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California Wildlands Grassroots Fund (Cal Wildlands)

Grants to California Nonprofits for Grassroots
Advocacy and Protection of Wild Areas and Habitats

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment

Deadline Date:

10/28/18 5:00 PM


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Grants of up to $7,500 to California small nonprofit organizations for grassroots efforts to protect habitats and wildlands throughout the state. This program supports a broad range of advocacy and protection activities to address land and habitat issues. Priority will be given to project-specific requests.

About the Fund:

California is blessed with tremendous natural beauty, biological diversity and economic opportunity. Yet, the remaining wildland heritage is in jeopardy from poorly managed growth and development. Californians have long recognized the importance of preserving the spectacular and precious wildlands. The California Wildlands Grassroots Fund (Cal Wildlands) was established to support the heroic efforts of activists to preserve California’s wildlands.

Cal Wildlands supports conservationists advocating for the permanent protection, including restoration and stewardship, of intact wildlands on both public and private lands to help preserve California’s wilderness and native biological diversity. Cal Wildlands defines “wildlands” as natural habitats, privately or publicly owned, that are (or have the potential to be) permanently preserved through legislation or deed restrictions, and are on a scale necessary to support significant native plant and animal life. Though many of the grantees’ projects are in rural areas, the fund may also support projects near urban or suburban settings, provided they feature connectivity to larger protected areas and/or are located along critical wildlife corridors.

Efforts to advance wildlands and open space protection through county general plans and other local planning mechanisms may be eligible for funding. Cal Wildlands also supports policy advocacy, litigation and regulatory watchdogging at the local, state and federal levels if the project objective is to protect wildlands.

What the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund Supports:

Grassroots organizing; organizational capacity building; participation in public meetings and hearing; public education; communications; legislative and regulatory advocacy; media campaigns; lawsuits; listing petitions; conferences and meetings; skills and leadership trainings; restoration and trail maintenance; scientific research, including citizen science; coalition building; and developing partnerships with government agencies, private entities, nonprofit organizations, and communities.

The activities supported include, but are not limited to the following:

Communications campaigns (including mailings, web-based communications and social media, paid advertising, etc.); strategic campaign planning and implementation; advocacy-related travel or other expenses; research; hiring technical, legal, or scientific experts or consultants; equipment purchase or rental; training; conferences; retreats; monitoring; mapping; and restoration and trail maintenance.

Funding Priorities:

-Requests for discrete, project-specific support in which both the site and strategy are concrete and specific, e.g., saving the River Styx from hydroelectric development by getting stakeholders and community members to a hearing in Sacramento.
-Geographic or issue areas that have not received significant financial support in the past, including rural communities and other regions without easy access to financial and political support.
-Community-based advocacy and organizing efforts in which the campaign/project is steered by affected community members and interest groups.
-Effort is predominantly driven and staffed by volunteers.
-Project will establish or combat a critical precedent that will influence other wildlands protection efforts.
-Innovative strategies.
-Project outreach and organizing target non-traditional stakeholders and interest groups.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 175835

Estimated Size of Grant:

Typical grants range between $2,500 - $6,000.

Maximum grant is $7,500. Organizations seeking the maximum grant size of $7,500 must be able to articulate a clear project and budget that justifies the full grant.

If your organization’s actual annual income and expenses are $30,000 or less, you are strongly encouraged to request a grant of $5,000 or less.

If your organization’s actual annual income and expenses are between $50,000 - $150,000, you may request up to $7,500.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to apply to the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, you must be able to answer YES to the following eligibility requirements/questions:

-Are you and your organization based in California? If you think your organization meets the intent of this requirement even though you or your organization’s mailing address are located outside California, please explain why your organization qualifies for funding. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
-Were your organization’s actual annual expenses $150,000 or less last year? Was your actual annual income $150,000 or less last year?
-Does your organization have a 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, or is it a sponsored project of a 501(c)(3) organization?
-If you are an individual, are you affiliated with a 501(c)(3) organization?
-Is your funding request $7,500 or less?
-If you have received a grant from Cal Wildlands in the past, has it been 12 months since you last applied?
-If you have received a grant from Cal Wildlands in the past, have you reported on your previous grant?

The Fund Supports:

-Small nonprofit organizations with annual actual expenses and income of $150,000 or less; and
-Individual activists* (with a sponsoring organization) with a solid track recording of protecting California’s natural landscapes, ecosystems, plants, and wildlife.
-Geographic areas and advocacy efforts that have not received significant foundation support.

*Note: Individuals may apply for Cal Wildlands support, but must be affiliated with 501(c)(3) organization. Cal Wildlands cannot make grants directly to individuals.

The program does not fund beach clean-ups.

The program does not fund film or video production or completion, but will fund outreach or communications strategies that use films or videos as advocacy and organizing tools.

Pre-Application Information:

Cal Wildands will accept applications at any time. Funding decisions are made on a quarterly basis. If you’d like to submit your application in time for a specific quarterly review, then please turn in applications by 5:00 PM on the following days:

-February 15 for the spring review
-May 15 for the summer review
-August 15 for the fall review
-October 28 for the winter review

If the deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, then applications will be due the next business day at 5:00 PM.

Funding Priorities, Eligibility, and Tips:

How to Apply:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

Megan Mubaraki, Grants Assistant

Laura Fernandez, Grants Associate

Rose Foundation
1970 Broadway, Suite 600
Oakland, CA 94612-2218

P: (510) 658-0702
F: (510) 658-0732

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California