Volunteers at a National Public Lands Day

2021 Biodiversity Conservation Grant

With major support from Toyota Motor North America, the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) is pleased to announce $225,000 in grant funding to support biodiversity conservation projects on public lands within the California Floristic Province ecological region.

California Floristic Province

NEEF Funding Priorities

  • Conservation Projects: The purpose of this funding is to support a cohort of conservation projects all working within the same ecological region. Individual projects should focus on protection of biodiversity in the California Floristic Province. Projects must contribute to the 2021 Biodiversity Conservation Grant Program’s conservation priorities and report on the key performance indicators (KPIs) listed below.
  • Public Engagement: Additionally, the project should provide opportunities to engage the public through volunteer and community engagement events designed to educate and empower the public to address local biodiversity issues in their communities.
  • Target Location: NEEF and Toyota will focus the 2021 Biodiversity Conservation grants on the California Floristic Province. The California Floristic Province (CFP) is a region with a Mediterranean-type climate located on the Pacific Coast of North America. This biodiversity hotspot, which experiences hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters, is known for being the home of the endangered giant sequoia tree and coast redwood. The CFP was designated as a biodiversity hotspot in 1996, joining 33 other areas in the world with many endemic species. To be named a biodiversity hotspot, an area must contain species and plant life that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The CFP is home to over 3,000 species of vascular plants, 60% of which are endemic to the province.


The grant competition will be a two-part process. Those interested in applying must first submit a Letter of Intent (LOI). NEEF will then select and invite LOI finalists to submit a full application for review. From that pool, NEEF will then choose its grantees. The timeline is as follows:

  • LOI opens: October 15, 2020
  • LOI deadline: November 25, 2020
  • Finalists invited to submit Application: January 2021
  • Application due: January 29, 2021
  • Grants awarded: February 2021
  • Grant period: February 2021 – February 2023
  • Reporting deadlines:​
    • August 2021
    • February 2022
    • August 2022
    • March 2023


  • Open to non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, state or federal government agencies, federally recognized tribes and local governments, and educational institutions.*
  • Must have been in existence for at least two (2) years.
  • Private for-profit firms and individuals are not eligible to apply.
  • Grant funding may not be used to support political advocacy, fundraising, lobbying, litigation, terrorist activities, or Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
  • Must meet the funding criteria (below).

*One organization can submit more than one LOI.

LOI Criteria

  • Applicants can request a max of $55,000 to be spent over two (2) years.
  • Describe the biodiversity conservation projects that will take place during the grant period and how they will address a regional ecological issue. Proposed projects must be technically sound and apply the best available science and generally accepted best management practices for conservation of critical habitat and species specific to their ecological region. Projects must take place within the California Floristic Province (U.S. locations only).
  • Describe the project team, including partnerships with other organizations responsible for implementing grant activities.  Detail the roles and involvement of each organization cited in the LOI.
  • Describe how funds will be used to meet project goals.
  • 501(c)(3) letter issued by the IRS.

Application Criteria

Proposals will build on the submitted LOI. Applications will be evaluated based on the extent to which they meet the following criteria:

  • Describe how the proposed projects will engage regional experts and local volunteers in addressing a regional ecological issue.
  • Describe how the applicant will provide educational offerings that link the on-the-ground conservation work taking place on public lands to the surrounding community (e.g., educating property-owners about the impact of invasive species and encouraging removal of targeted species on private property surrounding the project site). In short, address how education will be used to help participants learn what practices they can apply to support the continued conservation efforts. Include how these efforts increase people’s understanding of their relationship with the public land/space and the environment as a whole.
  • Provide a detailed timeline of when programming/activities will take place during the grant year. The timelines should include community engagement events.
  • Provide Partner Letters of Support from those listed under the project team section of the LOI who will be responsible for implementing grant activities.
  • Provide required financials which include:
    • Conflict of interest policy
    • A list of the Board of Directors
    • Annual organizational budget
    • Audit for prior fiscal year, or if an audit is not available, a balance sheet and Profit and Loss Statement for prior fiscal year

Expectations if Funded

  • Participate in quarterly calls with NEEF and other grantees to share project updates, successes, challenges, and best practices. Collaborate on evaluation strategies.
  • Commitment to collect and report on relevant key performance indicators (KPIs), including (note: conservation outputs will be further refined based on the ecological region and cohort of projects supported):
    • Number of sites being monitored
    • Type and number of endemic species impacted
    • Type and number of threatened/endangered/vulnerable species impacted
    • Type and number of native species impacted by project
    • Type and number of Iinvasive species impacted by project
    • Acres of land impacted by project
    • Square feet of invasive species removed
    • Number of native trees, shrubs, and flowers planted
    • Miles of waterways restored or maintained
    • Number of volunteer events hosted
    • Number of volunteers engaged​
  • As needed, collaborate with NEEF’s Marketing & Communications team on press releases, stories, and other external communications related to funded projects.

All applications must be submitted through our online system. If you have any questions or problems, please contact us at grantsadmin@neefusa.org.