Community Grants Foster Resiliency

10 people with life vests on and holding paddles ready to go out on the water

The Foundation plays an active role in supporting conservation-focused non-profit organizations that have programs and activities that protect and restore landscapes and waterways in the Salish Sea region through the Community Grants program. The region includes northwest Washington and southwest portions of Canada.

The Foundation currently offers two levels of grants:

  • Level 1: These grants are limited to $5,000 or less for up to six organizations per year and are meant to support short-term projects in line with the Foundation’s mission and vision of conservation education. The deadline for these grants was March 6th. The recipients included Washington Association of Land Trusts, Pacific Shellfish Institute, Raincoast Conservation Foundation and Friends of the San Juans.
  • Level 2: The Paul Wiseman Conservation Education Grants are limited to two organizations per year and with a $15,000 limit for each grant. These grants can be used for more substantial conservation education projects with outlined goals and outcomes. The deadline for these grants in 2023 is Oct. 2nd.

To date, the Foundation has given a grand total of $3,054,225 in Community Grants, most of which are grants of $5,000 or less. That means thousands of groups across our region have received critical financial support from the Foundation to further their goals of environmental conservation and restoration, and host activities that inspire the next generation of conservationists. You can read about some of last year’s grant recipients here.

Last year, we incorporated diversity, equity, and inclusion into our grant deliberations to ensure that underserved and traditionally marginalized communities gain access to the outdoors. This has opened the doors to a welcoming space for everyone to enjoy nature. Last year, a Foundation grant to the Vamos Outdoors Project gave youth from Latine and migrant families the opportunity to experience whitewater rafting on the Nooksack River. You can read the story here.

As I noted in the April newsletter, a generous bequest from Norm Winn, a former board member and long-time conservation advocate, will allow the Foundation to begin awarding grants to organizations outside of the Salish Sea region. Stay tuned for more details on this new grant opportunity.

We could not be prouder of the legacy that the Foundation is creating through the Community Grants program.

– Jeff Wirtz, President