Grant-Giving Process

We host two member directed grant cycles each year – a summer and winter grant cycle. In each cycle, member companies can nominate two organizations to apply for funding. Organizations that receive a nomination and meet our funding criteria are then invited to submit a grant application for up to $50,000. After careful internal vetting by TCA’s staff and board, member company employees are able to vote on their top projects to help us decide on final awards. Grants are awarded for a 12-month term.

Our member companies are eager to connect with and nominate organizations, particularly those located in their community or state. Organizations interested in receiving funding through The Conservation Alliance should connect with member companies to secure a nomination. Check out our member page to find a full list of member companies.

If you have questions about grant-making at The Conservation Alliance or have trouble securing a nomination, please contact Kim Paymaster, Grant Program Director:

Funding Criteria And Priorities

  • Seeks to secure durable and quantifiable protection of a specific wild land or waterway. The ideal project aims to protect a specific place through acquisition/easement, or federal designation or legislative action. We also fund projects that aim to improve local ecosystems through dam removal.
  • Engages grassroots citizen action in support of the conservation effort. This includes projects that incorporate efforts to generate grassroots support and those that are led by a group closest to the project and landscape.
  • Has a clear recreational benefit.
  • The project should have a realistic plan to achieve success in the near term (typically within one-four years). A strong project has a clear strategy with realistic milestones, strong partners and relationships with key decision makers, and is being led by an organization with a track record of success. We value the efforts of new organizations and encourage them to apply.
  • Projects and campaigns that are in alignment with TCA’s Conservation Strategy.
  • Indigenous-led conservation initiatives.
  • Projects that are led by and/or benefit communities of color, and/or underserved communities, and organizations that work directly with these communities.
  • Landscape-scale projects that have a clear benefit for habitat.
  • Projects that measurably mitigate the impacts of climate change and protect biodiversity.
  • Projects where businesses have a clear opportunity to participate and partner with grantees to assist in the campaign.
  • State-level legislative or administrative campaigns
  • Stewardship/restoration as the core focus
  • Stopping a mine or other threat without a parallel process for securing durable protection
  • Multiple projects in one proposal
  • Applications to fund the same group for a second project
  • Litigation
  • Applications from groups that are not leading the project or bringing a unique voice to the table
  • Outdoor education
  • Participation grants to get people outside
  • Projects at the inception phase with no/limited support or momentum
  • Only in special cases do we fund more than one group working on a campaign – this is typically reserved for TCA Priority Campaigns

* Organizations that have been awarded a member-directed grant are not eligible to apply for another member-directed grant in the same calendar year, unless approved in advance by TCA.

Grant Program Calendar

Summer Winter
Nominations April October
Application Period May November
Internal Review June-July Dec-Jan
Voting August February
Grant Announcement September March

During April and October each year, nomination forms are distributed to the grant program contacts at each member company. Member companies have one month to submit their form and can nominate up to two organizations per funding cycle. TCA connects with each nominated organization to determine if their project meets our funding criteria.

Organizations that receive a nomination and meet our funding criteria are invited to submit a grant application through TCA’s online portal. Organizations have one month to submit a funding request.

The Conservation Alliance staff and board review applications and conduct rigorous due diligence during this time. A subset of projects that best meet our funding criteria are selected to be placed on a ballot for our member company employees to vote.

At the beginning of February and August, member company employees are invited to learn about the subset of projects that were placed on the ballot. They can then vote for their top 10 projects. Each company’s votes are tallied to one ballot each.

After the voting deadline, ballots are tallied and projects with the most votes receive funding. Grant announcements are made through a press release, by email and social media, and our website. We encourage our member companies to share the good news about our latest grant announcement with their audiences.