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Our Conservation Capacity program focuses on three initiatives that build upon the foundation's historic investments.

  • Inspire the next generation of conservation philanthropists
  • Strengthen the capacity of emerging conservation leaders and activists
  • Support a culture of innovation within conservation advocacy organizations

Participants in the Propel Leadership Institute for mid-level nonprofit professionals meeting with Senator Rebecca SaldaƱa..

Measures of success

By the time the foundation sunsets in 2020, we aim to see:

  • Increased dollars directed toward conservation organizations.
  • Enhanced donor capacity for making strategic investments in conservation nonprofits.
  • Increased ability of (and opportunity for) emerging leaders to step into leadership roles in conservation organizations.
  • Conservation organizations adopting the cultures, structures, and strategies needed to attract the next generation of leaders and advocates.
  • Expanded citizen engagement in conservation issues.

Photo via the Washington Bus Education Fund

Successes in conservation capacity

Interior Dept. protects globally-unique SW Oregon wildlands from mining.

Interior Dept. protects globally-unique SW Oregon wildlands from mining.

Two Southwest Oregon watersheds known for their wild salmon and steelhead, clean waters, natural and recreational resources, have received 20 years of protection from new hard rock mining projects. The protected area is a part of a vast, wild, largely roadless and globally unique environment bordered by the Pacific Ocean that is home to one of the highest concentrations of Wild and Scenic Rivers outside Alaska. The Brainerd Foundation supported American Rivers advocacy on this issue.

Read about more grantee successes »

Typical conservation capacity grantees

  • An organization that trains philanthropists and their advisors to give with strategic intent
  • A conservation organization that is actively identifying and engaging future leaders to shape its work
  • An advocacy organization pursuing fresh ideas and experimenting to broaden its reach and effectiveness

Photo via Earthjustice

Meet some of our grantees in conservation capacity

Meet more of our grantees »

Typical conservation capacity grants range from $10,000 to $50,000. Grants are awarded at one of three board meetings held each year. Proposals are accepted by invitation only.

Learn more about eligibility »