CMG Grantmaking Policies and Procedures

Conservation Media Group Grantmaking Policies and Procedures (As of: June 1, 2017)

Conservation Media Group (“CMG”) makes grants to nonprofit corporations, business for-profit corporations, and individuals in furtherance of CMG’s purpose to support the production of educational films and related media that lead the way toward conservation solutions.

Grant Restrictions
Employees and Directors of CMG, employees or owners of Compass Light, Inc., “disqualified persons” as defined in I.R.C. § 4946, and any of the foregoing’s “family members” (as defined in CMG’s Conflict of Interest Policy) are not eligible to receive any CMG grants.   

Application Guidelines
The grant application process for each of CMG’s grant programs is specific to the requirements of the particular grant program, and is more particularly described outside of these Grantmaking Policies and Procedures.

All completed applications will be promptly acknowledged and considered.  If further information is required after the completed application has been received, the applicant will be contacted directly by CMG.  Further information including financial data may be requested at any time during the review process.

Selection Process and Grant Contract
The CMG Chief of Operations and any other CMG staff shall conduct a preliminary review of all grant applications and select approximately 10% as a top tier for further consideration.  The CMG Executive Director shall review the top tier, and shall make all final selection decisions in coordination with the Chief of Operations.   

The criteria for selecting grantees varies according to the specific grant program, but all grants shall be made on an objective and nondiscriminatory basis.  For certain grant programs, we use a scoring rubric that takes into account the applicant’s theme, timeframe, quality, partners, and impact.

Once a grantee is selected from grant applications, CMG requires the selected grantee to submit a grant proposal. The grant proposal includes a description of the grant project, personnel, timeline, deliverables, and budget; and becomes the basis for the description of the grant in the grant contract. The grant proposal and contract shall specify CMG’s responsibilities and those of the grantee, obligates the grantee to use the grant funds only for the purposes for which the grant was made, provides for periodic written reports concerning the use of grant funds, requires a final written report and an accounting of how grant funds were used, and acknowledges CMG’s authority to withhold and/or recover grant funds in case such funds are, or appear to be, misused.

Reporting and Oversight Procedures

CMG shall adhere to certain reporting and oversight procedures, as follows.

CMG requires all grantees to submit regular reports that include a summary of activities, timelines, and an expense report, as well as a final grant report that accounts for all project activities and expenses as well as the project impact as it relates to the project’s set goals and CMG’s mission and focus areas.

The Chief of Operations shall have the responsibility to follow the progress of the grants and to review each report submitted by the grantee to make a determination whether the grant purposes are being or have been fulfilled, and to inquire into any questions requiring further investigation.

Where reports to CMG or other information (including failure to submit reports after a reasonable time has elapsed from their due date) indicate that all or any part of the grant funds are not being used for the purposes of such grant, CMG shall initiate an investigation.  While conducting the investigation, CMG shall withhold further payments to the extent possible until it has determined that no part of the grant has been used for improper purposes, and until any overdue reports have been submitted.

If CMG determines that any part of a grant has been used for improper purposes, CMG shall take all reasonable and appropriate steps to recover diverted grant funds or to insure the restoration of diverted funds and the dedication of other grant funds held by the grantee to the purposes being financed by the grant.  These steps may include legal action unless such action would in all probability not result in the satisfaction of execution of a judgment.

If CMG determines that any part of the grant has been used for improper purposes and the grantee has not previously diverted grant funds to any use not in furtherance of a purpose specified in the grant, CMG shall withhold further payments on the particular grant until (i) it has received the grantee’s assurances that future diversion will not occur, (ii) any overdue reports have been submitted, and (iii) it has required the grantee to take extraordinary precaution to prevent future diversions from occurring.  If CMG determines that any part of the grant has been used for improper purposes and the grantee has previously diverted Foundation grant funds, CMG shall withhold further payment until the three conditions of the preceding sentence are met and the diverted funds are in fact recovered or restored.

CMG also seeks to assure that grant funds and resources are used to further CMG’s exempt purposes by only providing half of a given grant’s funding at the start of the grant, and reserving the second half of the funding until the named deliverables (usually a video production) are completed and submitted to CMG. In rare cases, CMG will provide the full grant amount upfront when a need for the full grant amount due to time constraints or cash flow is demonstrated by the grantee.


CMG shall maintain all records relating to grants including applications, additional information obtained to evaluate grantees, correspondence with applicants and grantees, grant contracts (which shall include a description of the grant project, personnel, timeline, deliverables, and a budget), and all grantee reports.  Grantees are also required via the grant contracts to retain all receipts and evidence of expenses for potential review by CMG.

All grant-related records shall be maintained by CMG for a period of at least seven years following the submission of any final grantee report or the closing of the grant contract, whichever is later.    

Download a PDF copy of the above Grantmaking Policies and Procedures: PDF iconCMG Grantmaking Procedures 6.1.2017.pdf