This fund supports groups offering innovative working approaches at the grassroots level in geographies or on issues that build on the foundation’s current priorities.

Organizations requesting grassroots support should:

  • Bring community views to conservation issues, democratizing efforts to solve regional environmental problems.
  • Demonstrate leadership, offering innovative approaches at the grassroots level.
  • Collaborate with other organizations, campaigns, or coalitions in the region.
  • Operate with an annual budget (typically no more than $250,000) where a small grant can go a long way.

Gallatin Stream Teams, taking samples from Thompson Creek.
Gallatin Stream Teams, taking samples from Thompson Creek. Photo by Tammy Crone, Gallatin Local Water Quality District.

Grassroots Fund grants may be used as seed funding and are not typically renewed. Most often Grassroots Fund grants are made for general support, but grants may also be tailored to support activities that bolster organizational capacity, such as mentoring, leadership development, and organizational trainings.

Grassroots Fund recipient successes

Stakeholders agree to remove 4 dams on Klamath River

Stakeholders agree to remove 4 dams on Klamath River

A breakthrough was reached when PacificCorp, a utility that owns four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, reached an agreement with the states of Oregon and California, and the U.S. Department of the Interior to remove the four dams by 2020. This is the by-product of an agreement to resolve water-use conflicts between a diverse set of stakeholders including tribal interests, farmers, fishermen, environmental groups, and governments. In its early history, the Brainerd Foundation funded work in the Klamath basin.

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Typical grassroots fund grantees

  • A diverse group of landowners, hunters, anglers, businesses, conservationists, scientists, and native elders challenging irresponsible energy development in their rural community
  • A community-based group bringing new voices and perspectives to collaborative state-level policy and advocacy efforts
  • A small group leading an effort to expand best management practices within a national monument and increase support for the monument and its surroundings

Cowiche Canyon Uplands and Mount Cleman in Winter.
Cowiche Canyon Uplands and Mount Cleman in Winter. Photo by David Hagen.

Typical Grassroots Fund grants range from $5,000 to $10,000 and are awarded for a one-year term, with the possibility of a one-time renewal. Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants are awarded year-round at staff discretion. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Learn more about eligibility »