Policy opportunities vary dramatically across the Northwest and reflect each place’s political environment, conservation history, and local conservation community.

Our strategy invests in two or three critical organizations in each state (or province) that demonstrate the leadership, capacity, and track record to enact, implement, enforce, and defend strong conservation policies.

NCEL educates state legislators about fracking and its potential impacts.
NCEL educates state legislators about fracking and its potential impacts. Photo by the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.

Measures of success

By the time the foundation sunsets in 2020, we aim to see:

  • Effective collaboration among organizations to achieve policy goals.
  • Conservation organizations with improved credibility and influence among community and policy leaders.
  • A broader base of stakeholders engaged in conservation advocacy.
  • More public officials and policy-makers who champion conservation priorities.

Man & Children on the Cowiche Canyon Trail.
Man & Children on the Cowiche Canyon Trail. Photo by David Hagen.

Successes in conservation policy

Coal Export Terminal Permit Denied

Coal Export Terminal Permit Denied

The Washington Department of Ecology denied permits for the Millennium Bulk project, which would have shipped by rail and then vessel a staggering 44 million tons of coal per year to markets in Asia. The Washington DOE cited unavoidable harms in nine environmental areas that were identified in the project's formal review.

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Oregon's Elliott State Forest to remain in public hands

Oregon's Elliott State Forest to remain in public hands

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, and state Treasurer Tobias Read voted Tuesday in Salem to halt the sale of Oregon's only state forest, pulling the remote forest back from the brink of a plan that was wildly unpopular with hunters, anglers and environmental groups.

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Chuitna Coal Mine Shelved

Chuitna Coal Mine Shelved

After nearly a decade of dedicated advocacy by thousands of Alaskans in support of healthy fisheries, cultural preservation, and community sustainability, the company behind what would have been the largest strip mine in Alaska has suspended its pursuit of permitting. Thousands of Alaskans have spoken out against this project that would have traded wild salmon for low-grade coal. The Brainerd Foundation supported the work of Cook Inletkeeper and the Alaska Center on this issue.

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Read about more grantee successes »

Typical conservation policy grantees

  • Organizations serving as lead advocates on statewide conservation policies
  • Issue-based organizations leading collaborative efforts on strategic policy priorities
  • Organizations advancing voter education and civic engagement efforts for the conservation community
  • Legal groups providing environmental law expertise and policy counsel

Pilot Rock nestled in the clouds, Oregon.
Pilot Rock nestled in the clouds, Oregon. Photo by Soda Mountain Wilderness Council, Inc.

Meet some of our grantees in conservation policy

Meet more of our grantees »

Conservation policy grants typically range from $40,000 to $75,000 and can be awarded for multiple years. Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants are awarded at one of three board meetings held each year. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Learn more about eligibility »