Brainerd Foundation


Contact Information


The mission of the Brainerd Foundation is to protect the environmental quality of the Northwest and to build broad citizen support for conservation.

Funding Interests

The foundation makes grants through three program areas: Conservation Policy, Place-based Conservation and Conservation Capacity. 

  • Conservation Policy: Aimed at achieving policy gains at the state (or provincial) and local levels. Strategies to advance this goal vary by state and province, with the overarching theme being a commitment to support policies that ensure the protection of the region's air, land and water. 
  • Place-based Conservation: Recognizes the powerful connection that people have to the critical landscapes that support the region's ecosystems and communities. Priorities for funding are grounded in the science of conservation biology, as well as social and political sciences, with specific geographic priorities to be identified by late 2006. All investments in this program are made with an eye toward serving the larger goal of engaging the citizenry and communicating their interests to policymakers. 
  • Conservation Capacity: Gives grantees the tools needed to improve their communications, bolster legal strategies and strengthen their organizations. This program area has two tracks: 1) to support service providers that offer communications, technology, leadership and legal support to conservation advocates; 2) to support strategic research that enables groups to stay on top of the latest trends in the region and in non-profit management, capacity and advocacy.

 In addition to the programs described above, Brainerd draws on the following funds to further its program goals:

  • The Opportunity Fund:  This continuing fund is earmarked for organizations confronted with a timely opportunity to carry out important work in support of a policy issue impacting critical ecosystems or related to significant policy debates in the Northwest. 
  • The Grassroots Fund:  This new fund is earmarked to help grassroots groups bring their voices to conservation issues in the Northwest. 
  • The Catalyst Fund:  This new grantmaking initiative challenges grantees to assess what it takes to demonstrate a conservation mandate to key decisionmakers. Application for Catalyst Fund grants is by invitation only.

Geographic Focus

Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory

Types of Support

Project or general support.

Grant Size

$1100 to $72000

Requirements & Limitations

In most cases, grants are for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. The foundation does not fund:

  • Individuals
  • School education programs
  • Capital campaigns and endowments
  • Debt reduction
  • Land purchases or easements
  • Marine issues
  • Political lobbying and campaigns
  • Basic research
  • Fellowships
  • Books and videos that are not components of a broader strategy

Opportunity grants cannot be used for travel expenses.

Application Process

An organization may send an inquiry via fax, e-mail, mail or via the Brainerd web site. Applicants will be contacted if a full proposal is invited.


The foundation does not have specific inquiry or proposal deadlines. Instead, they accept one- to three-page letters of inquiry on a rolling basis. They suggest that you submit your inquiry at least four months prior to a board meeting. (Their board meetings are typically held in March, June and November.) If a program officer invites a full proposal, a specific deadline will be given at that time. Opportunity and Grassroots Fund grants are awarded year-round on an ongoing basis at staff discretion.

Recent Grants

Grant 1

Grantee: 1000 Friends of Oregon
Amount: $20000
Purpose: For general support to help give citizens a voice in land use planning and the protection of Oregon's quality of life.

Grant 2

Grantee: EarthJustice, Oakland, CA
Amount: $100000

To provide strategic legal services and advice to the conservation community to ensure a rich, sustainable and diverse natural heritage in the Northwest.

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