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Application Guidelines

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) has a two-part application process. Applicants must first submit a letter of inquiry. If invited, applicants then complete a more detailed proposal. The guidelines that follow are for the first part of the application process.

Please note that there are no specific deadlines for applications, however, CEPF will stop accepting proposals for a particular area or strategic direction once the designated funds are fully committed. If this occurs, information will be posted on the CEPF Web site.

There is no specific limit to the level of funding an applicant can request. However, applicants should keep in mind that CEPF aims to create a diversified portfolio of grantees and projects to best meet its conservation objectives and help strengthen the involvement of civil society in conservation. CEPF project funding may be provided for a maximum duration of five years.

Before beginning the application process, applicants are advised to consult the CEPF investment strategy for the region where they propose to work. The strategy, called an ecosystem profile, explains and guides the Fund's investments. Each project must be linked to one of the strategic directions in the ecosystem profile to be eligible for funding. The profiles can be downloaded in multiple languages in PDF format or viewed in English from the Where We Work section of this site.

Part I. Letter of Inquiry

In the application, CEPF requests the following elements:

Organizational information, such as name and address

History and mission statement

Project title & the amount of money requested

Geographic location of the project

Single strategic direction from the ecosystem profile

Answers to an eligibility questionnaire

Letter of inquiry: The final section of the application is for the text of the letter of inquiry. The letter of inquiry has no set structure but is meant to provide CEPF with an overview of the project concept. A letter of inquiry is typically a two- to three-page document that includes:
  • A clear explanation of how the proposal relates to a specific strategic direction as outlined in the ecosystem profile for the region
  • The geographic area of the proposed work
  • A brief project description (objectives, expected results and project deliverables)
  • Key organizational qualifications (how the organization is best qualified to carry out the project)
  • A description of any potential partners to be involved in the project

Once this portion is completed, send an e-mail to , with the completed application attached. The applicant will receive an e-mail acknowledging receipt of the application, and the application will be forwarded to the appropriate CEPF grant director. The applicant will be contacted thereafter as to how to proceed.

If the applicant has questions or concerns, send an e-mail to and CEPF staff will do all we can to help.
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CEPF is only accepting letters of inquiry for the following regions at this time: Caucasus, Eastern Arc & Coastal Forests, Eastern Himalayas, Northern Mesoamerica, and Succulent Karoo.

Download the guidelines:
English / Español / Russian

Download the application:
English /Español / Russian

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