The Network for Landscape Conservation: Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund

Center for Large Landscape Conservation

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Next anticipated deadline: Mar 13, 2021 5:00pm PST (Pre proposal)

Later anticipated deadlines: May 29, 2021 (Full proposal)

Grant amount: US $10,000 - US $25,000

Fields of work: Land/Habitat Conservation

Applicant type: Indigenous Group, Government Entity, Nonprofit

Funding uses: Training / Capacity Building, Project / Program

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



The Network for Landscape Conservation

The Network for Landscape Conservation advances cross-border, collaborative conservation as a vital approach to sustain nature, culture, and community. We are fiscally sponsored by the Center for Large Landscape Conservation.

Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund

The Landscape Conservation Catalyst Fund is intended to help accelerate the pace and effective practice of place-based, collaborative landscape conservation across the United States. The Fund specifically seeks to build critical capacity and forward momentum in landscape conservation partnerships by supporting the key building block activities and collaborative processes that move partnerships forward.

For the 2019 grant cycle, the Catalyst Fund will consider proposals in two categories:

  • A General Catalyst Fund application process is open to all eligible landscape conservation partnerships in the United States.
  • An Indigenous Community Catalyst Fund application process is open to all eligible landscape conservation partnerships that are Indigenous-led and primarily serving Indigenous communities.

Fund Priorities

The Network for Landscape Conservation (NLC) seeks proposals that advance a collaborative landscape conservation partnership in specific, strategic ways. We are looking for proposals that clearly identify:

  • the partnership’s conservation vision and goals;
  • grant period objectives for building the partnership and advancing its conservation goals;
  • proposed activity(s) that will best achieve those objectives; and
  • how the grant will significantly advance partnership goals and catalyze forward momentum.

Although every partnership will be different, there are common steps many effective landscape conservation partnerships will take at different stages of growth. We ask applicants to carefully review the chart in the RFP Appendix, “Landscape Conservation Partnerships: Common Steps to Success” (or the “Chart”).

The Chart identifies three stages of partnership growth: “Starting,” “Building,” and “Conserving.” Please note that the Catalyst Fund’s primary focus is on aiding partnerships in the Building stage—where participants have already demonstrated a commitment to (and preliminary forward momentum in) developing and implementing a shared conservation vision and goals. In other words, participants have built the preliminary relationships and established the foundation of trust necessary for working together and moving forward. The Building stage is often the stage at which the volunteer time of the participants is no longer enough to sustain and build the partnership, and when funding to advance the collaborative process and specific building block activities will land on fertile ground, solidifying group momentum and accelerating forward progress.

Defining partnership stages is somewhat subjective. If potential applicants believe they have compelling projects in the Starting or Conserving stages that otherwise meet Catalysts Fund guidelines and objectives, they should connect with NLC staff per instructions in Section VIII of this RFP.

The Chart outlines “Common Steps to Success” regarding A) Conservation Objectives and Activities, and the interrelated B) Partnership Building Activities. This broad-brush thinking on approaches and activities provides background in framing a proposal, but is not prescriptive.

Each landscape conservation partnership should operate and develop strategies within the context of its mix of people, place, and priority issues. The Chart does not cover every type of partnership trajectory or activity. Instead, it is an informed framework that illustrates the kind of careful partnership building and strategic conservation planning we expect of applicants. In crafting a proposal, we ask applicants to identify the most impactful set of activities that will advance their partnership and conservation goals at this time, and that will optimize partnership momentum and conservation outcomes going forward. Applicants may apply for:

  •  Funding to support a priority activity(s) to advance specific objectives
    • The Fund will support a targeted project approach as long as the applicant demonstrates the priority value of the activity(s) in advancing the partnership’s conservation objectives and forward momentum. See sample “Conservation Objectives and Activities” in the Chart. Perhaps the partnership might undertake a conservation mapping and prioritization exercise, or a series of outreach activities to targeted stakeholders to increase partnership awareness and involvement.
  • Funding to support capacity building more broadly, including the collaborative process and multiple “steps to success”
    • The Fund will support general partnership building and coordination function as long as the grant period objectives and activities are clearly articulated and the applicant demonstrates how these activities will advance the partnership’s conservation objectives and forward momentum. See the various “Partnership Building” priorities and activities listed in the Chart. For example, the partnership might advance a suite of activities that a coordinator or others will implement during the grant period to strengthen and advance the partnership. This might include partnership meetings, governance, outreach, and communications tasks. Growing a robust partnership that achieves its conservation objectives involves a concerted focus on multiple, interrelated areas over time.

A Successful Indigenous Community Proposal to the Catalyst Fund

The Fund is looking for conservation partnerships that have been formed; where there is a record of commitment and convening; and where the participants have collaboratively crafted and approved a vision and goals statement for conserving the future health of the region. The Fund is looking for an indication that people have put in the time to build trust and commitment to working together to achieve the vision—and where funding will land on fertile ground and help move the partnership to the next stage.

Applicants may apply for funding for a specific, priority activity to advance the conservation objectives of the partnership, or they may apply for funds for convening and advancing the partnership more broadly (including funding to pay a coordinator for convening, strategic planning and other outreach and partnership-building)—as long as there is tangible justification for the proposed activities and how they are tied to advancing conservation objectives and building forward partnership momentum. 

In addition to the Fund priorities above, a successful Indigenous Community proposal:

  •  Emerges from the Indigenous community. Its purpose, design, and implementation strategy originate from the Indigenous peoples it serves
  • Has a clearly articulated conservation goal.
  • Engenders leadership and decision-making that are vested directly in the community that will be impacted.
  • Promotes traditional knowledge and the cultural lifeways of the community in some way.
  • Builds capacity that not only advances conservation goals in the long term but also impacts the largest number of people and broadest segments of the society as is practicable

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


  • Applicants must be U.S. based non-profit organizations with approved IRS 501(c)(3) status.
  • Grants can be awarded only in the 50 U.S. states, and only to non-profit organizations with approved IRS 501(c)(3) status.
    • NOTE: A landscape conservation partnership can apply directly if it is a non-profit organization with approved IRS 501(c)(3) status.
      • However, as many partnerships are informal collaboratives, we anticipate that in many cases eligible applicants will apply on behalf of a partnership because they are the fiscal sponsor organization of the partnership; the recognized lead convener of the partnership; or a recognized partner organization within the partnership.
      • Other involved partners (e.g., tribal governments, public agencies, academic institutions, for-profit entities, and other non-profit  organizations) may work on funded grant activities as paid contractors.
  • Applicants must apply on behalf of a landscape conservation partnership as defined, for purposes of this RFP, as:
    • Place-based: The partnership has a geographically explicit area of focus that is sufficiently large in scale to encompass a diversity of landowner types, conservation issues, jurisdictions, and stakeholder interests. (Landscape conservation partnerships can occur in all types and mixes of landscapes, including urban, suburban, rural, working, wild, and combinations thereof.)
    • Focused on a Shared, Long-term Vision: The partnership has articulated a long-term vision for the health and vitality of the defined landscape, encompassing people and nature.
    • Collaboratively Governed: Although one organization may play a lead convening/coordination role, a formal or informal governance structure or decision-making policy fosters collaborative leadership and participatory engagement of the partners.
    • Inclusive: The partnership approach emphasizes inclusive outreach and dialogue with various stakeholders on the landscape, informed by multiple interests and perspectives.
    • Informed: The partnership is committed to building the shared foundation of knowledge necessary to achieve its goals; this can include utilization of ecological, cultural, traditional, and social information. 
  • Applicants who represent a landscape partnership that is Indigenous-led and primarily serving an indigenous community(s) are eligible to apply through the specific Indigenous Community Catalyst Fund Application process
    • The landscape conservation partnership should be Indigenous-led, serving a primarily Indigenous community.
  • Funding can be used for:
    • staff or contract support in furtherance of partnership building and advancing conservation objectives in the specific ways outlined in the proposal.
    • direct costs—e.g., convening (space, food, lodging, and travel); web and print communications; outreach activities that educate and involve stakeholders; and costs involved in science-informed landscape conservation planning, mapping, and prioritization
  • Applicants must demonstrate a funding match of at least 1:1
    • Matching Funds: Matching Funds are not required for the Indigenous Community application, but proposals will be viewed favorably if they demonstrate
      • in-kind support from partners (time, meeting space, other); 
      • additional funding from other sources; and/or
      • a strategy for leveraging a Catalyst Fund grant to attract new funding to the partnership over time. 


  • Funding cannot be used for:
    • academic research or writing.
    • capital campaigns or capital improvements.
    • office equipment.
    • acquisition of land or conservation easements.
    • political lobbying.