LEAF Grant: Restoration, Conservation & Best Practices

Santa Barbara Foundation

Grant amount: Up to US $20,000

Next anticipated deadline: Jul 17, 2018

Later anticipated deadlines: Oct 2, 2018

Applicant type: Nonprofit College / University Museum/Library/Zoo

Funding uses: Education / Outreach

Location of project: Santa Barbara County, California

Location of residency: United States

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The Santa Barbara Foundation LEAF (Landscapes, Ecosystems, Agriculture, Food Systems) initiative seeks to increase community resiliency by preserving and enhancing the landscapes and systems that sustain nature, human health and our economy. The LEAF strategy includes development of a countywide Food

Action Plan and a Conservation Blueprint. In support of the initiative, the foundation is offering grants to
help strengthen the local food system, increase agricultural sustainability, and support land conservation,
habitat restoration and ecosystem health.

Focus & Priority

The Restoration, Conservation and Best Practices grants are to support habitat and ecosystem restoration, land conservation and innovative practices in agriculture, fisheries and resource management or  conservation. This component of the LEAF grant program provides funding to ensure momentum for
projects already underway, seed or kick-start new efforts, build capacity for future phases of larger projects, take advantage of emerging opportunities, and leverage funds or fulfill local matching grant requirements Projects may be on public or private lands or include government or private sector partners where there is a clear link for greater community benefit and alignment with a conservation strategy or community-driven planning effort.

In 2017, Restoration, conservation and Best Practices grants will be subject to availability after first priority
grants are awarded that align with the Santa Barbara County Food Action Plan. It is strongly recommended
that Restoration, Conservation and Best Practices grant applications call to discuss their projects in advance of submittal.  First priority for LEAF grants will be given to Food Systems projects that align
with one or more of the 16 goals and related strategies of the Santa Barbara County Food Action
Plan (SBFAP). 

Types of Support

Grants are available for:
  • Community-based restoration projects in wetlands and streams, coastal areas, grasslands, woodlands and other natural areas.
  • Early stage investigation or closing costs for land conservation efforts.
  • Piloting or expanding projects that demonstrate best practices in conservation, agriculture, grazing or fisheries.

The strongest projects will:

  • Create or expand partnerships, networks and collaborations for greater efficiencies, better delivery of services, or fresh approaches to solve problems or address needs, gaps, or opportunities.
  • Incorporate a community involvement, awareness or education element.
  • Align with or are part of a larger plan or strategy (internal or external to an organization).

Criteria by Project Type

Restoration Project Criteria:

  • Projects must have clearly defined goals and outcomes, and a strategy and timeline in place for achieving the stated goals. If the project is part of a larger or longer-term effort, the applicant must demonstrate how the project relates to subsequent work.
  • Projects must have (or be close to securing) all permits and landowner approvals/agreements, and be “shovel ready” within the one-year grant cycle beginning from date of award.
  • Projects should provide ecological value, aesthetic improvements or appropriately placed public access (trails, pathways, etc.). This may include restoration of habitat for specific species or general habitat types, or for accommodation of passive recreation and education for people.
  • Organization and/or project partners demonstrate capacity to manage scale and scope of the project.
  • Matching or leveraged funding is recommended. Request amounts should appropriately reflect the scale of the project.

Conservation Project Criteria:

  • Projects must have clearly defined strategies and timeline.
  • Projects should align with a conservation plan or strategy and be recognized as a valuable component of a longer-term plan or vision. This may include providing permanent (or long-term) protection for lands with high ecological or agriculture value, fulfilling a critical link for species, habitats or ecosystem function, or providing passive and educational access for people. Allowable projects include:
    • Planning, feasibility and study phases for new projects or emerging opportunities for early phases of land acquisition or easements. This may include good-faith deposits to begin landowner negotiations, appraisals or other land use investigations.
    • Closing or completion costs for land acquisition or easement purchase projects.
  • The organization and/or project partners demonstrate expertise and capacity in negotiating land deals, and have capacity to manage the scale and scope of the project to fruition.

Best Practices Project Criteria:

  • Projects must have clearly defined goals and outcomes, and a strategy and timeline in place for achieving the stated goals. If the project is part of a larger or longer-term effort, the applicant must demonstrate how the project relates to future work, including a financial sustainability concept or strategy for scaling up the project.
  • Project planning, implementation or investigation/research of best practices or innovative approaches must address a specific challenge or opportunity in achieving sustainable practices for Santa Barbara County agriculture, grazing, fisheries or resource conservation.
  • Pilot implementation or facility improvement projects should serve as a model that can be replicated and/or scaled up in the future.
  • Projects with collaborative partners will be most competitive for funding.

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


  • Organizations must be certified as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or use a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) tax status.
    • Organizations using a fiscal agent are asked to include a one-page letter signed by the fiscal agent’s executive director signifying the intent to serve as such and describing the relationship between the two groups.
  • The foundation accepts applications from public entities such as schools, universities, and libraries through an affiliate or supporting 501(c)(3) organization.
  • An agency acting as the fiscal sponsor on behalf of a community collaborative may be eligible to submit proposals on behalf of its own agency needs as well as the needs of the collaborative. 


  • Applications that do not contain a valid EIN (tax ID) number will not be considered. 
  • LEAF Grants are not made for:
    • Purchase of land or easements
    • Direct support to government agencies or private landowners (public or private entities may be part of a collaboration with a certified 501(c)(3) grantee)  
    • Permitting and application fees  
    • General operating support of an organization
  • In general, the Foundation does not make grants for the following purposes or activities:
    • Debt
    • Endowment
    • Fundraising events
    • Individuals
    • Reimbursement for activities that occurred prior to the grant award date
    • Influencing legislation and/or elections (within the meaning of section 4945(d)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code); except as that activity may be related to the purpose of the grant, and permitted for 501(c)(3) organizations by applicable law or Internal Revenue Service regulations.

About this funder:

View past grantees & full 990 summary