Grant Making FAQ


  • As the only nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and expanding America’s National Conservation Lands – 37 million acres (and growing!) of public lands, rivers, and trails managed by the Bureau of Land Management-- CLF focuses on funding community partners and community-led movements that:

    • Advance campaigns for new, or expansions of existing, units of the National Conservation Lands;
    • Respond to a conservation opportunity or urgent crisis that affect existing and potential units of the National Conservation Lands; and
      Increase the diversity of voices and communities in our movement, advocacy, education and partnership for the National Conservation Lands.
  • CLF was founded on the belief that America’s public lands are best protected through the enduring dedication of local communities. Therefore, CLF funds nonprofit, community-based organizations that align with our goals and strategies to protect, restore, and expand the National Conservation Lands through education, advocacy and partnerships. Grants are awarded by CLF staff and Board of Trustees to organizations identified by our field program team.

  • No, grant proposals are by invitation only. Grantees are identified by our field program staff to optimize the time grantees spend crafting proposals that fit CLF’s priorities. Grantees are also typically members of our Friends Grassroots Network. To receive more information about the Friends Network or to join the Friends Network email [email protected].

  • Yes, fiscal sponsors are permitted.

  • Yes, grantees can provide comments to program staff or by emailing [email protected]. Every few years CLF also retains a third-party partner to solicit anonymous feedback from grantees.

  • Yes, for the past several years CLF has been collecting grantee demographic data to improve our grantmaking practices and advance our commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. In addition, CLF has partnered in the past with the Center for Effective Philanthropy to collect and analyze this data. Data provided upon request.

  • Grants are typically awarded to organizations in the fall or spring of each year, coinciding with meetings of the CLF Board of Trustees. Organizations may receive one-year grants or, in some cases, receive grants over a multi-year period. Staff also award mini-grants (up to $10,000) throughout the year.

  • CLF was founded in 2007 and began making grants in 2008. With a founding staff of three people, CLF gave out six inaugural “capacity” grants to groups in four states. Those groups were Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, Friends of Ironwood Forest, Friends of Missouri Breaks, Cienegas Watershed Partnership, Oregon Natural Desert Association, and Friends of Agua Fria National Monument.

    The Friends Grassroot Network was created and branded in 2009-10--with approximately 24 organizations. CLF organized the first Friends Grassroots Network Summit (previously referred to as the Rendezvous) in 2010. The number of organizations in the network and those receiving grants from CLF continued to grow every year.

    In 2012-13, capacity grants were renamed “constituency” grants. And in 2021, CLF initiated multi-year grants that allow long-term Friends Network partners to receive the same grant amount for three or four consecutive years.

    Over the years, CLF grants helped create or serve as early “seeds” for new organizations--many of which directly helped establish new National Conservation Lands units, and they continue to thrive today.

    There are now 81 groups in the Friends Grassroots Network. In 2023, CLF gave out 86 grants in 11 states, totalling $1,952,000. The 2024 grantmaking budget is $2 million