LHCL 2019 Mini-Grant Program: Instructions & Guidelines

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


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 2019 Laurel Highlands Conservation Landscape Mini-Grant Program.

This program will provide mini-grants of $1,000 to $5,000 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 2019 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. Grantees can receive reimbursement distributions when incurred and must submit a mid-grant progress report and final progress report.


Important Dates:
  • Grant Round Opens: January 15, 2019
  • Application Deadline: February 21, 2019
  • Award recipients notified: week of April 8, 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 and heritage tourism. Mini-Grant projects should advance these goals.

  • Trails: Promote and support continued development of the trails network to enhance recreation, livability, economic growth, and healthy lifestyles within the LHCL.
  • Land Conservation: Encourage land conservation through strategic assessment and collaboration with diverse partners in the conservation landscape. 
  • Water Conservation: Work to protect and conserve resources for potable water, recreation, and ecosystem sustainability.
  • Tourism and Outdoor Recreation: 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: Address infrastructure needs of parks, forests, trails and amenities that support outdoor recreation and heritage tourism.
  • Communications: Tell the story of the Landscape to build partnerships and collaboration. For example: 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.


Total Points available = 100

Bonus points for “wow factor” (exceptional creativity, concept, partnership, etc.) = 5

Project Scope
  • Well-defined project (25 points)
  • Well-defined work plan (10 points)
  • Scope is achievable in time-frame (5  points)


Goals and Outcomes
  • Project advances goals of LHCL (see application for stated goals). Points based on quality of project as it relates to one or more goals, not on the number of goals it supports. (20 points)


Integration with existing plans
  • Project reflects initiatives of local, county and/or state plan(s) and is well-documented (10 points)


  • Budget is complete and provides a minimum of a 1-to-1 matching ratio (10 points)
  • Local match is secured and documented (5 points)
  • Budget is adequate to achieve goals and complete scope of work (5 points)


  • Letters from all partners included in application (5 points)
  • ADA compliant if relevant (5 points)


WOW factor
  • Project is exceptional in its creativity, range of partners, value to community, financing or other outstanding feature(s). (5 points)

Application Submission

  • The application must be submitted electronically via the PEC website: pecpa.org/LHCLmini.
    It is not necessary to complete the entire application in a single session; you may save your progress and return later to complete the application. However, please note: unlike text entered in form fields, document uploads cannot be saved between sessions. Documents should be uploaded at the time of submission.
  • Application narratives should be clear and concise.
  • All required supporting documents should be attached as either WORD or PDF documents and should be identified as your application’s documents.


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 21, 2019
  • For non-profit applicants: provide current proof of IRS 501(c)3 non-profit status and registration with the PA Bureau of Charitable Organizations. If you are not able to provide this documentation, a qualifying entity must serve as your fiscal agent.
  • 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
  • Is well-conceived and planned
  • Identifies and secures required match
  • Develops a realistic budget
  • Demonstrates that project will have measurable outcomes


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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