Ozark Society Foundation Youth Engagement Grant

Please Note: The OSF Youth Engagement Grant closed submissions for 2021 on October 16, 2021.  Please check back in August 2022 for a new grant cycle.

The Ozark Society Foundation (OSF) is soliciting proposals for a Youth Engagement Grant for local organizations that are working with students in environmental and conservation efforts.  Grants will go to organizations who encourage students to engage environmental awareness and conservation in the Ozark and/or Ouachita region. OSF wants to see projects that start with the community and start with the young people. Funds will range between $1000 and $3000 depending on the scope and needs of the project. Funds may be combined with other sources of funds to increase the size / impact of the project. To apply you must be affiliated with a 501c3 nonprofit or school located in the Ozark and/or Ouachita regions Arkansas, Oklahoma, or Missouri, as well as the Caddo, Bossier, Webster and Claiborne parishes of Louisiana. These funds may not be used for administrative operating expenses, including but not limited to postage, billing, computer software or systems, rentals, paper goods, food/beverages, or social functions. Direct costs, such as paying teaching staff, is permitted only for nonprofits. Projects should actively engage students in conservation efforts that have tangible outcomes. Hands-on learning, service learning, community projects, and advocacy is encouraged while listening to lectures or simply being taken outdoors is not what we will be looking for.

Grant Requirements:

All grant projects should align with the Ozark Society’s mission: Our principal purpose is the preservation of wild and scenic rivers, wilderness, and unique natural areas. A greater understanding of our mission can be gained by researching the Ozark Society at www.ozarksociety.net

All grant projects should engage youth in some way.

Applicants should be associated with a 501c3 organization or an accredited K-12 school (Checks will not be made out to individuals.)

Projects must be located in the Ozark or Ouachita eco-regions of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, or Louisiana.  In Louisiana this specifically applies to the following parishes: Caddo, Bossier, Webster, or Claiborne.

Preferences will go to:

  • New projects that have not received funding from the Ozark Society Foundation before.
  • Projects that include hands-on learning, service projects, and/or tangible outcomes. OSF wants to see active engagement, not passive learning.
  • Nonprofits who have experienced an interruption to their revenue stream due to the pandemic
  • Small nonprofits with under 25 full-time employees or an annual budget of less than $500,000
  • Organizations with a mission that is based in the Ozark or Ouachita eco-regions,  in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, or in the Caddo, Bossier, Webster and Claiborne parishes of Louisiana
  • Organizations that are NOT funded by county, state, or federal government
  • Projects that engage students in lasting conservation efforts that will have long term outcomes
  • Projects that serve marginalized communities, low income families, communities of color, and diverse ethnic groups.

Areas of Focus: (grants are not limited to these areas of focus but we are interested in funding these types of projects, especially the first 5 on this list)

  • Preservation of Wild Spaces
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Water Quality
  • Native Plants
  • Enhancing Access to Nature
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Community Gardens
  • Sustainability-Focused Community Art

Who OSF will not fund:

  • Direct grants to individuals
  • Political campaigns, events, or lobbying activities
  • Projects serving religious purposes
  • Any use not specified in the grant proposal and budget
  • Organizations or schools who are not in the region local to the Ozarks or Ouachitas
  • International organizations based outside the United States
  • Schools colleges with specific projects and educational organizations
  • Organizations that are fully funded by county, state, or federal tax dollars

 Timeline:       

  • Applications open: Monday August 23
  • Deadline for applications is midnight on Saturday October 16
  • Award notification announced: Monday November 29
  • Funds will be distributed in early December 2021
  • Grant checks must be deposited by December 30, 2021
  • Final grant reports will be due by Monday November 28, 2022

Application Requirements:

Application must be filled out and submitted by the deadline.

Applications should be submitted through Google Forms (you do not need a Google account to fill out the form)

Questions can be emailed to the head of the OSF student engagement committee at:  youthgrants@ozarksociety.net

Application contains these fields:

  • Name and address of organization or school
  • Tax exempt ID number (if applicable)
  • Contact name, email, phone number
  • Student-led projects will also need a teacher or sponsor with name, email, phone number listed.
  • Project name
  •  Area of focus
  •  Project date range
  • Number of students who will be engaged
  •  Age range of students
  • Demographic or ethnic diversity of the students who will be engaged
  •  Amount requested
  • Program Summary: Describe your existing program and its general purpose.
  • Project Summary: Describe the proposed project and its need based purpose.
  • Goals and Objectives: Both your short-term plan and long term outcomes
  • Student Engagement: As it pertains to both the outputs and outcome
  • Continuation: How the project will continue after the grant money is gone.
  • Budget Summary: Provide a short summary of how the funds will be used
  • Evaluation and Impact: Explain the lasting impact of the project and how success will be evaluated
  • An attached budget (see budget example)
  • Signature

Reporting:

Projects can take place during the 2021 – 2022 school year and/or during the summer of 2022.  Within 60 days of the completion of the project, the grant report should be submitted for review and approval.

Reports will be due November 28, 2022and should include:

  •  An impact report that describes the scope of the project
  •  A description of how the objectives of the grant were achieved
  •  A budget report detailing how the funds were used
  •  Did you face any challenges in connection with this project?  If so, how did you    address these challenges?
  •  Description of how the Ozark Society Foundation was recognized
  •  At least one photograph of the project in action
  •  At least one example of students’ work or engagement

If the grant requirements were not met and the report does not show that the funds were used as the grant outlines, the Ozark Society Foundation may ask for a partial or full reimbursement of the grant funds. 

Links to Apply:

Click HERE to view the budget example

Click HERE TO APPLY for the grant through Google Forms (you do not need a Google account to apply) 

Tip: it is best to write the grant in a document that can be saved and then copy and paste into the form.

Helpful Definitions:

  • Goal: Overall aim the project will help achieve, which may be longer-term and extend beyond this grant.
  • Objectives: Specific, measurable implementation steps within the grant period that will help realize the goal.
  • Outcomes: The quantitative or qualitative change that you expect to happen as a result of the grant.
  • Outputs: Direct and short-term results of activities which are necessary but not sufficient to produce the targeted outcomes.
  • Sustainability: The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
  • Conservation: The careful utilization of a natural resource  in order to  preserve and protect them through prudent management.