California Wildlands Grassroots Fund Grant

Rose Foundation

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Grant amount: Up to US $7,500

Next anticipated deadline: May 15, 2020 5:00pm PDT

Later anticipated deadlines: Aug 15, 2020 5:00pm PDT, Oct 28, 2020 5:00pm PDT, Feb 15, 2021 5:00pm PST

Applicant type: Nonprofit Working Professional

Funding uses: Research, Training / Capacity Building, Capital Project, Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: California

Location of residency: California

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About this funder:



About the Fund

California is blessed with tremendous natural beauty, biological diversity and economic opportunity. Yet, our remaining wildland heritage is in jeopardy from poorly managed growth and development. Californians have long recognized the importance of preserving our 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 our grantees’ projects are in rural areas, we 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 and Who We Support

Because of the complex network of agencies, stakeholders, processes, and programs that affect land and habitat issues in California, wildlands protection efforts are challenging. That is why the Cal Wildlands Fund provides a broad range of support for activists and organizations working to protect wildlands and habitat throughout the state. 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.

The strategies we support include, but are not limited to the following:

  • 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 we support 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.

Other Parameters and Requirements

  • Typical grants range between $2,500-$6,000.
  • Maximum grant is $7,500.
  • If your organization’s actual annual income and expenses are $30,000 or less, we strongly encourage you to request a grant of $5000 or less.
  • If your organization’s actual annual income and expenses are between $50,000-$150,000, you may request up to $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.
  • The fund prioritizes project-specific requests. We will support stipends for organizers; portions of staff salaries linked with a project; consulting fees for technical experts; equipment purchase; and research costs.
  • Our goal is to help as many organizations throughout the state as possible and, as a result, we are not always able to provide 100 percent of the funding requested.

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


  • 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?


  • We do not fund beach clean-ups.
  • We do not fund film or video production or completion, although we will fund outreach or communications strategies that use films or videos as advocacy and organizing tools.
  • Cal Wildlands cannot make grants directly to individuals.