No elk? No problem. State Grants Help Spread RMEF’s Mission
Conservation and hunting heritage projects take place even in states where wild elk don’t roam
By Laura Redmond, RMEF Conservation Program Coordinator
Volunteers are the heart and soul of RMEF, and one of the many ways we depend on our volunteers is to notify us of opportunities and be on the lookout for projects, events or programs that would benefit from a State Grant. If you or anyone you know has an idea for a grant, talk to your RMEF regional director about applying. We are always looking for new partners to help ensure our hunting and conservation heritage.
When chapters across the country raise money at local banquets and events, a designated amount gets returned to fund projects on the ground in that state. In states with wild elk populations, Project Advisory Committees decide on the best projects to benefit land and wildlife.
But what if your state doesn’t have wild elk?
That’s where the State Grants program steps in.
RMEF launched its State Grant pilot program in 2003 to provide individual states—particularly those without a free‐ranging elk population—an avenue for channeling locally raised funds back into local hunting heritage and conservation outreach projects. In turn, the projects would provide RMEF a means to promote our mission to new and varied audiences, potentially increasing RMEF recognition and membership and boosting local fundraising efforts. States that have wild elk are also eligible for State Grants.
After enthusiastic feedback from our volunteers and conservation partners, RMEF officially adopted the State Grant program in 2005. Since then, RMEF has provided over $3.2 million in funding for more than 2,400 projects in 49 states, sharing our mission with more than six million adults and children.
What State Grants fund
State grants are used to fund a variety of events and programs such as the National Archery in the Schools Program, 4‐H Shooting Sports, outdoor skills events/field days, hunter education, women’s outdoor programs, and hunts for youth, terminally ill, mobility impaired and wounded veterans.
There are some things that State Grants cannot be used to fund, such as political projects or endorsements, capital equipment, construction, memberships or affiliations with other organizations and indirect costs like administrative costs and overhead.
How projects are chosen
Any agency, group or organization with goals in line with RMEFs hunting heritage and conservation outreach priorities may apply for a State Grant, including RMEF volunteers. The application process was designed, in part, to provide chapter members with the opportunity to help decide where the money you raise gets spent. Each state varies slightly in its application process and deadlines, so those applying need to stay in touch with the state’s regional director for this information. Regional directors also often solicit groups or organizations whose event or project promotes values similar to RMEF’s mission.
Once an application is received, the State Leadership Team—consisting of the RMEF volunteer state chair, the state’s regional director(s) and oftentimes additional RMEF volunteers—will meet and decide which State Grant proposals should be funded. The amount of State Grant funding available is decided by the State Leadership Team at an annual mission allocation budget meeting. Up to 25 percent of a state’s mission allocation can be used for grants. The grants are then submitted to the region’s vice president of operations for final approval and, finally, sent to headquarters to be processed.
The deadline for submitting State Grants is September 1.
More in-depth guidelines of the State Grants program can be found here through the Guidelines here through a Q&A.
RMEF requires those applying for grants to fill out a Project Completion Report form and provide pictures from the event or project within 60 days after the event occurs or the project is complete. RMEF uses the photos and details from these reports to feature our activities and partnerships in publications, assist us in measuring the impact of State Grants on RMEF’s mission and to provide details of work that’s been done in state-specific RMEF promotional materials.