The Chaffee Common Ground Citizens Advisory Committee announced it will open the program’s spring grant cycle today.

Community organizations and others interested in applying for funding can attend an online information session from 9-11 a.m. April 6 to learn about eligibility requirements and grant criteria, a press release stated.

The session will only be held online, an participants should email Common Ground Administrator Ben Doon at ccg.cac@gmail.com by March 30 to obtain virtual access and materials.

An estimated $500,000 will be available during this cycle for programs and projects that strengthen forest health and reduce wildfire danger; conserve and support agricultural lands and rural landscapes; and manage the impacts of growth in outdoor recreation.

A new mini-grant program for funding requests of up to $5,000 opens during this cycle to support small projects that advance the goals of Common Ground by making a significant and immediate impact.

“Mini-grants involve a simplified application and can allow more organizations to participate in the program,” Citizens Advisory Committee Vice Chair Rick Hum said.

The committee reduced the amount of available funding from $700,000 to $500,000 in anticipation of potential economic impacts of COVID-19. Common Ground revenues are generated by a 0.25 percent county sales tax.

“Revenues are likely to be lower than projections so the amount has been scaled down in this time of economic uncertainty,” Hum said. “We will reassess available funds as appropriate in the future.”

The committee extended the application deadline to May 29 to provide more time for collaborative planning among organizations and groups that are likely not hosting in-person meetings due to social distancing. The grant deadline had originally been set on May 1.

Visit chaffeecommonground.org and click on Grantee Info for grant guidelines and application links. Funding recommendations by the Citizens Advisory Committee are subject to approval by the Board of County Commissioners. Awards will be announced in July.

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