The Taproot Foundation doesn't grant cash to nonprofits working in the realm of conservation. But that's just because it doesn't grant cash to anyone. What Taproot does instead is grant something many organizations would be hard-pressed to achieve on their own: the substantial ability to build an organization's capacity.
The Taproot Foundation does this through its Service Grants Program, through which top-level nonprofit consultants spend substantial time with an organization to help them addresses a specific internal need. And if you're still thinking dollars, think this: Taproot assesses that its in-kind services are valued at $45,000 and upward.
The foundation declares that it supports nonprofits working in the Arts, Education, the Environment, Health, and Social Services. Its support of organizations working in conservation naturally falls into the Environment category, which Taproot describes as "preserving and restoring our environment or caring for animal welfare."
The catch is that your conservation work must be based in one of five metropolitan areas: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. Granting is limited to these five metropolitan areas because this is where Taproot's network of pro bono nonprofit consultants are located; however there are possibilities for the work done by your nonprofit to radiate out further into the country—or the world.
The Service Grants fall into four major categories: Strategy Management, Leadership Development & Strategic HR, Marketing, and Information Technology. But Taproot gets even more specific. Within each of these areas, a potential grantee applies for a specific project need. There are 19 project options in total. The foundation’s website lists and describes them all in a highly organized fashion.
One recent grantee working in conservation is Grades of Green, based in El Segundo, CA, which creates environmental awareness curricula for classrooms. They received an Annual Report Service Grant.
Another recent grantee working in conservation is the Samburu Project, based in Santa Monica, CA, but focused on preserving and creating clean drinking water in Kenya. The Samburu Project received a Salesforce Implementation Service Grant.
What types of nonprofit organizations are best suited to win one of these service grants? The answer lies in the Taproot Foundation’s wish for nonprofits to “do more with more.” Therefore, your organization (which must be a 501(c)(3)) must be well positioned in terms of staff size and budget (the requirements vary a bit by city and project area). You must also be able to display significant organizational buy-in to the project at hand.
Application deadlines are quarterly in order to suit your project and your fiscal year calendar. Get your team together and go for it.