Please Note: We are closing our doors at the end of 2020 and grants from this program will be available primarily to our current grantees. Read more about our sunset here.

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.


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.

Photo via Ground Truth Trekking.

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 »