Request for Proposals

The 2024 RFP is now closed. It will reopen the first week of January 2025.

The land trust grant program will fund up to fourteen grants via two tracks:

Capacity and Partnership Projects:
6 grants of $5,000 each

Management and Restoration Projects:
8 grants of $25,000 each

This is an annual grant cycle with the RFP for the small grant program opening in January and proposals due by 11:59 p.m. on March 1. Funds are dispersed at the end of May.

The grant selection committee’s decisions will be based on the following considerations, summarized below as general evaluation criteria that pertain to all grants and grant specific evaluation criteria related to either the $5,000 or $25,000 grant tracks. Information about grant expectations and awards can be found here.

General Evaluation Criteria

  • Applicant organizations must reside within the U.S.
  • Project must accomplish or contribute to bird conservation on private lands through activities such as (but not limited to) strategic planning, outreach, habitat management, stewardship, bird monitoring, eBird use, capacity building, and land or easement prioritization.
  • Strong proposals for the $5K and $25K grants will include more than one of the above activities (note: these tracks do not fund land or easement acquisition).
  • Project partners should be engaged through the proposed work.
  • Proposal must articulate clear project objectives, detailed plan of activities, and expected conservation outcomes with associated measures of success.
  • Proposed objectives and activities should be accomplished within the stated grant period of one year, although extensions may be granted.
  • Co-funding is not required, but strong applications will be supplemented by in-kind or partner contributions, matching dollars, or other resources that will leverage the impact of the proposed work.
  • Project budget must include allowable expenses, such as indirect costs no greater than 10%, a budget justification, and project funds clearly delineated if included within a larger budget.
  • Applicant should demonstrate sufficient organizational capacity and commitment to complete, and sustain if applicable, the proposed grant-funded activities.
  • Proposals to build on previously funded projects from past awardees will be considered. They must demonstrate a high level of competence, accountability and due diligence, including satisfactory completion of previous award.
  • Past land trust awardees are free to apply again to expand their past project, repeat this work at a new preserve, or propose a different project supported by their land trust and partners.
  • Applicants can apply for any of the grant tracks and are welcome to submit or be a partner on more than one proposal for different projects. Expect only one request, for which you are a lead applicant, will be funded if selected.

Grant Specific Evaluation Criteria

Capacity and Partnership Grants
  • Projects must 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/or facilitate mutually beneficial collaborations and partnerships with the bird conservation community.
  • Requested grant funding should not exceed $5,000.
  • Applicant land trusts do not need to be accredited.
  • Priority will be given to the formation of new, regional or state based land trust collaboratives with multiple partners.
  • See Example Activities page for ideas of activities that we would consider funding under this grant track.

Management and Restoration Grants

  • 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.
  • Projects should 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.
  • Requested grant funding should not exceed $25,000.
  • Preference will be given to land trusts with previous habitat management experience.
  • See Example Activities page for ideas of activities that we would consider funding under this grant track.

If you have questions, please contact:
Sara Barker, Cornell Land Trust Bird Conservation Initiative Program Leader,

Many thanks to our generous donors!

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