The Adams Legacy Foundation: Grants for Conservation

OVERVIEW: The Adams Legacy Foundation is a smallish grantor that funds projects and programs that are problem-solving, and address the challenges facing nature in today's world. It seeks innovative efforts around the intersection of nature and: education, art and architecture, and conservation, among others.

IP TAKE: Expect fierce competition if you apply, given how few grants go out the door every year. This is especially the case if you aren’t in California. Adams spends much (but not all) of its money in-state.

PROFILE: A California-based family operation that first took wing in 2005, the Adams Legacy Foundation has a broad mission to “foster a commitment to philanthropy in the founders’ heirs and succeeding generations.” It fulfills this commitment with annual grantmaking in education and environmental conservation.

It’s a modest-sized funder, but is not too picky in terms of what funds, at least regarding conservation. Its grants cover facilities expansion, along with ongoing program and operation expenses. Program-related investments, endowments and matching grants, and leadership-development and organization-improvement efforts are also eligible for funding. This isn’t the type of foundation that draws the line on general support funding or support for fundraising campaigns. 

Most grants fall within the $10,000 to $20,000 range, with some outliers totaling $5,000 on the low end and $30,000 on the high end. Those grants support conservation initiatives large and small. Local nature preserves and community gardens are well within the foundation’s area of interest. In the past, Adams has also funded larger scale initiatives for sustainable farming and ranching across a whole state or region, and also works with large land trusts to help them acquire land and conservation easements.

And no matter what state you are in, you do not need a prior invitation to apply. This foundation welcomes unsolicited applications, as long as they are submitted between April 1 and November 1, via the website. This involves creating an online account and following the prompts to post an online letter of inquiry. If the letter of inquiry is approved, the grant seeker then adds the complete application.

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