About the Fund
California is blessed with tremendous natural beauty, biological diversity and economic opportunity. Yet, our remaining wildland heritage is in jeopardy from poorly managed growth and development. Californians have long recognized the importance of preserving our spectacular and precious wildlands. The California Wildlands Grassroots Fund (Cal Wildlands) was established to support the heroic efforts of activists to preserve California’s wildlands.
Cal Wildlands supports conservationists advocating for the permanent protection, including restoration and stewardship, of intact wildlands on both public and private lands to help preserve California’s wilderness and native biological diversity. Cal Wildlands defines “wildlands” as natural habitats, privately or publicly owned, that are (or have the potential to be) permanently preserved through legislation or deed restrictions, and are on a scale necessary to support significant native plant and animal life. Though many of our grantees’ projects are in rural areas, we may also support projects near urban or suburban settings, provided they feature connectivity to larger protected areas and/or are located along critical wildlife corridors.
Efforts to advance wildlands and open space protection through county general plans and other local planning mechanisms may be eligible for funding. Cal Wildlands also supports policy advocacy, litigation and regulatory watchdogging at the local, state and federal levels if the project objective is to protect wildlands.
COVID-19 Emergency Update
During the public health emergency, the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund remains fully active and committed to supporting grassroots initiatives to preserve and defend California’s unique natural places. We recognize the challenge in providing precise workplans at this time, and encourage applicants to anticipate the need for flexibility in the specifics of your workplan and focus your application on the larger goals and outcomes you need to achieve. If relevant, please describe how your strategies are affected by social distancing requirements and the overarching COVID focus of our current media landscape. We also encourage requests to fund efforts to convert from in-person advocacy and outreach to online or virtual engagement strategies.
In light of current circumstances, we are relaxing our focus on project-specific requests and will fully accept general support proposals from organizations whose overall work aligns directly with the fund’s objectives to preserve and protect California’s unique and precious wild places.
Cal Wildands will accept applications at any time. Funding decisions are made on a quarterly basis. If you’d like to submit your application in time for a specific quarterly review, then please turn in applications by 5 pm on the following days:
- February 15 for the spring review
- May 15 for the summer review
- August 15 for the fall review
- October 28 for the winter review
If the deadline falls on a holiday or weekend, then applications will be due the next business day at 5 pm.
LATE OR INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.
Please note that it may take one day or more to complete the application form, so plan accordingly!
To be eligible to apply to the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund, you must be able to answer YES to the following eligibility requirements/questions:
- Are you and your organization based in California? If you think your organization meets the intent of this requirement even though you or your organization’s mailing address are located outside California, please explain why your organization qualifies for funding. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
- Were your organization’s actual annual expenses $150,000 or less last year? Was your actual annual income $150,000 or less last year?
- Does your organization have a 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, or is it a sponsored project of a 501(c)(3) organization?
- If you are an individual, are you affiliated with a 501(c)(3) organization?
- Is your funding request $7,500 or less?
- If you have received a grant from Cal Wildlands in the past, has it been 12 months since you last applied?
- If you have received a grant from Cal Wildlands in the past, have you reported on your previous grant?
If you answer NO to any of these questions, you will not qualify for a grant from the California Wildlands Grassroots Fund.
FUNDING PRIORITIES, Eligibility and Tips
Click here to get more information about our funding priorities, eligibility requirements and tips for applicants.
How to Apply
Please check all eligibility requirements before starting the online application. Click here to apply and get tips to improve your application.
Annual Grassroots Convening
In conjunction with the Northern California Environmental Grassroots Fund, Cal Wildlands hosts an annual convening of all its grantees. The day-long session is a time for learning and networking, and is usually built around a central theme, such as fundraising or communicating your group’s story. Click here to learn about the next Grassroots Annual Convening.
Grant Reporting Instructions
If your group is awarded a grant, you must provide a final grant report within one year of receiving the money, or before your group can receive additional funding. Click here for the grant reporting instructions.
Current and Past Grantees Grants
See previous Cal Wildlands grantees here as examples of the types of groups we fund.