Our Grants Programs fall into two primary categories: Small Grants made to nonprofit organizations through our online application process and grants made to nonprofit groups that we have invited to submit proposals.


Small Grants represent the vast majority of our Grants Programs and account for more than 70% of our total giving. These grants are awarded for general organizational support or to fund specific projects.

Small Grants average approximately $8,000 each. Applications must be received by February 15 for consideration during the first quarter of the year, and May 15, August 15, and November 1 for consideration of funding during the second, third and fourth quarters, respectively. (Of course we would appreciate it if you could submit your application earlier in the quarter.) Grants awarded during a particular quarter will be announced at the beginning of the following quarter.

Priority is given to applicants that:

Address our funding priorities from a holistic perspective*

  • Protect Earth's beauty and bounty.
  • Create a robust, healthy food system.
  • Increase opportunities for outdoor activity.
  • Reduce environmental health hazards.
  • Build stronger communities.

Operate with clearly defined objectives and viable plans to achieve them.

Demonstrate strong community ties and operate at the community level.

Promote positive change through both the projects and their implementation process.


*Please review Our Mission & Priorities for more details.

Areas not funded:

  • Individuals
  • State agencies
  • Religious groups
  • Seminar, media, or fundraising events (e.g., "Fun Runs") that are not an integral part of a broader program
  • Capital construction
  • Endowment funds
  • Deficit funding
  • For national organizations with local chapters, we fund either the national organization OR the local chapter located in Northern California.

Each year, we invite a small number of organizations with which we have developed strong working relationships over a number of years to submit proposals. Invitation-only Grants account for slightly less than 20% of our annual giving. We make three types of Invitation-only Grants: Capacity-building Grants; Long-term Partnerships; and Consulting Grants.

We offer two types of Capacity-building Grants, both of which include multiyear funding. The first helps organizations expand their reach and impact on local and regional levels to the national level, and the second helps organizations with budgets of less than $250,000 to implement strategic plans for substantially enhancing their missions.

Over the years, we’ve established Long-term Partnerships with a few particularly visionary nonprofits that have earned our special admiration and respect. In recognition of their unique accomplishments, we have invited them to submit proposals for ongoing funding.

Outside experts with particular skills can often make significant contributions to nonprofits’ abilities to fulfill their missions. Our Consulting Grants provide recipient nonprofits with funding to cover the cost of up to 100 hours of professional services from specialists in areas such as law, strategic planning, accounting, marketing, and web development.




Farmer-Veteran Coalition helps returning veterans find training and employment on America’s farms. Both veterans and farmers can benefit from working together, by growing our green economy, rebuilding our rural communities, and securing a safe and healthy food supply.


Watershed Project inspires communities to understand, protect, and restore the watersheds around San Francisco Bay, one of the world's greatest estuaries, and the most altered aquatic ecosystem in the U.S.