Frequent questions for No Child Left Inside grants

If we’ve received a past No Child Left Inside grant, will we be eligible for future phases?
Past recipients of a No Child Left Inside MINI grant are ineligible for an additional mini grant, but they may apply for a larger grant this phase. Grantees who received a No Child Left Inside LARGER grant in the past are ineligible for any grant at this time. Determination for potential phases beyond 2024 will be made based on the priorities of that funding.
Are organized sports activities eligible if they take place outside? What about indoor activities or lessons?
No Child Left Inside grants are intended to support outdoor recreation that is connected to natural spaces, wildlife, and/or environmental education. Organized sports (i.e. soccer, hockey, golf, etc.) are ineligible, even if they occur outdoors. Indoor recreational activities and classroom lessons that take place inside are also ineligible. Exceptions can be made for occasional use of indoor archery and firearms ranges, where safety and training are a consideration.
We really need support for trail development and maintenance or an outdoor classroom shelter, why is that not eligible for this grant program?
The No Child Left Inside grant program is an education-focused opportunity. It does not support capital investments or provide funds for fixed assets. Trail development, shelter construction, playground equipment, docks, greenhouses, and computer equipment are all ineligible expenses. Please see the request for proposals for a complete list of ineligible expenses and activities.
Can we combine multiple projects in one application? What if our project is only partially fishing or hunting?
Yes, you may combine multiple projects in one application. When considering larger grants up to $25,000, this may be seen favorably during competitive review. If your project contains a partial fishing or hunting component, please indicate the scope of that component in your application. We will consider fishing and hunting programming impacts during review and when assigning funding.
Is there an advantage to serving multiple ages? What about number of participants?
The age of participants is only one consideration when reviewing applications. There can be an advantage to serving multiple ages, especially if a project includes a mentoring component where older students are working with younger students. Likewise, the number of participants, is a consideration. It is a priority of the No Child Left Inside grant program to maximize the number of participants, but large single-day events are not eligible. The quality of projects is considered in addition to the quantity of participants, and priority is given to reoccurring programming that demonstrates long-term impacts.
What if our audience doesn’t meet the limited opportunity criteria? Are other demographic factors considered?

Participants must be Minnesota youth under the age of 18, and it is a priority of the grant program to provide opportunities for youth who have limited access to outdoor activities. Information on free and reduced-price lunch eligibility (FRLP) and childhood poverty rates are consistent indicators of financial need for this audience.

Applicants for mini grants are encouraged to support programming for these audiences, but a smaller portion of mini grant funds may be available for groups who do not meet the limited opportunity criteria set forth in the RFP.

For larger grant applicants, FRPL percentage and childhood poverty rates will be assessed during review, along with other demographic considerations that demonstrate participation by underserved audiences. All these factors are evaluated during the competitive review process, and projects that target audiences with limited opportunities will be scored higher.

How much reporting is required? What is the paperwork like?
Grant recipients will sign a contract agreement with the MN DNR. Information on organization insurance coverage, conflict of interest, and signatories is collected. Please see our website for examples and requirements. Reports and reimbursement requests are submitted by grant recipients at the conclusion of their projects. (Those who receive a larger grant can also submit an interim report and reimbursement request, if there is a financial need.) Reports have been simplified to include a basic account of activities, participant numbers, project impact, and challenges. Grant recipients must submit itemized receipts for all expenses and match. Reimbursement is only provided for eligible expenses and must be in line with the approved project budget.
Will we need to verify non-profit status?
Yes. You will be asked to classify your organization type in the application and provide an EIN or school district number, when applicable. This information will be confirmed utilizing IRS and State of Minnesota databases.
What if our project changes and we need to revise our work plan or shift funding?
Applicants should make every attempt to finalize their work plans and budgets prior to applying. While we understand that different circumstances can occur, making significant revisions increases workloads and can reduce the amount of time available to complete a grant project. Changes to work plans and budget amendments are possible as long as they remain within the eligibility requirements of the grant program. All changes must be pre-approved. Grant recipients must work with their DNR representative to ensure changes are appropriate and authorized prior to spending funds.
Can we use funds for stipends, substitute teachers, meals, entrance fees, transportation?
Yes. Expenses related to teacher training and student experiences are eligible. Please see the request for proposals for a complete list of eligible expenses.
Can funds be used for project development, community engagement, planning, etc.?
Yes. They must be in pursuit of an eligible activity that serves a youth audience. Please see the request for proposals for a complete list of eligible expenses.
Do you have any advice as we begin preparing our application? Any examples of successful projects we can learn from?
Please read the request for proposals thoroughly. If you have any additional questions, email them to [email protected]. A list of past grant awardees can be found on our website. Additional resources and examples may be available through: MAEE EE Portal, MDE Green Ribbon Schools, MN GreenStep Schools,,, DNR natural resources education, and the Minnesota Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights.

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