California Wildlands Grassroots Fund Offers Support to Help Preserve Natural Landscapes

The California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, an initiative of the Tides Foundation, was established to support the efforts of activists to preserve California's wildlands.

CWGF supports conservationists advocating for the permanent protection of intact wildlands on both public and private lands in order to help preserve California's wilderness and native biological diversity. The fund defines "wildlands" as natural habitats, privately or publicly owned, that are (or have the potential to be) permanently preserved through legislation or deed restrictions.

CWGF provides a broad range of support to promote the capacity of activists and organizations working to protect wildernesses in the state. Specifically, the fund focuses on small nonprofit organizations (budgets of $100,000 or less) and individual activists with an eligible sponsoring organization who show a demonstrated ability and commitment to conserve California's natural landscapes, ecosystems, plants, and wildlife; and on geographic areas and advocacy efforts that have not received significant foundation support.

The fund supports a range of strategies, including but not limited to grassroots organizing, citizen participation in public meetings and hearings, public education, legislative advocacy, media campaigns, lawsuits, listing petitions, conferences and meetings, skills and leadership trainings, restoration, scientific research, coalition building, and developing partnerships with government agencies, private entities, nonprofit organizations, and communities.

Typical grant amounts range between $1,000 and $3,500, with the maximum amount $5,000. Grants can be used to support activities such as mailings; paid advertising; advocacy-related travel; research; hiring technical, legal, or scientific experts and consultants; equipment purchase or rental; training; retreats; monitoring; mapping; and advocacy-related personal expenses. Applications must be submitted by California-based 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) organizations with annual budgets of $100,000 or less.

CWGF will accept applications at any time. Funding decisions are made on a quarterly basis, except for emergency requests, which are considered on a monthly basis. (Please note that processing emergencies will take a minimum of four weeks.) Upcoming quarterly review deadlines are September 23, 2011, and December 16, 2011.

Visit the CWGF Web site for complete program guidelines and the application instructions.