Environmental Initiative Program

THE LAURA JANE MUSSER FUND assists public or not-for-profit entities to initiate or implement projects that enhance the ecological integrity of publicly owned open spaces, while encouraging compatible human activities. 

The Fund's goal is to promote public use of open space that improves a community's quality of life and public health, while also ensuring the protection of healthy, viable and sustainable ecosystems by protecting or restoring habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species.

The Laura Jane Musser Fund encourages the use of a community-based approach with broad and active local stakeholder participation in both planning and implementation stages of projects concerning the environmental preservation and sustainable use of public open spaces.  It has been our experience that projects designed through this process have a greater chance of acceptance and lasting success.

The Musser Fund is likely to make a total of 5 to 7 grants in the Environmental Initiative this year. This is a very competitive granting initiative.


Planning (Up to $8,000), or Implementation (Up to $35,000)

Planning Grant Requests: Planning grant applications must demonstrate commitment to a broad-based, active community process for the design and use of local publicly-owned open spaces.

Note - The planning stage is optional and not a required phase prior to applying for or receiving an implementation grant.  If an organization receives a planning grant from the Musser Fund, this in no way implies a commitment on the part of the Musser Fund to provide the organization with any subsequent implementation grant. 

Implementation Grant Requests: Implementation grant applications must demonstrate clear evidence of local community active participation and support.

Eligibility: Projects will be eligible for either planning or implementation funds during any one grant period.


  • A clear stakeholder involvement and contribution plan
  • A plan for the long term financial and environmental sustainability of the proposed program


  • Building or repair of parking lots, driveways, or other facilities for auto use.
  • Designing, constructing or repairing buildings located in public open spaces.
  • Farms, community gardens, or botanical gardens. 
  • Projects wholly focused on preserving or improving the health of bodies of water.
  • Projects requesting funds for land acquisition costs.
  • Advocacy


  • Only programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Wyoming, and limited counties in New York and Texas may apply. Eligible counties in New York include: Delaware, Greene, Otsego, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster. Eligible counties in Texas are located in the Rio Grande River Valley (Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, and Willacy counties), Deep East Texas (Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, and Tyler counties), and the Brazos Valley (Brazos, Burleson, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Robertson, and Washington counties).


  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations
  • Local units of government




NOTE: In order to accommodate disruptions as a result of COVID-19, the grant deadline for the Environmental Initiative has been extended by 1 week. The new deadline is updated below.

The online application will be available February 18 through March 25, 2020. Funding decisions will be announced in July of 2020.

The Laura Jane Musser Fund requires all of its grantees to provide evidence, through current policies or acknowledgement, of their anti-discrimination policies or practices.

Please construct your application carefully. We suggest you read through the questions and grant inclusions below PRIOR to going to the online application.

Only complete and qualifying proposals will be accepted.

To apply please click here.

Online Narrative Section:

  1. Organizational Background: Describe your organization's background, including specific experience the organization has in this area. (Character limit: 750)
  2. Open Space Overview: Please identify the name and location of the open space for which you are seeking support. (Character limit: 750)
  3. Open Space Characteristics: Describe the open space for which you are seeking support, including critical characteristics. (Character limit: 750)
  4. Responsible Public Entity: Please identify and provide a description of the public entity responsible for maintaining the open space. (Character limit: 500)
  5. Goals: Describe the overall goal(s) of the project. (Character limit: 2,000)
  6. Activities and Timeline: Describe the specific activities planned to reach your goals. Provide the timeline for the project activities that includes the schedule and completion date for the project. (Please note that the project must be completed within 12 months of the grant award.) (Character limit: 2,000)
  7. Utilization of Grant: Describe specifically how a grant from the Musser Fund would be used. (Note: Specific line items allocations for Musser grant funds should be included in the project budget attachment.) (Character limit: 1,000)
  8. Promoting Use of Open Space: Provide an overview of how the project will promote public use of the open space while improving the community's quality of life and public health. Additionally, describe the specific expected project outcomes and the anticipated community impact of this project. (Character limit: 1,500)
  9. Protection of Sustainable Ecosystems: Provide an overview of how the project will ensure the protection of healthy, viable and sustainable ecosystems by protecting or restoring habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species. Additionally, describe the specific expected project outcomes and the anticipated ecosystem impact of this project. (Character limit: 1,500)
  10. Community Engagement: Identify the community members and key stakeholders actively involved in this project and describe how they are engaged in the project. (Planning projects must demonstrate commitment to a broad-based, active community process for the design and use of local publicly-owned open space. Implementation projects must demonstrate clear evidence of local community active participation and support.) (Character limit: 1,500)
  11. Stakeholder Involvement: Identify the contributions (financial or other) key stakeholders are making toward the project goals. (Note that signed letters of support from key stakeholders are required in the attachments section.) (Character limit: 1,500)
  12. Project Leaders: Identify the leaders of the project and their qualifications. (An organizational chart must be uploaded in the attachments section.) (Character limit: 1,000)
  13. Sustainability: Explain your plan for long-term financial and environmental sustainability of the proposed project. (Character limit: 1,000)
  14. Replicability: Please describe any plans for replicating your project or sharing your outcomes. (Character limit: 750)
  15. Previous Grant Update (if applicable): If you have received a Musser grant in the past year, please provide a brief update on the grant. (Character limit: 1,500)
  16. Diversity Component: Please provide a description of any diversity component of your proposed project. (Character limit: 600)
  17. Anti-discrimintation: Please indicate whether your organization has anti-discrimination practices or policies.


Personnel Lists:

  • Staff - please include a staff list identifying the organizational leaders and the experience they bring to the organization.
  • Organizational Chart - please include an organizational chart.
  • Board of Directors - please include a list of the members of the Board of Directors, their affiliations and their terms.

Letters of Support: 

  • Please include letters of support from at least two (but not more than four) community members and institutions outlining their involvement in your project. These letters should not be from individuals who are paid or unpaid staff, contractors, or Board members of the organization.
  • Please include a letter of support from the local government entity that is most closely involved with your project. (This is in addition to the 2-4 community letters of support.)
  • Please ensure the letters are signed, and when appropriate, on letterhead. The Fund is only able to consider letters that are attached to the proposal when it is submitted.

Map and Plans:

  • Please include a map of the "open space" site as it relates to your community.
  • Please provide any plans for the "open space" site, if applicable.


The following budget attachments must be submitted as pdfs:

  • Project budget - please include expense and revenue detail, also include revenue sources, amounts, and what is secured and what is pending. 
  • Organizational budgets (or if a public entity, departmental budgets) - for the previous year and for the current year. For the previous year, please submit your actual budget expenses and revenue detail. For the current year, please submit a year-to-date budget that includes expense and revenue detail revenue sources, and what is secured and what is pending.
  • Balance sheet or 990 - Please upload your organization's balance sheet from the most recent complete year. If your organization does not create a balance sheet, please upload your organization's most recent 990 tax form.

Anti-discrimination Policy:

  • If your organization has a written anti-discrimination policy, please provide it.

IRS Status or Local Unit of Government Letter:

  • Please include a copy of your 501(c)(3) letter from the IRS. If you are a unit of local government, please provide a detailed letter of endorsement for the project on agency letterhead, signed by a head officer of your unit of government. Please ensure that the letter indicates awareness of and support of the proposed activities and is addressed to the Laura Jane Musser Fund.


If there is other information you feel would be helpful in reviewing your proposal, you may enter or upload it in the proposal. If you submit a supporting document, please explain why you have chosen to include it in your application.