WCS Climate Adaptation Fund

Wildlife Conservation Society

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Grant amount: US $50,000 - US $250,000

Anticipated deadline: Apr 5, 2020 2:00pm PDT (Pre proposal)

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, Project / Program

Location of project: United States, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico Show all

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



Program Overview

With funding managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the WCS Climate Adaptation Fund will provide up to $2.5 million in competitive grants. Grants will be one to two years in length. Grants will be one to two years in length. Awards will be made to non-profit conservation organizations for applied, on-the-ground projects focused on implementing priority conservation actions in order to adapt to climate change at a landscape scale.

New this year: In addition to seeking innovative projects that support the ability of wildlife and ecosystems to adapt to a changing climate, the Climate Adaptation Fund is specifically inviting applications for projects that provide additional co-benefits, in particular those that reduce greenhouse gas emissions through methods like carbon sequestration (i.e., joint mitigation and adaptation, or JMA, projects). We are also encouraging projects that include a compelling plan to amplify adaptation outcomes through strategic communications, and that propose novel adaptation approaches or take relatively more common adaptation approaches to new geographies or a larger geographic scale.

Funding Priorities

The Climate Adaptation Fund seeks projects focused on achieving wildlife and ecosystem conservation outcomes in the face of a changing climate by supporting actions that anticipate and respond to potential climate change impacts and maximize long-term conservation success. To achieve these ends, the program prioritizes projects that manage for dynamic ecological processes, landscape functionality, and species assemblages, rather than those aimed at maintaining individual species or historical conditions that may not be possible in an altered climate. Applicants must specify the sources of science and analyses that provide the basis for their adaptation project, and articulate how that climate adaptation science informs the proposed conservation goals and actions. The program also prioritizes projects that use strategic communications activities to amplify their conservation and adaptation


The Climate Adaptation Fund is focused on a narrow range of wildlife conservation projects that are conducting applied, on-the-ground management for climate change adaptation, and that are able to achieve tangible outcomes over a two-year time frame. We acknowledge that there are other types of important adaptation projects underway for wildlife and ecosystems, including research and planning efforts, but we emphasize that this grant program aims to fill a specific niche, as described below and in the Applicant Guidance Document.

The WCS Climate Adaptation Fund will support projects that demonstrate land and water management techniques to assist wildlife adaptation to climate change, for example:

  • Projects that demonstrate applied management responses for wildlife adaptation in terrestrial, freshwater, or estuarine systems, including efforts to enhance resilience of climate-impacted habitats or facilitate their transition to a different yet functional ecological state.
  • Projects to enhance or sustain the adaptive capacity of ecosystems, landscape functionality, and critical biological processes in the face of climate change.
  • Projects that restore and sustain core habitat or create connectivity for fish and wildlife in order to achieve explicit climate adaptation goals.
  • Pilot projects to exhibit successful on-the-ground actions for climate adaptation that can be replicated across a landscape.
  • Projects that implement innovative or novel conservation activities in response to existing or expected climate-driven changes.
  • Projects that mitigate pressures on wildlife and ecosystems caused by current or potential human responses to the impacts of climate change.
  • Projects that help wildlife and ecosystems respond and adapt to climate changes while also providing co-benefits, including climate mitigation benefits.
The Climate Adaptation Fund supports projects taking place in terrestrial, freshwater, or estuarine systems; the Fund only supports implementation work in marine environments if there is a direct benefit to terrestrial species, terrestrial ecosystems, or marine species that also rely heavily on terrestrial habitat (e.g., species that use terrestrial haul-out sites or nesting locations). We seek to support a mix of projects taking place in urban, rural, and wildland setting. 

Please read the full RFP and Applicant Guidance Document for detailed information on programmatic priorities and guidelines for writing a competitive proposal. 

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


  • This program provides grants to U.S.-based non-profit conservation organizations with approved IRS 501(c)(3) status.
  • Grants can be awarded for projects only within the 50 U.S. states and U.S. territories.
  • Public agencies, tribal governments and universities may partner on proposals submitted by an eligible non- profit conservation organization or work as paid contractors on funded projects.
    • We encourage and expect that many project proposals will emerge from collaborations between the applicant organization and any number of partners from academia, public agencies, and other non-profit organizations.


  • The WCS Climate Adaptation Fund is unable to make grants to:
    • for-profit corporations, 
    • individuals,
    • universities,
    • public agencies,
    • municipalities, or
    • other types of government entities.
  • The WCS Climate Adaptation Fund is unable to support the following types of activities:
    • land acquisition and conservation easements (both capital and non-capital costs),
    • building construction,
    • offshore marine conservation,
    • political lobbying,
    • organizational capacity building (e.g., fundraising costs, staff training, etc.),
    • captive breeding,
    • zoo exhibits,
    • direct cash payments to private individuals,
    • lethal eradication of wildlife,
    • carbon offset project design, or
    • tool development.
  • Proposals that are primarily focused on conducting scientific research, data collection or planning will not be considered.