2020 Request for Proposals

January 7, 2020
Photo credit: Mike Lentz via Birdshare


Please fill out an online application form.


The 2020 RFP is now closed. We anticipate the next RFP round opening in January 2021. Thank you for your interest in the program!

This year the grant program will fund eight grants – three at $5,000 and five at $20,000. Grants will support land trusts and their partners in accomplishing bird conservation on private lands through activities such as strategic planning, outreach, habitat management, stewardship, and capacity building. In addition to funding, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will provide technical support and advice to recipients.

  • The $5,000 awards will be given to projects that facilitate bird-focused conservation projects. We are looking for land trusts working collaboratively with multiple partners and/or who are willing to pass along their project ideas and lessons-learned to other land trusts by presenting a talk at a regional meeting, hosting a workshop, or presenting at the Land Trust Alliance Rally. Our goal is to build land trust capacity by teaching or demonstrating how birds can enhance strategic planning and mission fulfillment of land trusts (e.g. using eBird as a conservation planning tool), and facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations with the bird conservation community. Priority will be given to the formation of new, regional or state based land trust collaboratives with multiple partners – for examples of collaboratives, see the St. Lawrence Valley Collaborative and the Western Vermont Collaborative.
  • The $20,000 awards will support projects that actively manage, restore, and/or steward land in a way that enhances habitat and promotes bird conservation, with special emphasis on priority species or those identified in State Wildlife Action Plans. Preference will be given to land trusts with management experience. Previous small grant awardees are welcome to apply, especially if it takes the initial project to the next level and builds on the successes generated from the previous award. To see examples of the types of activities that we would consider funding with a $20,000 award, visit the Small Grant Example Activities page. To see examples of previously funded awards, visit the 2019 Small Grant Awardees.

Applications are due March 1, 2020 with funds dispersed at the end of May 2020. Currently we are only able to fund organizations in the U.S.

-This is an annual grant cycle. The next RFP for the small grant program will likely be announced in January 2021 with proposals due in March 2021.

-To apply for a $20,000 grant, your organization should either be an accredited land trust or be working with an accredited land trust as a partner. Ideally the lead applicant should be the accredited land trust.

-Applicants can apply for either amount and are welcome to submit or be a partner on more than one proposal for different projects. Please note we will only fund one of your requests for which you are a lead applicant.

-Applicants should articulate clear project objectives, plan of activities, and expected conservation outcomes with associated measures of success. Visit the application page to view the proposal questions and begin filling out an application.

-Co-funding is not required, but applications will be strengthened if funds are supplemented by in-kind or partner contributions, matching dollars, or other resources that will leverage the impact of the proposed work.

-Indirect costs cannot exceed 10%.

-Recipients are required to submit periodic progress reports as well as a final report describing the project objectives, methods, outcomes, and use of funds at the end of the year grant period.

-Bird data associated with funded projects must be entered in eBird.

-The Cornell Lab will feature the funded projects on the Lab’s websites, in Land Trust Initiative materials, and on social media.

If you have questions, please contact:
Sara Barker, Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative Program Leader, sb65@cornell.edu


Many thanks to the March Conservation Fund for their support!