Sustainable Communities Grant
Eligible Applicants

To be eligible to apply for a grant in this cycle, the following requirements must be met:

  • It is a New Jersey municipality located in ACE service territory.
  • It is registered or certified in the Sustainable Jersey Program

    • A list of currently certified municipalities is available here.
    • Not on the list? Check your municipality‚Äôs Sustainable Jersey status here.

  • The municipality must have appointed a green team.   
  • Previous Sustainable Jersey grant recipients are eligible to apply for these grants. However, previous grants must be closed or open grants must be up to date with the reporting requirements. For more information about closing out a grant or reporting requirements click here.
  • A municipality is eligible to apply for one Environmental Stewardship Grant and one Resiliency Grant. However, only one grant (highest value) will be awarded to a municipality.


Eligible Projects & Expenses

Environmental Stewardship Grants

Eligible activities:

  • Developing or updating open space plans
  • Improving applicant-owned open spaces such as meadows, woodlands, and riparian buffers or capital improvements for passive recreation such as installing trails, boardwalks, informational kiosks, and observation platforms
  • Acquisition of parcels of land to be used for open space or conservation easements

Eligible expenses:

  • Professional service fees
  • Costs associated with obtaining public input on plans such as hall rental, advertising, printing
  • Materials and equipment
  • Expenses that support the acquisition (by purchase or donation) of open space or conservation easements such as land cost, development rights, legal or consultant fees, surveying, environmental assessments, appraisals, etc.

Resiliency Grants

Eligible activities:

  • Implementation of strategies to minimize the impact of severe weather events, natural disasters or other emergencies impacting the environment
  • Emergency operations planning, training, and community outreach
  • Purchase of supplies and equipment needed to respond to emergencies including energy storage and stationary or mobile solar

Eligible expenses:

  • Professional service fees
  • Costs associated with obtaining public outreach and education efforts
  • Materials and equipment

Matching or in-kind contributions (including volunteer time) are encouraged, but not required. Funding can be passed through to a non-profit, partner organization, or contractor, but the municipality must be the applicant and will be responsible for the reporting requirements. Checks will be made payable to the municipality and sent to its fiscal agent.

Ineligible Expenses

  • Staff time for municipal or authority employees for any aspect of these projects and basic operating expenses are not eligible expenses.
  • Reimbursement for a project underway or already completed.  Efforts to be funded by the grant should not start until after the grant announcement event that will occur the week of September 28. Planning steps can occur beforehand.  


Proposal Evaluation

Below is the criteria that will be used to evaluate the grant proposals.  Download a PDF of the criteria here.

Project  Description

15 Points

Provide a name for the proposed project and a short description (limit to 300 words). The description should be concise and focus on the specific effort that the grant will be used to support. This description will be used in program reports and communications materials.

Project Team Members

10 Points

The designated project team appears qualified to undertake the proposed project. The project team includes representation from municipal and community stakeholder groups that will be involved in or impacted by the implementation of he proposed project.

Action Plan & Timeline

15 Points

The proposed project action plan addresses the steps needed to successfully complete the project.  Target completion dates are realistic and will enable the project to be completed within the 12-month performance period.  Events where the grant will be promoted, such as a ribbon cutting ceremony, and materials will be distributed are identified.

Community Engagement

10 Points

The proposed project will capitalize on collaborations between community stakeholders including representatives from the schools, municipal and county agencies, civic or community-based organizations, non-profits, professional organizations and local businesses. Details on how the project will be shared with the community are included.

Project Impact & Evaluation

25 Points

The proposed project will address the community need identified in the proposal.  The project will preserve, protect, and improve public spaces designated as open space or used for passive recreation or contribute to a more resilient community.  The project will augment existing green team efforts and contribute toward making progress in the Sustainable Jersey Certification Program.


25 Points

The Budget Narrative clearly summarizes project expenses and identifies all the sources of funding needed to complete the proposed project, including in-kind contributions such as volunteer hours.  The project leverages no or low cost resources to cost-effectively complete the proposed project.  It is clear that all additional funding besides the grant is in-hand or committed.  The detailed project budget is consistent with the Budget Narrative and clearly identifies the eligible project expenses that will be billed to the grant.  The budget is realistic, costs are justified and resource contributions, including in-kind, have a reasonable value.



Sponsor Recognition

Large grant recipients are required to install a sign recognizing ACE and Sustainable Jersey as the project funders where applicable. Reasonable costs for signage can be included in the project budget.

ACE and the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program should also be acknowledged on reports or other materials developed with grant funds.  Copies of materials documenting this recognition will be required as part of the final grant report.