Keeping the Grassroots Green
The Open Space Institute’s (OSI)
overall mission is to protect scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to
ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community viability and
character. The Citizen Action Program specifically focuses on the intersection
of community and environmental protection. CitAc has been a program at OSI for
over 20 years, encouraging the growth and well-being of emergent environmental
groups aligned with OSI’s mission.
The CitAc Program allows OSI to
further enhance its mission to include work with groups that are making
communities more livable, educating and communicating about environmental
concerns, and protecting historic and natural resources. Do you need help
getting project started? Do you have an idea and seed money but need help with
administrative capacity? Are you involved with a small start-up that wants to
become more established? Would you like to receive tax deductible donations but
do not have 501(c)(3) status?
The Citizen Action Program can
provide you with the necessary support to help you navigate the legal and
financial aspects of your project, attract more donors, and make your work more
effective. OSI helps community groups manage money, track donors and meet IRS
IS FISCAL SPONSORSHIP?
Fiscal Sponsorship is a financial
and legal system by which a legally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit (such as
OSI) provides limited financial and legal oversight for a project initiated
independently by a group. That project might be a one-time project or an
on-going project that does not have its own 501(c)(3) status. Once sponsored in
this way, the project is eligible to solicit and receive grants and
tax-deductible contributions that are normally available only to 501(c)(3)
SUPPORT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL
ACTION AND CONSERVATION
Through the Citizen Action Program,
the Open Space Institute (OSI) provides administrative support to grassroots
community groups whose programs and activities are aligned with OSI’s central
mission to protect scenic, natural and historic landscapes. We assist
environmental groups who:
- protect natural habitats
- make cities more livable
- enhance local communities
- promote environmental sustainability
- provide environmental education
- connect people with the land
All Citizen Action projects are
fiscally sponsored by the Open Space Institute, Inc., based in New York City.
OSI is a nonprofit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Sections
501(c)(3) and 509(a)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code. All contributions
accepted by OSI for the purposes of Citizen Action Projects are tax-deductible
to the fullest extent of the law. A copy of OSI’s latest financial report may
be obtained by writing to OSI.
ACTION SUPPORT SERVICES
As a member of OSI’s Citizen Action
Program, your group will become an official project of OSI. As your project
sponsor, we help groups to:
- Handle your public and private grants and
contracts, monitor reporting requirements, and facilitate payments;
- Administer project finances, including cash receipts
and cash disbursements;
- Provide quarterly financial statements so you can stay
up-to-date on the economic status of your group;
- Include your project activities in OSI’s annual audit
and Form 990 informational filing;
- Offer workshops and seminars to help your project grow
The Citizen Action program is open to groups that:
- Have a mission and project goals that complement or
further OSI’s own mission and programs (e.g. address environmental
concerns; preserve or create access to natural resources; and engage
community residents in learning and action around environmental issues);
- Have a leadership team;
- Have a fundraising plan;
- Projects take place in the Greater NYC area, Hudson
Valley or other areas in which OSI has a programmatic presence (see Places
We Work dropdown menu on the left).
If you are interested in the Citizen Action Program, the first step is to
contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call, (212) 290-8200 ext. 307. Be prepared to talk about
your project, its programs and its finances.
Groups that pass the initial
eligibility screen will be invited to submit an application, available here.
without invitation will not be considered. All applications are subject to review by the staff
and Trustees of OSI. Applications are considered by the Trustees at regularly
scheduled quarterly meetings. There is a $250 non-refundable application fee.
You can send a check or make the payment online.