of municipal labor and/or professional services is equal to the hourly billable rate multiplied by the number of hours performing that service or job. The value of volunteer in-kind will be valued at the current Independent Sector Volunteer Rate for Pennsylvania at the time the work was performed please visit http://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time for current volunteer value.
  • Applicants must provide proof of match commitment.

The LHCL 2018 Mini-Grant Program is a reimbursement-funding program. Costs should be described in the budget and will be paid only to the extent that they are incurred by the Grantee in performance of the Project’s Scope of Work. Awardees can receive reimbursement distributions when incurred and must submit a mid-grant progress report and final progress report.


Important Dates:
  • Grant Round Opens: January 17, 2018
  • Application Deadline: February 23, 2018
  • Grant Awards Announced: March 23,2018
  • Contracts executed/Mini-Grant Kick-off Event at Landscape Gathering: April 17, 2018
  • Projects Begin: May 1, 2018
  • Project Completion: May 31, 2019
  • Mini-Grant Wrap-Up Meeting: August 2019


Contact: Marla Meyer Papernick



Who is eligible?

Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations with tax-exempt status 501(c)(3), municipalities, counties and educational institutions.

Non-profit organizations must submit proof of non-profit status and be registered with the PA Department of State Bureau of Charitable Organizations.

What kind of project is eligible?

Eligible projects should advance the goals of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape.

All projects must be located within the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape which includes Cambria, Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties.

Goals & Objectives

Mini-Grant projects should complement the mission and goals of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape which is to foster conservation and stewardship of the natural and man-built environments while promoting sustainable economic development through outdoor recreation. The Landscape has an organizational framework that is based on five topical committees, each with a stated goal. Mini-Grant projects should advance these goals.

  • Trail Committee: Promote and support continued development of the trails network to enhance recreation, livability, economic growth, and healthy lifestyles within the LHCL.
  • Land Conservation Committee: Encourage land conservation through strategic assessment and collaboration with diverse partners in the conservation landscape. 
  • Water Conservation Committee: Work to the protect and conserve water resources for potable water, recreation, and ecosystem sustainability.
  • Tourism Committee: Expand the connections between the built and natural amenities in the landscape. Engage community leaders, business investors, tourism professionals, and residents to capitalize on those connections, to promote, enhance, and conserve local natural, cultural, and outdoor recreational resources while encouraging economic development.
  • Infrastructure Committee: Address infrastructure needs of parks, forests, trails and amenities that support outdoor recreation.
  • Share the Story of the Landscape: Tell the story of the Landscape to build partnerships and collaboration. Create a story map, develop print and/or on-line communication pieces to promote work within the landscape or to build understanding of the value of outdoor recreation and natural resources to quality of life and the economy.

Application Submission

  • The application can be submitted online or downloaded from the PEC website: pecpa.org/LHCLmini.
  • Application narratives should be clear and concise.
  • The application can be submitted electronically or by mail.
  • All required supporting documents should be attached as either WORD or PDF documents and should be identified as your application’s documents.


  • Web applications submissions:
  • Email application submissions:
    • Electronic applications, with any supporting documents, must be received by 4:00 p.m., February 23, 2018. Subject Line should read “2018 LHCL Mini Grant Application.”
    • Email applications to Marla Meyer Papernick, mpapernick@pecpa.org.
    • All applicants will receive an email confirmation of receipt of application. If you do not receive this email – you need to contact us by phone at 412.481.9400 to ensure that your application was received and will be considered.
  • Mail, ship or hand delivery:
    • If you are unable to submit the application electronically, the completed application and required documents may be mailed, shipped, or hand delivered in enough time for the application to be received at the PEC office, Pennsylvania Environmental Council, 2124 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222 no later than 4:00 p.m., February 23, 2018.
    • Mailed, shipped or hand delivered applications received after this date and time will not be considered.


Applicant Responsibility:
  • Identify projects that support the goals and objectives of the Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape.
  • Secure local match at a minimum ratio of 1:1 (can be cash and/or in-kind services).
  • Provide letters of commitment from partners providing local match; letters should describe the type of program assistance, match amount and how that partner is contributing to the success of the project.
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete project on time and within budget.
  • Submit application on time – by 4:00 pm on February 23, 2018
  • For non-profit applicants: provide current proof of IRS 501(c)3 non-profit status and registration with the PA Bureau of Charitable Organizations.
  • Successful applicants will be required to enter into a mini grant agreement with PEC. All mini grant agreements will also require compliance with DCNR grant requirements.

Application Review

Applications will be ranked by a review committee composed of LHCL Steering Committee members. Applicants will be ranked based on how well the project:

  • Supports and advances the goals and objectives of the LHCL
  • Promotes partner collaboration
  • Identifies and secures required match
  • Develops a realistic budget
  • Demonstrates that project will have measurable outcomes and be successful


  1. Applicant Information (not scored)
  2. Project Details
    1. Project Description, Scope of Work and Timeline: Does project have the capacity and capability to be successful and to complete all described activities within the grant timeline? (15 points)
    2. Partners & Collaboration: Does project involve collaboration with other partners: municipalities, non‐profits, watershed groups, agencies, businesses and/or health organizations, etc.? (5 points)
    3. Integration: Is this project consistent with state and/or local planning priorities? (5 points)
  3. Goals, Outcomes & Activities, and Timeline: Do the project goals, outcomes and activities support and advance the goals of the LHCL? (10 points)
  4. Budget
    1. Budget Details: Does budget realistically reflect the true cost of the project? (10 points)
    2. Local Match: Is local match secured and documented? (5 points)

Total Possible Score: 50

The review committee reserves the right to request additional proposal information if they feel such information is crucial to the ranking process.

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