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.

Idaho cottage foods on display.
Idaho cottage foods on display. Photo by the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils.

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 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.

The Taku River in Southeast Alaska drains a watershed equivalent in size to the state of Massachusetts.
The Taku River in Southeast Alaska drains a watershed equivalent in size to the state of Massachusetts. Photo by Southeast Alaska Conservation Council.

Meet some of our grantees who have received opportunity fund grants

Meet more of our grantees »

Opportunity fund grants range from $500 to $5,000. Inquiries are accepted on an ongoing basis. Grants are awarded year-round at staff discretion. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Learn more about eligibility »