Town Creek Foundation Grants

Town Creek Foundation

Grant amount: Approximately US $200,000

Next anticipated deadline: Dec 1, 2018 (Letter of inquiry)

Later anticipated deadlines: Apr 2, 2019 (Letter of inquiry)

Applicant type: Nonprofit Government Entity

Funding uses: General Operating Expense, Applied Project / Program

Location of project: Maryland

Location of residency: United States

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The Town Creek Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation dedicated to a sustainable environment. In support of this mission, we make grants to non-profit organizations that work to promote ecological sustainability.

Chesapeake Bay Program

Maryland faces a powerful set of interconnected challenges in the 21st century. Our leaders will need to make wise decisions and take bold actions to protect and restore the state’s natural resources, to prudently manage the state’s economy, and to guide the state’s politics in a manner that distributes opportunity as broadly as possible. In recent years Maryland’s citizens have recognized the critical importance of the natural resource challenge, especially as regards restoring the Chesapeake Bay and confronting climate change.

The importance of restoring the Chesapeake Bay has long been an animating concern for the Town Creek Foundation. The Chesapeake Bay watershed is one of the most extraordinary places in America, and its network of streams, creeks and rivers hold tremendous ecological, cultural, economic, historic and recreational value for the region and its citizens. Given its centrality to the history of our region, and to our region’s environmental advocacy, its condition may be the most important barometer that we have of our ability to live sustainably.

In the Spring of 2009, President Obama issued the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order which has established an unprecedented implementation and accountability framework for cleaning up the Bay. Acknowledging the failure of the decades old voluntary approach to Bay restoration, this new framework allocates pollution budgets to each of the six Bay states, and establishes federal consequences if the states do not meet their reduction obligations in a timely manner. On the whole, the accountability structure anticipates having all necessary pollution reduction measures in place by the year 2025. In accordance with this accountability framework, Maryland has committed to reduce its Bay pollution by 20% by the year 2020.

The Town Creek Foundation is committed to helping Maryland exceed its Bay pollution reduction goals. In support of this commitment we are making grants to help ensure that state and local leaders – government officials, politicians, business and agricultural interests, environmental advocates and ordinary citizens – have the technical capacity, political will and public support necessary for developing, implementing, and sustaining robust pollution reduction strategies.

Climate Change

Once habitable Hoopers Island, now under waterThere is no doubt within the scientific community that the earth is warming, that that warming is significantly caused by human actions, and that that warming may have catastrophic consequences if left unabated. The most dramatic impacts on Maryland are likely to be associated with sea level rise. With 7,000 miles of shoreline Maryland’s vulnerability to sea level rise is amongst the highest in the nation. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at the present rate sea level will rise by over 2 feet along Maryland’s shoreline causing the disappearance of islands and wetlands as well as increasing risk for coastal communities and some of the oldest parts of our historic port cities. These are just the most dramatic climate change impacts, however. Virtually all aspects of life for Marylanders will ultimately be impacted by climate change.

Although Maryland is a small state, it is responsible for nearly as many greenhouse gas emissions as Sweden and Norway combined. Since 1990 our gross emissions have increased by about 18%, a more rapid rate of growth than overall U.S. emissions. Since 2006 Maryland has taken major steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from cars and power plants, and to increase energy efficiency in the State. In 2009 it became among a small handful of states to establish ambitious goals for dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions society-wide. The Greenhouse Gas Reductions Act of 2009 commits the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.

Climate change is a global problem that Maryland’s reductions will not solve. Maryland’s reductions will count for Maryland, however. They will make the state more sustainable and resilient, and they will establish leadership examples for other states, and for the nation as a whole, to follow.

The Town Creek Foundation is committed to helping Maryland exceed its greenhouse gas reduction goals. In support of this commitment we are making grants to help identify and pursue necessary new laws, policies and regulations, and to promote strong leadership and bold strategies from office holders, advocates and citizens.


SustainabilityThe Town Creek Foundation is committed to helping the State of Maryland exceed its ambitious goals to reduce its pollution of the Chesapeake Bay and its greenhouse gas emissions. We are working closely with many partners who are sharply focused on these goals, and our commitment is shaped and informed by their dedication and diligence.

Our commitment is also informed by our understanding that a dying Bay and a changing climate are dramatic symptoms of broad systemic dysfunction. We may experience them as local events – dead zones, vanishing marsh, silted streams, and disappearing islands – but they are also manifestations of a global system in crisis. This is a system in which political and economic logics drive the depletion of resources at rates beyond which they can be replenished, and the generation of wastes at rates beyond which the biosphere can absorb them. This ecological imbalance is the signature of the climate crisis, the deforestation crisis, the desertification crisis, the water crisis, the fisheries crisis, and, yes, the dead zones in the Bay.

Embattled ecosystems are prone to producing dramatic waves of economic and political instability. Our current ecological crises are having extraordinary consequences for us all as they reverberate and ramify through our interconnected global system. We do not believe that Maryland can be immune from these impacts, but we do believe that it can become more resilient to them. Maryland’s ambitious initiatives to restore the bay and reduce our global warming footprint are important steps towards greater sustainability and resilience, but they are not enough.

These initiatives are consensus products of a particular political moment. They are powerful because they are well calibrated to shrewd calculations of how much change this particular political consensus will bear.

While this consensus empowers these initiatives it also limits their reach. For the most part this consensus ignores the consequences of planetary finitude, operating as if ‘balancing the economy and the environment’ can and should mean protecting our ecological systems while also continuing to consume and dispose of ever increasing amounts of ‘stuff’.

Bringing the economy and the environment into balance does not mean protecting the environment only so long as doing so won’t undermine economic growth. It means right sizing and reorganizing the economy so that it can sustain itself on a finite planet. In an increasingly unstable, crisis-prone world true sustainability and resilience will require fundamental transformations of the systems (including the value systems) by which everyday life is organized. Preeminent amongst these are the systems by which we create and consume energy, food, and materials; and the systems by which we make and enforce social decisions.

The Town Creek Foundation is committed to helping promote progress towards true sustainability and resilience for Maryland. In support of this commitment we are making grants to help promote public dialogue about the systemic challenges that the State faces, and to help leaders and emerging leaders better understand and pursue the transformational opportunities facing Maryland in the 21st Century.

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


  •  Town Creek Foundation makes grants only to public charities classified as tax-exempt under section 501©(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • The foundation makes both general and project support grants.
  • Ask for what you need. There is no penalty for asking for more money than we might consider appropriate.


  • The Foundation does not provide grants for:
    • programs or organizations outside of the United States
    • individuals
    • primary and secondary schools
    • colleges or universities, except when some aspect of their work is an integral part of a program supported by the Foundation
    • hospitals or health care institutions
    • ministry or religious programs
    • endowment, capital or building fund campaigns, or for the purchase of land and/or buildings
    • research or scholarship programs
    • conferences that are not part of a program supported by the Foundation
    • publication of books and periodicals
    • visual or performing arts projects