Opportunity Fund (Inquiry)

The Brainerd Foundation

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Grant amount: US $500 - US $5,000

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Nonprofit

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

Location of project: Canada, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon Show all

Location of residency: Canada, United States

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About this funder:



About the Brainerd Foundation

Our mission is to protect the environment of the Northwest and to build broad citizen support for conservation.The Brainerd Foundation is a Northwest-focused family foundation that provides funding and expertise to strengthen the ability of nonprofits, communities, and decision-makers to protect our region's air, land, and water.

We support conservation efforts in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. This region has abundant natural resources, vast areas of undisturbed wildlands, and thriving populations of humans, wildlife, fish, and native plant species.

Opportunity Fund
Supporting Northwest conservation organizations confronted with unanticipated, timely opportunities to protect critical ecosystems, impact significant conservation policy debates, or address critical organizational concerns.

Because the best-laid plans can change, the Brainerd Foundation designates a limited amount of funds to Opportunity Fund grants. These small grants aim to support projects that address a need or opportunity unforeseen during an organization's annual planning process.

We are specifically interested in meeting needs that pertain to outreach , but grants from this fund can also be used for emergent litigation, applied research, and other unexpected needs. Funds may also be granted to support leadership development within organizations.

Priority is given to requests that fit into a broader strategy or campaign being pursued by conservation advocates in the state or region.

 Examples of Past Opportunity Fund Grants

  • In response to a recent surge of wind energy development, a grantee authored an analysis of locations with high wind power potential and low wildlife conflicts. Opportunity Fund support was used to share the findings with wind industry representatives, government regulators, and local conservation groups.
  • To most effectively leverage a recently released report on the effects of climate change on their watershed, a grantee used Opportunity Fund dollars to convene a summit of public officials, river advocates, and water users to re-envision how water is used locally.
  • To support staff during a leadership transition at an environmental nonprofit, Opportunity Fund support was used to send the new executive director to a leadership training institute. 

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


  • To be considered for a Brainerd Foundation grant, applicants must be involved in programs that augment regional conservation efforts within the following geographic funding region:
    • Alaska
    • British Columbia
    • Idaho
    • Montana
    • Oregon
    • Washington
  • The foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations classified as 501(c)(3) public charities by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, or to Canadian organizations deemed equivalent by the foundation.


  • We do not fund projects related to:
    • Academic research
    • Books, videos, and television or film projects that are not components of a broader strategy
    • Direct land purchases or easements
    • Endowments, debt reduction, or cash flow shortfalls
    • K-12 school education programs
    • Programs with an exclusive focus on marine conservation
    • Structures, capital improvements or campaigns
    • Support or opposition of any candidate for political office
  • We do not make grants to individuals or for-profit organizations. 
  • The foundation cannot earmark any portion of its grants for use in lobbying or influencing legislation. 
    • The foundation may consider funding projects that include both lobbying and nonlobbying activities if a detailed budget that breaks out lobbying and nonlobbying expenses is provided, so long as the amount of a project grant requested does not exceed the nonlobbying expenses.