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 Musser Fund is likely to make a total of 4 to 6 grants in the Environmental Initiative this year. This is a very competitive granting initiative.


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

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

Note - The planning stage is optional and not a requirement 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. 


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


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


  • Programs in Colorado, Hawaii, Minnesota, Texas (Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, and Starr counties only) and Wyoming may apply


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


Proposals will be available online February 9 through March 9, 2018. Funding decisions will be announced in July of 2018.

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 with the following attachments (see below for inclusions). We suggest you read through the grant inclusions below PRIOR to going to the online application.

The online proposal process will include:

  1. Short Project Overview (2 pages or less) - please use the template in the white box above
  2. Proposal Narrative (please limit your narrative to a total of 5 pages)
  3. Personnel Lists
  4. Budgets (as listed below)
  5. Letters of Support
  6. IRS Status 501(c)(3) Letter or Local Unit of Government Letter

Only complete and qualifying proposals will be accepted.

To apply please click here.

Short Project Overview (2 pages or less - see template above):

  1. Please identify the name, location and critical characteristics of the open space to be pursued by your project.
  2. Explain how the project promotes 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 plan and animal species.
  3. Specifically identify the stakeholders in your project and the contributions (financial or other) they have made toward the project goals.
  4. Briefly explain your plan for long term financial and environmental sustainability of the proposed program.

Please carefully construct this overview, as it is the first information about your project viewed by the Musser Fund. 

Proposal Narrative (5 pages or less):

  1. Background: What is your organization's background? What is your organization's experience in this area?
  2. Environmental Resources in Focus: Please describe the open space for which you are seeking support, including a description of the public entity responsible for maintaining the open space.
  3. Goals and Activities: Describe the overall goal(s) of your program and provide a timeline for implementation of the program goals and activities.  Describe how the program will: 1) Promote public use of the open space described above while improving the community's quality of life and public health, and 2) Ensure the protection of healthy, viable and sustainable ecosystems by protecting or restoring habitat for a diversity of plant and animal species.
  4. Community Involvement & Stakeholder Engagement: Describe the community's involvement in this program.  Describe the key stakeholders and how they will be involved.  (Signed letters of support from key stakeholders are required as described below). 
  5. Project Leaders/Organizational Chart: Identify the leaders of the program and their qualifications and include an organizational chart with your application.
  6. Outcomes & Community Impact: List your project outcomes and the community impact of this project.  Provide a description of your plan for the financial and environmental sustainability of this project.

The Directors of the Laura Jane Musser Fund continue to be interested in the replicability of programs requesting funding.  If you have plans to share your program results, please include them in your proposal.

Personnel Lists:

  • Staff - please include a staff list identifying the organizational leaders and the experience they bring to the organization.
  • 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 involved in your proposed program.
  • Please provide a letter of support from the local government entity that is most closely involved in your program. (This is in addition to the 2-4 community support letters.)
  • Please make sure 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:

  • 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.
  • Project budget - please include expense and revenue detail, also include revenue sources, amounts, 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.  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, indicating awareness of and support of this proposed program.