Finding Alternate Funding for Environmental Projects
Environmental nonprofits have been worried ever since the Trump administration put a temporary freeze on the Environmental Protection Agency's grant programs in late January. Fortunately, that freeze was short-lived.
In May, the administration's budget proposal advocated for a 31 percent decrease in the EPA's budget, including the elimination of more than 50 programs. In late July, though, the House Appropriations Committee approved cuts of "only" 6.5 percent, for a total of just over $500 million. While the proposed decrease isn't as severe as initially anticipated, it would still affect numerous organizations and projects.
So where else can nonprofits working with the environment turn for funding?
If your organization has previous experience applying for and managing federal government grants, you may first want to look at other federal agencies. While cuts may happen across the board (for example, the Department of the Interior is looking at a seven percent cut), other agencies may have programs targeted to your specific interests. In addition to the EPA and the DOI, other agencies that offer occasional environmental funding include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation, the National institutes of Health, and the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Health and Human Services.
On a state level, you can investigate your department of natural resources, the department managing parks and lands, and the divisions of wildlife and forestry. Many states also have other targeted agencies and offices. (Be sure to check out GrantStation's lists of state government funders.)
In the for-profit sector, many companies are now highly interested in sustainability and green initiatives, and this interest carries over to corporate giving programs. Corporations as varied as Patagonia (which sells outdoor gear) and Wells Fargo offer programs that address environmental issues. Figure out what companies work in your area, and see if they have any programs that could help you.
There are also a wealth of private funders supporting environmental efforts. (And of course, GrantStation can help you find these funders.) Organizations like the Environmental Grantmakers Association, whose 200 or so members represent about 40 percent of private environmental grantmaking, can give you an idea of which funders are out there, and help you keep track of where environmental grant trends are going.
Despite the mindset of the current administration, we are always going to need clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, and green spaces in which to refresh and reflect. With some research and work, you can help ensure that your important environmental programs get the funding they deserve.
Next time, we'll be looking at grants targeting education.
Action steps you can take today
The EPA isn't the only federal agency targeting the environment. Check out some of the others.
Your state likely has numerous agencies targeting environmental issues. Do some research.
As more businesses "go green," more corporate giving programs are funding environmental work. Contact the companies in your area.
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