Request for Proposals – Deadline Extended!

Hemlock Restoration Initiative Overview

The Hemlock Restoration Initiative (HRI) is a cooperative effort launched by Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler and the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services through a grant to WNC Communities. The overall goal of the Hemlock Restoration Initiative is to restore hemlocks to long-term health throughout North Carolina. More specifically, our shared goal is to work with and through current restoration initiatives to ensure that Eastern and Carolina hemlocks can resist the deadly hemlock woolly adelgid and survive to maturity on North Carolina’s public and private lands by 2025.

Award Program Overview

The HRI currently has $70,000 available to award in 2015 to support and advance the most promising hemlock restoration ideas. These awards will provide immediate financial support for these efforts, while also helping to increase public awareness for these initiatives, and hopefully, therefore, increase support from other funders. Funding to continue this award program in 2016 and future years is possible, but not yet confirmed.

WNC Communities has established an Advisory Committee to develop and distribute the Request for Proposals (RFP), evaluate and rank proposals, recommend awards and award amounts, and evaluate and report on results. The WNC Communities’ Board of Directors will have final approval of all awards. Decisions are final and not subject to appeal.

We anticipate making a total of three to five awards of $10,000 to $25,000 each. The Advisory Committee and WNC Communities reserve the right to change the award amounts as appropriate. Proposals are due Monday, August 3, 2015. Funding decisions will be made before the end of August 2015 to fund activities taking place on or after September 1, 2015. All award funds should be spent by August 31, 2016.

Activities of Interest for the Award Program

The list below summarizes some of the key areas of research, treatment, program development, and community engagement that might help restore hemlocks to long-term health. This list is not meant to be exhaustive or restrictive; the HRI Advisory Committee will consider any approaches that show real promise of helping to restore hemlocks to long-term health on North Carolina’s public and private lands.

  • Natural resistance/tolerance
  • Chemical control/treatment
  • Biological control/treatment (e.g., fungal pathogens, predator beetles)
  • Breeding for resistance
  • Policy issues
  • Community technical assistance, public education, public outreach, and/or engagement
  • Logistics and protocols of implementing solutions on a wide scale
  • Integration of two more approaches listed above.

Geographic Restriction

The work funded by the HRI in this awards cycle must occur in and benefit hemlock restoration efforts in Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, and/or Yancey counties in North Carolina. Proposed projects with a wide geographic impact will be preferred over those benefiting a smaller area.

Eligible Applicants

In order to be considered, applications must satisfy the following criteria and expectations:

  • Applications must be submitted by a North-Carolina-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, private or public college or university, or state or local government agency.
    • Organizations must have been in existence for at least 12 months prior to submission date.
  • Collaborative efforts are encouraged and may include for-profit entities; however, the activity must clearly benefit the mission of the non-profit, college/university, or public agency, which will direct, report, and serve as the fiscal agent.
  • Applicants may request between $10,000 and $25,000. Any exceptions are at the
    discretion of the HRI Advisory Committee and WNC Communities.

    • Funds requested must not replace existing budgeted funds or reduced government funding.
    • Funding decisions will be completed by late August 2015 for project costs incurred between September 1, 2015 and August 31, 2016.
  • No sub-grants will be allowed.
  • Only one application is allowed from any entity.
  • Awardees must sign an award agreement and abide by its terms. Copies of the award agreement are available upon request.

Selection Criteria

Projects more likely to gain favorable review and award funding will include the following:

  • Projects that have an impact throughout the project region in Western North Carolina, to help ensure that the award program positively impacts all eligible counties
  • A specific initiative, progression step, or measureable result to be completed within 12 months of the fully executed award agreement, and as part of a larger existing effort (timeline exceptions or extensions must be approved in advance by the Committee)
  • Projects with in-kind contributions, matching funds, and/or volunteer hours to contribute to the success of the project are strongly encouraged
  • Projects that demonstrate ways to lower ongoing costs of biological or chemical treatments
  • Projects that have a demonstrated, long-term impact as opposed to an expedient, temporary solution
  • Applicant has a proven history of managing project(s) similar in topic and/or scope
  • Project has an effective plan for sharing activities and results with scientists, researchers, and the general public.


  • RFP issued – Monday, June 16, 2015
  • Proposals due – Monday, August 3, 2015
  • Award decisions – by Friday, August 28, 2015
  • 75% of initial award funds available for award activities by Tuesday, September 1, 2015
  • Implementation of award activities funded by HRI, September 1, 2015-August 31, 2016
  • Public announcement of awards by WNC Communities and NCDA&CS, Sept. 2016
  • Interim report on use of funds, progress, and setbacks, due no later than March 31, 2016
  • Site visits to review awardees’ work –March-June 2016
  • Final report on HRI award activities due September 30, 2016
  • Disbursement of final 25% of award funds after submission of acceptable final report.

We require that all HRI award funds be spent no earlier than September 1, 2015, and no later than August 31, 2016. Any awardee who cannot effectively utilize their HRI award funds within that time may be asked to return any unused award funds, may have remaining award funds withheld, and/or may be ineligible for future HRI support.

How to Complete Your Application for an HRI Award

Your detailed proposal must include the following items in the order presented here and with the same section headings:

I. Application Cover Sheet Form (provided)
Complete all fields, including a signature from an authorized official of your organization or agency.

II. Executive Summary (maximum of 1 page)
Provide a concise overview of how you would utilize between $10,000 and $25,000 in award funds to help achieve the goals of the NCDA&CS Hemlock Restoration Initiative.

III. Project Narrative (maximum of 3 pages)
Include the following points in the project narrative:

A. Goals and Objectives
Specific goals and objectives of the work to be funded by the award

B. Plan of Work
How the goals and objectives will be achieved

C. Timeline/Milestones
List or chart the significant steps, start and end date for each step, and how you will document progress (e.g., photos of activities, written summary of data)

D. Project Team
Describe your project team and their qualifications to implement the project, including previous work on similar efforts

E. Budget Narrative
Provide a brief but specific description on how the NCDA&CS Hemlock Restoration Initiative funds would be used; summarize matching funds, in-kind support, and volunteer support.

F. Communications/Publicity
Summarize how you would publicize the award and the related work supported by the award. Include outreach plans for the scientific community, the general public, and your state legislators.

IV. Budget (spreadsheet provided)

Using the budget spreadsheet provided, list by line item the expenses associated with the project, amounts anticipated from in-kind donations, matching funds, and any other funds associated with the project.

Matching Funds: We encourage applicants to use any HRI award funds to match or leverage other cash and in-kind sources of support. On the budget spreadsheet provided, specify the sources of any matching funds or in-kind support and indicate the status of that support as requested, approved, received, etc. Count only matching sources that would be utilized during the award spending period (i.e., September 1, 2015-August 31, 2016). For matching purposes, the HRI funds are considered non-federal funds.

Financial Sustainability: On the budget spreadsheet, provide a statement describing how financial sustainability will be maintained, if the project exists beyond the funding period.

NOTE that NCDA&CS Hemlock Restoration Initiative funds are not to be used for personnel, administrative support, indirect support, or overhead expenses.

V. Organizational Information (maximum of 1 page)

  1. Mission and operational history of the organization applying for the award
  2. Date of organization’s incorporation or charter
  3. Organization’s total annual operating budget amount

VI. Letters of Commitment

Provide letters of commitment from participating supporters indicating how they will contribute cash or in-kind support to the project. It is important to note that letters of general support from interested parties will not be acceptable.

VII. Other Requirements

  • Copy of organization’s most recent audit, or in lieu of audit, financial statements
  • Non-profits: copy of organization’s IRS 501(c)(3) determination letter and most recent Tax Form 990.


  • Use MS Word, Excel, and/or Adobe PDF to create and submit all documents.
  • Submit your materials for Sections III and V in the exact order listed above using the exact same section headings shown above (i.e., items listed in bold text).
  • Use 12-point type, single-line spacing, and 1-inch margins
  • Use plain paper instead of letterhead, no salutation or signature necessary (except for the signature on the cover sheet form).
  • Do not staple or bind the materials (binder clips are okay); do not use 2-sided printing.

Application and attachments must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, Monday August 3, 2015. There will be no exceptions. Provide one hard copy and one electronic copy (e.g., flash drive) of all proposal materials to: Hemlock Restoration Initiative, c/o WNC Communities, 594 Brevard Road, Asheville, NC 28806. Applicants will receive electronic confirmation of receipt within 24 hours of submission during regular business hours. If applicant has not received an email confirmation, call Smithson Mills at 828-273-9119 to ensure the application materials were received.

Questions? Please contact Smithson Mills, Coordinator, NCDA&CS Hemlock Restoration Initiative at (828) 273-9119 or

Download this RFP document (pdf) as well as the budget form (xls doc) and the cover application form (xls doc).