Lowcountry Land Conservation Grant

Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $220,000

Next anticipated deadline: Mar 30, 2019 9:59pm PDT

Later anticipated deadlines: Jul 27, 2019 9:59pm PDT

Applicant type: Nonprofit Government Entity

Funding uses: Applied Project / Program, General Operating Expense

Location of project: Counties in South Carolina: Beaufort County, Berkeley County, Charleston County, Colleton County, Dorchester County Expand all

Location of residency: United States

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We offer general operating and project-specific grants that lead to landscape-scale land preservation and stewardship. We support efforts throughout the Lowcountry of South Carolina with an emphasis on five focus areas:

  • ACE Basin
  • Charleston Greenbelt
  • Sewee to Santee
  • South Lowcountry
  • Winyah Bay

Together, these areas span the entire coast. We also encourage and participate in strategic land conservation partnerships.

To Protect and Restore

There is a rich tradition of public and private land conservation throughout the Lowcountry. To date, more than a million and a quarter acres have been preserved along the South Carolina coast (see map here). Growth projections for the region, however, underscore the need to build upon these conservation gains. We support organizations working to further increase the size and health of the Lowcountry’s protected areas on a landscape-scale. Occasionally, when opportunities arise to preserve lands of exceptional strategic significance, we offer Program Related Investments as bridge funding.

To Grow Stronger

Protecting more natural areas and traditional working lands is a big job. Stewarding it long-term is an even bigger job. That’s why we offer general operating grants to sustain land conservation organizations, as well as capacity-building grants to help them meet expanded land conservation opportunities. We also encourage partnerships and collaborations to enhance our region's conservation goals.

To Advocate Change

Some land conservation happens with easements or fee simple transactions. Some with teams of volunteer stewards. Some occurs at the policy level. For this reason, we support strategic efforts to align regional planning and implementation with established land conservation goals.

Program Related Investments

We don't make grants for land acquisition. In certain circumstances, we may consider a Program Related Investment. PRIs may take the form of loans, guarantees, or credit enhancements. They may be offered as a stand-alone opportunity or in tandem with one or more grants or other kinds of technical assistance. Unlike grants, PRIs are expected to be repaid to the Foundation over a set period of time. Interest rates and fees are set below current market rates, offering affordable bridge financing to vital projects.

Example of PRIs 

  • The Foundation provided a 36-month, $10 million guaranty on the purchase of conservation easements for the development rights on a 3,000 acre property in South Carolina.
  • The Foundation provided a 60-month, $523,000 loan to facilitate the acquisition of a 74-acre de-commissioned Girl Scout camp in Indiana.
  • The Foundation provided a $961,000 letter of credit to enable the construction of a wetland mitigation bank in Illinois.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Eligibility
    • You must be a 501(c)(3) public charity or unit of government.
    • You must have completed at least one full fiscal year of operations before applying.
    • You must have a demonstrated track record of advancing landscape-scale conservation.
  • To be eligible for a PRI (Program-Related Investments) the project must meet the following requirements:
    • The project is a fit with one of the Foundation’s programmatic and geographic areas
    • The Foundation has a funding history or a strong working relationship with the organization to which the PRI is to be made
    • There is a viable plan for paying back the PRI (for loans and equity) or for the relinquishment of obligations secured by guarantees and credit enhancements
  • Read more about PRI Guidelines here


  • The following are not eligible
    • Individuals.
    • Religious activities, political campaigns, or legislative lobbying.
    • Stand-alone conferences, publications, films, events, websites, or videos.
    • Endowments, capital campaigns, or debt reduction.

About this funder:

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