New York State Conservation Partnership Program

Land Trust Alliance

Grant amount: Up to US $100,000

Anticipated deadline: Dec 8, 2018 2:00pm PST

Applicant type: Nonprofit College / University

Funding uses: Education / Outreach

Location of project: New York

Location of residency: United States

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Note: Letters of Inquiry are ONLY required for requests in the "Professional Development (Staffing) Grants" category.

The New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) is an innovative public-private partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Alliance’s New York Program. This program offers competitive matching grants to qualified New York land trusts to advance land conservation, economic development, farmland protection, community conservation and recreation and tourism.

From its first grants cycle in 2003 through 2016, the Conservation Partnership Program has awarded 719 grants totaling over $13.1 million to 85 land trusts in New York. This funding, provided by New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund, has leveraged more than $15 million in local matching funds and has helped land trusts conserve more than 24,500 acres of farmland, wildlife habitat, recreational areas and urban open spaces.

Grant Categories

Capacity and Excellence Grants

The purpose of Capacity & Excellence Grants is to build highly effective, sustainable land trusts by developing community programs and services, enhancing access to conserved lands, implementing Land Trust Standards and Practices, preparing for national accreditation and accreditation renewal, and increasing public support for a diverse spectrum of conservation, stewardship and related land trust activities across the state. The grant period for all Capacity & Excellence Grants is 18 months, from January 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018.

Capacity & Excellence Grants have three subcategories:

  • Capacity Grants: 
    • Up to $50,000 available for land trusts working to create and enhance appropriate access to conserved lands, develop stewardship, education and community outreach programs, and to increase their impact and sustainability as non-profit conservation organizations.
    • Capacity grants should also support land trust efforts to implement best business practices and may assist in preparation of accreditation and renewal of accreditation.
  • Assessment Grants
    • $5,000 available for land trusts to complete a facilitated assessment with an Alliance-trained and approved assessor, in order to evaluate progress towards implementing Land Trust Standards and Practices and/or to prepare for accreditation.
    • Assessment Grants require development of a work plan for implementing priority recommendations identified in the assessment process.
    • Grant funds are disbursed once the grantee has submitted a signed contract with an Alliance-trained assessor.
  • Stewardship Grants
    • Up to $10,000 are available for land trusts to improve record-keeping and update documentation for fee-owned properties and/or conservation easements.
    • This funding is intended to ensure best-practice documentation for "vintage" land and easement acquisition projects completed prior to 2016.

Professional Development (Staffing) Grants

Professional Development Grants of up to $75,000 are available for land trusts looking to professionalize and strengthen programs and services by adding critically needed, permanent staff.

These highly competitive grants are intended to support the creation and/or expansion of position(s) deemed necessary for the organization to significantly enhance its land conservation, stewardship, community outreach, education, research, fundraising and/or administrative capabilities.

Grant-funded positions are expected to be sustained by the land trust beyond the grant period. Funding should also further implementation of best practices in preparation for accreditation or renewal of accreditation. Position(s) funded with Professional Development Grants may be for part-time, seasonal or full-time employment. Contractors and term (non-permanent) positions are not eligible for this funding.

There are now two options for Professional Development Grant applicants:

  • a two-year (27 months) grant period
  •  a three-year (39 months) grant period. 
    • This grant period option is intended for smaller land trusts.

Conservation Catalyst Grants

Conservation Catalyst Grants of up to $50,000 are available to support collaborative projects that “catalyze” new partnerships and community-supported conservation, stewardship, and outreach initiatives. Projects should advance publicly supported open space priorities such as those identified in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan and/or other local, regional, or statewide land protection plans.

The Alliance encourages projects that will support land trust engagement in regional conservation partnerships, community conservation, climate smart initiatives, and conservation planning efforts targeting the most important and resilient resources and landscapes.

Conservation Catalyst projects should have clearly defined outcomes and deliverables, involve a measure of innovation for the land trust, engage multiple partners and stakeholders, and directly advance the land trust's mission, strategic goals, and programs. Demonstrated partner support is essential for successful applications.

The grant period for Conservation Catalyst Grants is 27 months, from January 1, 2017 to March 31, 2019. 

Transaction Grants

Transaction Grants of up to $50,000 are available for new conservation easement and fee-acquisition projects that will result in strategic, permanent protection of environmentally significant lands in New York. Projects that create, enhance and promote access for outdoor recreation and appropriate use by the general public are encouraged. Projects should advance publicly supported open space priorities such as those identified in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan and/or other local, regional, or statewide land protection plans. The Alliance encourages projects identified in strategic conservation plans targeting climate-resilient resources and landscapes.

Transaction grant funds are intended to cover indirect transaction costs including, but not limited to: project-related staff and/or contractor expenses, legal fees, surveys, baseline documentation, stewardship/management plans, and design and installation of public access improvements associated with the purchase, bargain-sale or donation of a conservation easement or fee property.

The grant period for Transaction Grants is 24 months, from January 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017. Land trusts are encouraged to apply for funds to retroactively cover project-related transaction expenses incurred in 2016. 

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


  • Eligibility requirements:
    • Applicant is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • Applicant’s mission is dedicated to land conservation and/or stewardship of conserved lands, and has formally adopted the Land Trust Alliances Land Trust Standards and Practices.
    • Applicant's service area is located within the State of New York. Grant funds are specifically intended for projects, programs and activities within the State of New York.
  • Conservation Partnership Program Grants require that the applicant land trust match the grant with non-State funds.
    • Capacity and Excellence Grants: 
      • Capacity Grants: A 25% match is required; up to 50% of which may be in-kind.
      • Assessment Grants: A $500 match is required (cash or inkind). 
      • Stewardship Grants: Matching funds are encouraged but not required.
    • Professional Development (Staffing) Grants
      • A 25% cash match commitment is required.
    • Conservation Catalyst Grants
      • A 25% match is required; up to 50% of which may be in-kind. 
    • Transaction Grants
      • A 25% cash match commitment is required. In accordance with best practices, at least 50% of the cash match commitment must be allocated to a designated stewardship fund, legal defense fund, or other board-designated reserve or endowment. 
  • Eligible land trusts may apply for more than one Conservation Partnership Program Grant (including more than one grant in the same category), but no land trust may receive more than $100,000 in total grant funding per grant cycle.


  • Note: Land Trust Alliance membership is not a prerequisite. However, non-member land trusts are encouraged to learn more about the benefits of land trust membership.
    • While accreditation is not a prerequisite, accreditation status (or applicant’s intention to become accredited) is a consideration in the grant evaluation process. 
  • Transaction Grants: Preference will be given to transactions that close in 2016, and projects under contract to close in early 2017.


  • Individuals are not eligible.
  • Capacity and Excellence Grants:
    • Stewardship Grants: Land trusts that have previously received a Stewardship Grant are not eligible at this time.
  • Transaction Grants: Transactions not expected to close in early 2017 and pending projects with uncertain timetables or other risk factors are best suited for a future grant cycle.

About this funder:

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