Why Confluence?

The Confluence Program, launched in 2021, seeks to expand The Conservation Alliance’s network of grantee and business partners. We know that our network does not represent a coalition of everyone working to protect natural places. Great things happen when a diverse coalition of voices and perspectives comes together to champion solutions that balance the best interests of land and water, wildlife, and people. The Confluence Program is a first step in our efforts to help create new systems and structures that bring all of the groups, organizations, and businesses committed to this work closer together to protect our shared natural places.

The Program

The goal of the Confluence Program is to intentionally connect to historically racially excluded people for the protection of natural places. Each year, The Conservation Alliance awards four grants to groups led by Asian, Black, Brown, Hispanic, Indigenous, Latin American, or additional communities who identify as People of Color working to protect a natural place. Each grantee receives $100,000 over a two-year period ($50,000 per year) for their effort to protect or conserve land and/or water to foster a planet where natural places, wildlife, and people thrive together.

We work to build trust and meaningful relationships with the Confluence grantees through resource-sharing and communications support. The support provided by this program is shaped to meet the unique needs of each group. Through the application review process, we also capture and share our learnings regarding the gap between financial needs and available funding, and share the list of applicants with other funders. Our goal is to help shed light on the volume of qualified groups that need funding, and help make connections to our network of partners that might offer direct funding or other resource support.

2024-25 Confluence Program Grant Application

The Confluence Program Grant Application has closed for this year.
Please check back in fall 2024 for our next grant round.

2024-2025 Funding Criteria

  • 501c3/charitable status or fiscal sponsorship are not required.

To qualify for funding, groups and projects must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Organization/group must be located in the United States or Canada.
  • Organization/group must self-identify as being led by historically racially excluded people, including groups working with mixed status immigrant families. The Conservation Alliance considers “leadership” in this case as those with decision-making power on behalf of the entirety of the organization or effort.
  • Organizations/groups must have had a general operating budget less than $500,000 in three of the last five years to qualify. This does not include federal or state pass-through funds.
  • Projects must seek to protect, conserve, or restore land and/or water in their efforts to foster a planet where natural places, wildlife, and people thrive together. Restoration projects include ecosystem recovery through rewilding or rehabilitation of land and water.
  • Projects must be able to demonstrate how they are centering solutions led by impacted communities.

If the primary focus of a project is one of the items on this list, it does not qualify for funding:

  • Research and/or whitepapers
  • Outdoor youth and adult leadership education
  • Conference, event, festival, or panel (including both in-person and virtual)
  • An expedition
  • An individual
  • A fundraiser, one-time event, or gala
  • General marketing or awareness-raising projects
  • Project focused solely on creating a book, video, or movie
  • Maintenance or management of areas currently designated as protected by a local, state, or national agency, including general stewardship projects, trail maintenance, conservation corps projects, etc
  • Recruitment costs to fill open positions
  • 501c4 work and lobbying

We will prioritize the following projects (these are not requirements):

  • Projects that Include an intersectional approach to conservation that addresses the social, cultural, and environmental needs of a community or region.
  • Geographies that support climate resiliency and biodiversity.
  • Projects that improve access to close-to-home recreation or healthy outdoor spaces, including/particularly those that are accessible by public transportation.
  • Projects that increase opportunities for historically excluded communities to authentically engage and participate in public land and conservation management decision making processes.
  • Projects that uplift/center traditional ecological knowledge, history, and culture in relation to land and water conservation.
  • Projects that focus on groups working in collaboration with others to protect land or water.
  • Projects where the resources (e.g., staff, revenue) and strategy align well with the intended goals and outcomes.

Advisory Committee

The Confluence Program is directed by a six to eight person advisory committee, including representatives from TCA’s staff and board, member companies, current or past grantees, and other funders and community organizations. The goal of establishing our advisory committee is to share power with those who are closer to the issues we seek to address and have different knowledge and viewpoints. We believe this increases the impact and reach of the Confluence Program. The Confluence advisory committee establishes the funding criteria, project types, and application process. The committee reviews applications and chooses the grant recipients. 

Meet the committee members for the 2024-25 Confluence Program:

Hannah Abuzaineh
Hannah Abuzaineh

The North Face

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Kim Paymaster
Kim Paymaster

The Conservation Alliance

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Jarid Manos
Jarid Manos

Great Plains Restoration Council

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Gareth Martins
Gareth Martins

Royal Robbins

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Jenna O’Brien
Jenna O’Brien


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Rena Payan
Rena Payan

Justice Outside

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The definition of confluence is: “the junction of two rivers, especially rivers of approximately equal width.” We chose to use the word confluence to represent the merging of values-driven private businesses with the diversity of organizations doing conservation work. We believe that bringing these two sectors closer together has the potential to shape the course of the environmental movement to help people, wildlife, and wild places thrive. Additionally, the river reference is a nod to our roots in the outdoor industry, and represents a type of place these grants could help protect.

Small groups are often overlooked by funders and therefore underfunded. Our hope is that funding for groups this size will help scale their work. Additionally, only four groups will be selected to receive funding. The committee is using the budget cap as a tool to decrease the number of declined applicants. We are looking at three of the last five years recognizing that many groups experience short-term or one-time fluctuations in revenue that are not representative of their actual size or funding history.

Yes. Applicants can apply for funding through both programs. Click here to learn more about the funding criteria and application process in our member directed grant program.

The collective nature of our organization is our greatest strength. Connecting historically racially excluded conservation groups with our 270+ member companies will strengthen the environmental movement by building relationships and alignment among constituencies who are critical to the movement, and who bring different perspectives, life experiences, and priorities.

Yet, we’ve recognized that our network has historically been limited to predominantly white-led organizations. Prior to 2020, less than 1% of our funding was awarded to organizations led by Asian, Black, Brown, Hispanic, Indigenous, Latin American, and additional communities who identify as People of Color. The Confluence Program helped grow this number to 24% in 2021 and almost 30% in 2022. This program is one step in bringing our justice, equity, diversity and inclusion commitments to life in our work. Read more about our vision and commitments here.

No. This program is designed specifically to fund groups who have been historically excluded and underfunded for their work. We encourage organizations in this situation to partner with community members of color, or organizations led by those community members, and invite them to apply for funding. Remember, the organization does not need to have 501c3 status to qualify.

We welcome applications from groups where the decisions that impact the direction of the organization are made by people who self-identify as historically racially excluded.

No. Unlike our member directed grant program, this program will be an open application process without a nomination requirement. We hope our member companies will share the program with groups in their network.

In the early stages of this program, The Conservation Alliance board and staff worked with consultants Teresa Baker and Marcelo Bonta. Once the foundation of the program was set, seven advisory committee members defined the program details in 2021. Each year, a new group of advisory committee members is selected. This helps to expand our community and knowledge-base, while also pushing us to re-examine the program on a regular basis.

We made a commitment to develop programs and initiatives to support diversity and inclusion when we signed the Diversity Pledge in 2020, and this program is part of that commitment. We worked with advisors to help us balance our desire to support every community who loves the outdoors and also intentionally build meaningful relationships. After lengthy discussions, we decided to focus on one aspect of our equity work by centering historically racially excluded groups as we began the Confluence Program.

The Confluence Program is one step in our commitment to intentionally connect The Conservation Alliance to the diversity of organizations doing conservation work. Confluence launched in 2021, and each year we work to refine and adjust the program as we believe best supports historically racially marginalized communities in the conservation space. While our commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion is ongoing, we are also giving ourselves flexibility to adapt as we learn, so we can continue to do better.

In addition to the Confluence Program, we are actively working to connect with organizations doing work that meets the funding criteria in our member directed grant program and are looking to partner with and support organizations through our advocacy efforts.

We encourage people to connect one on one with a grantee they are drawn to, establish a working relationship with them, and identify ways you or your company can support them. We are happy to help make connections between member companies and grantees or grant applicants. If you would like to donate to The Conservation Alliance’s Confluence Program, please contact us at confluence@conservationalliance.com.

Our goal is to grow our grant program and give more money to everyone working to protect natural places. There is a huge need for grassroots conservation funding and we are working hard to help our current partners and future grantees achieve their objectives.

We are asking our Confluence Program advisory committee to share the grant program with their networks. We will leverage our grantee and member networks, too. We’re encouraging our member companies to share the grant opportunity with their network and social media followers, and appreciate any and all efforts to help spread the word.

The Confluence Program is funded by the annual membership dues from 270+ Conservation Alliance member companies.