The Santa Barbara Foundation is excited to announce the second year of the Conservation, Environment, and Public Trails Grant Program. This grant program will support conservation, environment, and public trails projects across Santa Barbara County, with a preference given to those on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County from Point Conception to the Ventura County line and the Santa Ynez Valley.
The South Coast of Santa Barbara County has a long history of improving the environment, and cherishing and preserving the scenic beauty of the area for future generations. Beginning with one of the most formative events in the modern environmental movement, the blowout at Union Oil’s Platform A in the Santa Barbara Channel on January 28, 1969, and the fouling of the ocean and coastline that occurred as a result, the community and its nonprofits have been at the forefront of conservation and environment protection.
In recent years, the Santa Barbara Foundation’s investments in the environment have included development of a countywide Food Action Plan and Network, Conservation Blueprint, funding to preserve places such as the Point Sal Reserve and North Campus Open Space, and capacity building for nonprofit organizations. With our funding partners, the Foundation is offering grants to increase environmental sustainability, land conservation, habitat restoration, public trails, and ecosystem health.
Funding can be used for new or existing projects that meet demonstrated need.
In summary, funded organizations will:
- carry out projects to address conservation, environment and public trails.
- be well-managed, financially viable, and operate effective projects.
- have developed short-term and long-term strategies for addressing identified organizational needs.
Priority will be given to organizations that are engaged in one or more of the following:
- Preserving and ensuring equitable access to the region’s natural resources and trail systems;
- Community-based restoration projects in wetlands and streams, coastal areas, grasslands, woodlands and other natural areas;
- Early stage investigation such as appraisal fees, environmental due diligence, and title research, or closing costs for land conservation efforts;
- Piloting or expanding projects that demonstrate best practices in conservation;
- A preference to organizations whose focus is on the South Coast of Santa Barbara County from Point Conception to the Ventura County line and the Santa Ynez Valley.
The strongest projects will:
- Create or expand partnerships, networks and collaborations for greater efficiencies, better delivery of programs, or fresh approaches to solve problems or address needs, gaps, or opportunities.
- Incorporate a community involvement, awareness or education element.
- Align with or be a part of a larger plan or strategy such as Santa Barbara County’s Conservation Blueprint, Food Action Plan, Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment (SBA CEVA), Coastal Trail Alignment Study, etc.
Criteria by Type of Project
Projects must have clearly defined goals and outcomes and a strategy and timeline in place for achieving the stated goals. If the project is part of a larger or longer-term effort, the applicant must demonstrate how the project relates to future work, including a financial sustainability concept or strategy for scaling up the project. The applicant and/or project partners demonstrate the capacity to manage the scale and scope of the project. Matching or leveraged funding is recommended, but not required.
Trails Access Project Criteria:
- Projects should provide ecological value, aesthetic improvements or appropriately placed public access (trails, pathways, etc.). This may include restoration of habitat for specific species or general habitat types, or for accommodation of passive recreation and education for people.
- Applications may include planning for new trails, new trail construction, trail restoration, trail head facilities, lease of heavy equipment, purchase of hand tools to construct/renovate trails, water trail facilities, and educational programs.
- Land acquisition for trail purposes must have (or be close to securing) all permits and landowner approvals/agreements, and be “shovel ready” within the one-year grant cycle beginning from date of award.
Conservation Project Criteria:
- Projects should align with a conservation plan or strategy and be recognized as a valuable component of a longer-term plan or vision. This may include providing permanent (or long-term) protection for lands with high ecological or agriculture value, fulfilling a critical link for species, habitats or ecosystem function, or providing passive and educational access for people. Allowable projects include:
- Planning, feasibility, and study phases for new projects or emerging opportunities for early phases of land acquisition or easements. This may include good-faith deposits to begin landowner negotiations, appraisals, or other land use investigations.
- Closing or completion costs for land acquisition or easement purchase projects.
- Efforts to preserve critical habitats or species.
- Educational projects related to climate resilience, habitats, or threatened species conservation.
Environmental Project Criteria:
- Project planning, implementation or investigation/research of best practices or innovative approaches must address a specific challenge or opportunity in achieving sustainable practices for land, forestry, or water management.
- Pilot implementation or facility improvement projects should serve as a model that can be replicated and/or scaled up in the future.
- Projects with collaborative partners will be most competitive for funding.
Funding Amounts and Duration
The maximum award for Conservation, Environment and Public Trails grants is $25,000. The grant review panel may reduce or increase award amounts at its discretion. The grant period is up to one year from the award date. As a final report for this work, we are planning on gathering data by hosting a convening with other recipients of the program area in 2023 and having grantees complete a pre-convening survey.
Grants in the Conservation, Environment, and Public Trails Grant program areas are not intended for:
- Direct purchase of land or easements that have raised less than 90% of funds required
- Direct support to government agencies or private landowners (grantees must be a 501(c)(3) organization and serve as the primary project lead agency; public or private entities may be part of a collaboration)
- Advocacy and lobbying activities
Please visit the Eligibility Criteria & FAQs for a complete list of what the Foundation does not fund.
- Grants are available to organizations providing programming in Santa Barbara County
- Organizations must be certified as tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code or use a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) tax status. Applications that do not contain a valid EIN (tax ID) number will not be considered. Organizations using a fiscal sponsor must review the Eligibility Criteria & FAQs for additional information and instructions.
|August 26, 2022
|November 22, 2022
For questions regarding the Conservation, Environment and Public Trails Grant program area and funding eligibility, please contact Jenny Kearns, Director of Grantmaking, at jkearns@SBFoundation.org or (805) 880-9363.
For technical assistance, please contact Shelby Cripe, Data Processor, at (805) 880-9399 or scripe@SBFoundation.org.