Youth and the Environment
Call For Letters of Intent

The Lawson Foundation envisages a society where all young people are connected with nature and contribute the power of their leadership and creativity to help ensure a healthy, sustainable environment.

We invite letters of intent from registered charities and other qualified donees across Canada requesting support for environmental initiatives that strengthen young people’s capacities for leadership and civic engagement. Successful applications will provide opportunities for young people 15 to about 25 years of age to use these capacities to connect with nature and help ensure a healthy, sustainable environment. The Foundation will prioritize initiatives that clearly demonstrate that young people have a central role in creating and managing the project and sharing the project results.


Key Dates and Details

  • The deadline for submission of letters of intent is Thursday May 31, 2018 at noon EDT.
  • The Foundation hosted an information webinar on Tuesday May 8, 2018 at 12 noon EDT and an interactive chat on Twitter (#LawsonYouth2018) at the same time. ICYMI, you can view a recording of the webinar here and download a copy of the PowerPoint presentation here.
  • You can download a Call Package in PDF format with additional information. We also encourage applicants to read both the detailed description of the Youth & the Environment Strategy and the teaser.


Objective – Double Bottom Line

The call for letters of intent is driven by a double bottom line. Applicants must explain how their proposed initiatives respond to both bottom lines. We are not looking for initiatives that satisfy one or the other. We are looking for innovative initiatives that integrate both to strengthen youth development (leadership and civic engagement), encourage nature connection and address significant environmental issues.

  1. First Bottom Line – Strengthen Youth Leadership and Civic Engagement
    Create opportunities to strengthen youth leadership and civic engagement through initiatives that value young people’s unique abilities and lead to lasting social and environmental benefits.
  2. Second Bottom Line – Encourage Connection with Nature and Enable Environmental Action
    Create opportunities for young people to deepen their connection with nature. Create opportunities for young people to contribute to addressing significant environmental issues


Anticipated Outcomes

  • Young people from all walks of life are connected with nature and experience improved physical, mental, cognitive and social well-being.
  • Young people are key stakeholders/decision makers in initiatives, to the benefit of themselves and their communities.
  • Young people have a greater understanding of the link between human health and a sustainable environment and play active leadership roles in the stewardship of the environment.
  • Our ecosystems are protected and restored.
  • Young people bring their environmental knowledge and values to bear in all areas of their lives, in education, work and play.


Cohort Approach

We plan to select eight to 10 projects for funding over a three-year period. In addition to project funding, the Foundation will provide support to bring young people involved in the projects together periodically over the life of the grants – to network, support each other’s work and share project learning, challenges and successes. Applicants will be asked to confirm in the letters of intent their desire to participate and contribute actively in the cohort over the life of the grant.


How to Apply

The application process will occur in two stages. Please note that all application forms must be submitted online using the Lawson Foundation’s application templates. A Lawson Foundation review committee will review all letters of intent and full proposals.

Step 1. Letters of Intent – We ask you to submit a short letter of intent that articulates clearly and concisely your proposed initiative and how it aligns with the criteria of the Youth and Environment impact area. At this stage, we are focused on finding innovative ideas that provide opportunities for meaningful leadership and civic engagement in addressing connection to nature and/or another important environmental issue. Applicants are asked to describe how their projects address the double-bottom line objective of this call for letters of intent. (See description of double bottom-line objective above.)

Step 2. Full Proposals – Applicants with successful letters of intent that best align with the focus of the strategy and key criteria will be invited to the second stage of the process – a rigorous full proposal competition.

Application Timeline

Step 1 Open call for Letter of Intent – Submission Deadline Thursday May 31, 2018 at 12 noon EDT
Declines or invitations to submit a Full Proposal Communicated by June 30, 2018
Step 2 Full Proposal Submission Deadline Thursday September 6, 2018 at 12 noon EDT
Notification of funding decision Friday November 30, 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum requirements to submit a letter of intent?

Canadian registered charities (or other qualified donees) in good standing with CRA may apply. Projects should reflect the Lawson Foundation’s stated double-bottom-line objectives and criteria.

The Foundation will be open to working with applicants who are working within informal organizational structures.

When is the deadline to submit a letter of intent?

The deadline is May 31, 2018 at noon EDT. Applicants are recommended to submit as early as possible to avoid technical issues. In fairness to others, no late applications will be accepted.

How do I apply?

Click the “Apply” button above to register and apply using the Lawson Foundation’s online application system. We do not accept applications to this funding opportunity by mail, facsimile or email. Please submit your letters of intent in English. Upload your project budget using the EXCEL template provided. Do not include any other attachments or hyperlinks as they will not be reviewed.

How will I know if my application has been received?

When you submit your application, you will receive an automated email confirming that your application has been submitted successfully. Apply early to ensure you receive your confirmation before the deadline.

When will I find out if my letter of intent has been successful or not?

By June 30th, applicants will either be declined or invited to the second stage of the process to submit to a full proposal.

What are the next steps following the letter of intent?

Applicants with successful letters of intent will be invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals by invitation only will be due by noon EDT on September 6, 2018.

May one submit more than one application?

Yes. We are looking for the most innovative ideas that best meet the funding criteria.

Will you accept a collaborative proposal from multiple organizations/groups?

Yes. The lead organization must be a Canadian registered charity (or other qualified donee) with a key role in the project beyond just fiduciary responsibility. Please articulate the collaborative nature of the proposal and name the partners in your project description.

May I include an overhead charge in the project budget?

Yes. The Foundation acknowledges that a project may require the support of an organization’s backbone resources in order to be successfully implemented. Project budgets that include a reasonable allocation for overhead are eligible for funding. For large institutions like universities and hospitals, the maximum overhead charge is 10% of the Foundation’s grant.

How can I find out if my organization is a registered charity or qualified donee?

To find out whether your organization is a registered charity, please check the CRA Charities Listings. To find out whether your organization is registered as another type of qualified donee, please check the CRA’s Other Qualified Donees Listings.

What about schools?

A school with a charitable registration number may apply if the proposal addresses the selection criteria. A school may have its own charitable registration number. If not, you should contact your school board for advice about applying under the auspices of the school board’s charitable registration number.

What about municipalities?

A registered Canadian municipality is eligible to apply. To find out whether your municipality is a registered qualified donee, please check the CRA website.

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