Please Note: After 25 years of grantmaking, we have closed our doors. Learn more here.

Because the best-laid plans can change, the Brainerd Foundation designated a limited amount of funds to Opportunity Fund grants. These small grants aimed to support projects that addressed a need or opportunity unforeseen during an organization's annual planning process.

We were specifically interested in meeting needs that pertained to outreach, but grants from this fund were also used for emergent litigation, applied research, and other unexpected needs. Funds were also granted to support leadership development within organizations.

Priority was given to requests that fit into a broader strategy or campaign that was being pursued by conservation advocates in the state or region.

Photo via Groundwire

Examples of past Opportunity Fund grants

  • In response to a recent surge of wind energy development, a grantee authored an analysis of locations with high wind power potential and low wildlife conflicts. Opportunity Fund support was used to share the findings with wind industry representatives, government regulators, and local conservation groups.

  • To most effectively leverage a report on the effects of climate change on their watershed, a grantee used Opportunity Fund dollars to convene a summit of public officials, river advocates, and water users to re-envision how water is used locally.

  • To support staff during a leadership transition at an environmental nonprofit, Opportunity Fund support was used to send the new executive director to a leadership training institute.

Pressure Ridge in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. by Greg Burke